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FBI reportedly seized control of criminal hacker forum, BreachForums

Authorities apparently assumed control of the forum’s official Telegram channel, along with a second channel called "Baphomet."
An FBI seal is seen on a wall
Posted at 2:56 PM, May 16, 2024

A coalition of international law enforcement agencies, led by the FBI, has reportedly seized control of the criminal hacker forum, BreachForums.

According to screenshots shared on TechCrunch, when attempting to access the forum, messages on the main page state, "this website has been taken down by the FBI and DOJ with assistance from international partners. We are reviewing this site’s backed data," followed by a link directing users to a dedicated FBI website for reporting any potential criminal activity.

Within that shared link, the FBI explains that “from June 2023 until May 2024, BreachForums (hosted at breachforums.st/.cx/.is/.vc and run by ShinyHunters) 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."

TechCrunch reports that authorities also assumed control of the forum’s official Telegram channel, along with a second channel called "Baphomet."

The news comes a year after the Department of Justice's arrest of BreachForums' founder, then 20-year-old Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, on cybersecurity criminal charges. The forum, which had over 340,000 members at the time of his arrest, targeted millions of U.S. citizens and hundreds of U.S. and foreign companies, organizations, and government agencies.

“Cybercrime victimizes and steals financial and personal information from millions of innocent people,” U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginiasaid at the time of the arrest. “This arrest sends a direct message to cybercriminals: your exploitative and illegal conduct will be discovered, and you will be brought to justice.”