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FBI Takes Control of BreachForums Once More, Encourages Users to Report Illegal Behavior

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Law enforcement agencies, in a joint effort that spanned across several countries, have successfully taken control of the infamous BreachForums platform, a well-known online marketplace for stolen data, for the second time in less than a year. The platform, previously hosted at breachforums[.]st, now sports a seizure banner indicating that it is under the control of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This operation was made possible through the collaboration of authorities from Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland, the U.K., the U.S., and Ukraine.

In addition to seizing control of the BreachForums website, the FBI has also taken over the Telegram channel operated by Baphomet, who assumed the role of administrator after the arrest of his predecessor Conor Brian Fitzpatrick (also known as pompompurin) in March of the previous year. This move follows the seizure of a previous iteration of BreachForums, hosted at breached.vc/.to/.co and managed by pompompurin, in late June of the same year.

A message posted on the Telegram channel now under FBI control states, “The BreachForums website has been taken down by the FBI and DOJ with assistance from international partners.” The message further urges individuals with information about cyber criminal activity on BreachForums to reach out to the authorities via the provided contact details.

As of now, it remains unclear whether Baphomet and the other administrator, ShinyHunters, have been arrested. However, the seizure banner on the platform displays the profile pictures of both individuals with images of them behind bars. The agencies involved have stated that from June 2023 to May 2024, BreachForums, hosted at breachforums.st/.cx/.is/.vc and operated by ShinyHunters, served as a marketplace for cybercriminals to engage in illicit activities such as trading stolen access devices, hacking tools, breached databases, and other illegal services.

The emergence of BreachForums in March of 2022 came in the aftermath of the shutdown of RaidForums and the arrest of its owner, “Omnipotent.” After its initial shutdown in 2023, BreachForums resurfaced thanks to the partnership between Baphomet and ShinyHunters, who launched a new site under the same name.

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