The computer hacking forum known as Darkode was dismantled, and criminal charges have been filed in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere against 12 individuals associated with the forum, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Departments Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania and Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano of the FBI.
As alleged in the charging documents, Darkode was an online, password-protected forum in which hackers and other cyber-criminals convened to buy, sell, trade and share information, ideas, and tools to facilitate unlawful intrusions on others computers and electronic devices. Before becoming a member of Darkode, prospective members were allegedly vetted through a process in which an existing member invited a prospective member to the forum for the purpose of presenting the skills or products that he or she could bring to the group. Darkode members allegedly used each others skills and products to infect computers and electronic devices of victims around the world with malware and, thereby gain access to, and control over, those devices.
The takedown of the forum and the charges announced today are the result of the FBIs infiltration, as part of Operation Shrouded Horizon, of the Darkodes membership.
The charges announced today are part of a coordinated effort by a coalition of law enforcement authorities from 20 nations to charge, arrest or search 70 Darkode members and associates around the world. The nations comprising the coalition include Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Macedonia, Nigeria, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Todays actions represent the largest coordinated international law enforcement effort ever directed at an online cyber-criminal forum. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)