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Hacking forum taken offline and UK suspect arrested

An online forum that provided criminals with stolen personal data has been taken down in an international operation, which has also seen the NCA arrest a suspected site controller.

Under Operation Tourniquet, the National Crime Agency and partners in the US, Europol and four other countries, took action to close ‘RaidForums’ and carried out a number of linked arrests.

One of those was a 21 year-old from Croydon, who the NCA arrested at his home in March.

He is suspected of being an administrator on the website and has since been released under investigation.

At the time of his arrest, officers seized £5,000 in cash, thousands in US dollars and put a freeze on crypto assets worth more than half a million dollars.

RaidForums started in 2015 and gained prominence in criminal circles by offering access to high-profile database leaks, which could be used to enable further crimes such as fraud.

The compromised data included information stolen from UK companies, some of which related to credit cards, bank accounts, usernames and passwords.

Investigators from the NCA found that the forum was operating a membership scheme where users of the site paid up to ten euros for access to chatrooms that allowed the exchange of links, photographs and data linked to cyber-crime.

They suspected that administrators of the website based in the UK were helping to manage its membership, and also to launder payments to the site through a separate – seemingly legitimate - online business.

A spokesperson from the NCA, said: “RaidForums had developed into one of the largest hacking forums online where hacking tips and stolen data were frequently exchanged.

“Data from some of the most high profile hacking incidents in recent years could be located on the site and often the victims - real people, found themselves vulnerable to further crime like fraud.

“The NCA works with international partners to identify, disrupt and apprehend those who profit from cyber-crime and is committed to tackling this threat as it evolves.”

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