It was the best place to find out the worst crimes you could commit online. Cybercrime forum Darkode has been shut down after “Operation Shrouded Horizon”, an international law enforcement raid that led to 70 arrests.
Known as a digital hangout for groups like Lizard Squad, Darkode was created in 2008 as an invite-only forum to swap hacking tools, and has been gaining popularity ever since. A Justice Department announcement describes how the closed-off community kept its ranks small:
Before becoming a member of Darkode, prospective members were allegedly vetted through a process in which an existing member invited a prospective member to the forum for the purpose of presenting the skills or products that he or she could bring to the group.
Twelve of the arrested suspects live in the US, with the rest spread out across the world. Charges ranged from conspiring to commit computer fraud to creating Facebook bots to spam people. A 20-year-old in Pittsburgh was charged with conspiring to send malicious code for allegedly designing Dendroid, an Android malware that gave the people in control remote access to targets’ phones.
This is a big cybercrime raid, and even though it’s not as high-profile as the Silk Road takedown, it has much better implications — even if this is only a marginal roadblock for dauntless malware purveyors, anything that makes it slightly harder to infect computers is a good step.