FBI, DoJ Shut Down BreachForums, Launch Investigation

Instead of online contraband, the website now asks anyone with information that could help with the investigation to contact authorities.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

May 15, 2024

1 Min Read
A blue and white sign on a window that reads, "Sorry, We Are Closed"
Source: Convery flowers via Alamy Stock Photo

On the morning of May 15, the FBI seized BreachForums' hacking forum, as well as its Telegram channel. The website is now displaying a message alerting visitors that it has been taken down by the FBI and US Department of Justice.

"BreachForums is under the control of the FBI," the website reads. "We are reviewing this site's backend data. If you have information to report about cyber criminal activity on BreachForums, please contact us."

In addition to this, the notice includes two forum profile pictures of website administrators, "Baphomet" and "ShinyHunters," with prison bars edited over the images. Logos of various law enforcement agencies in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Germany, Iceland, and Ukraine also appear on the website, indicating that these international partners worked alongside the FBI and DoJ in the successful takedown. 

The BreachForums' Telegram channel displayed a similar message regarding its seizure by law enforcement agencies. 

The forum, which replaced RaidForums after it was taken down, has been in a tug-of-war with law enforcement for more than a year after its founder, Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, was taken into custody. At one point, administrators decided to shut down the forum after suspicions of the FBI having access.

According to the BreachForums/Raidforums Reporting Form on the FBI website, the bureau has been investigating the group, which boasts more than 340,000 members, since June 2023.

"BreachForums was operating as a clear-net marketplace for cybercriminals to buy, sell, and trade contraband, including stolen access devices, means of identification, hacking tools, breached databases, and other illegal services," according to the FBI form. It also provided a complainant questionnaire for anyone with information regarding the group that could assist with the investigation.

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Dark Reading Staff

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