COURT DOC: U.S. Leads Seizure of One of the World’s Largest Hacker Forums and Arrests Administrator

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April 12, 2022

The U.S. Department of Justice “announced the seizure of the RaidForums website, a popular marketplace for cybercriminals to buy and sell hacked data, and unsealed criminal charges against RaidForums’ founder and chief administrator, Diogo Santos Coelho, 21, of Portugal. Coelho was arrested in the United Kingdom on January 31, at the United States’ request, and remains in custody pending the resolution of his extradition proceedings.”

“Court records unsealed yesterday indicate that the United States recently obtained judicial authorization to seize three domains that long hosted the RaidForums website…According to the affidavit filed in support of these seizures, from in or around 2016 through February, RaidForums served as a major online marketplace for individuals to buy and sell hacked or stolen databases containing the sensitive personal and financial information of victims in the United States and elsewhere, including stolen bank routing and account numbers, credit card information, login credentials, and social security numbers. Prior to its seizure, RaidForums members used the platform to offer for sale hundreds of databases of stolen data containing more than 10 billion unique records for individuals residing in the United States and internationally. At the time of its founding in 2015, RaidForums also operated as an online venue for organizing and supporting forms of electronic harassment, including by ‘raiding’—posting or sending an overwhelming volume of contact to a victim’s online communications medium—or ‘swatting’—the practice of making false reports to public safety agencies of situations that would necessitate a significant, and immediate armed law enforcement response.”

“In addition, a six-count indictment against Coelho was unsealed in the Eastern District of Virginia charging him with conspiracy, access device fraud, and aggravated identify theft in connection with his role as the chief administrator of RaidForums. According to the indictment, between January 1, 2015, and on or about January 31, 2022, Coelho allegedly controlled and served as the chief administrator of RaidForums, which he operated with the help of other website administrators. As administrators, Coelho and his co-conspirators are alleged to have designed and administered the platform’s software and computer infrastructure, established and enforced rules for its users, and created and managed sections of the website dedicated to promoting the buying and selling of contraband, including a subforum titled ‘Leaks Market’ that described itself as ‘[a] place to buy/sell/trade databases and leaks.'” (Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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