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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

FBI shuts down notorious ransomware marketplace BreachForums

In a major blow to cybercriminals, the FBI, in collaboration with international law enforcement agencies, has seized control of the infamous ransomware marketplace BreachForums and its associated Telegram channel. This takedown comes just days after the forum allegedly hosted stolen data from Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency.

BreachForums has long been a thorn in the side of authorities, facilitating the sale of stolen data, ransomware tools, and other resources used in cyberattacks. The platform acted as a breeding ground for "double extortion" attacks, where attackers not only encrypt a victim's data but also threaten to leak it publicly unless a ransom is paid.

This is the second time this year that BreachForums is facing legal action. In January, the platform's previous administrator, Conor Brian Fitzpatrick – aka "Pompourin", was arrested and sentenced to 20 years of supervised release for providing access to the personal information of millions of people. However, BreachForums resurfaced under new leadership and has been brokering stolen data until the recent takedown.

Anybody trying to access the website will be met with the FBI's seizure notice, “This website has been taken down by the FBI and DOJ with assistance from international partners. We are reviewing the site's backend data. If you have information to report about cybercriminal activity on BreachForums, please contact us.”

This takedown signifies a significant victory for law enforcement in their fight against cybercrime. Dismantling BreachForums disrupts a key marketplace used by ransomware gangs and potentially protects businesses and individuals from future attacks.

However, the fight against cybercrime is ongoing, and it remains to be seen if this will be a permanent shutdown or if BreachForums, or a similar platform, will emerge again.


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