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FBI Quashes Online Hacking Forum Darkode, Brings Charges Against 12 People

© AP Photo / Louis LanzanoThe FBI’s increased focus on surveilling the Internet has officials worried they've created a bureau of couch potatoes, so for the first time in 16 years, they're bringing back the fitness test, the New York Times reports.
The FBI’s increased focus on surveilling the Internet has officials worried they've created a bureau of couch potatoes, so for the first time in 16 years, they're bringing back the fitness test, the New York Times reports. - Sputnik International
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The FBI and a team of international law enforcement agencies have shut down Darkode, an online forum used by cybercriminals around the world, and brought charges against 12 people linked to the site, the US Justice Department said on Wednesday.

"Darkode represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data on computers in the United States and around the world and was the most sophisticated English-speaking forum for criminal computer hackers in the world," US Attorney David Hickton said.

© FBIThe Shrouded Horizon investigation against the Darkode cyber criminal forum involved law enforcement agencies in 20 countries.
The Shrouded Horizon investigation against the Darkode cyber criminal forum involved law enforcement agencies in 20 countries. - Sputnik International
The Shrouded Horizon investigation against the Darkode cyber criminal forum involved law enforcement agencies in 20 countries.

The FBI covertly infiltrated the invitation-only website – which operated under password protections and had about 300 members – in an operation known as Shrouded Horizon, according to the bureau's statement on the takedown.

For nearly two years, agents gathered intelligence and collected evidence primarily against those "responsible for developing, distributing, facilitating, and supporting the most egregious and complex cybercriminal schemes."

The FBI said the crackdown includes arrests in 20 countries and indictments for 70 individuals, including 12 in the US, from Wisconsin to Louisiana. Those charged are accused of conspiring to commit computer fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, among other crimes.

"The FBI has effectively smashed the hornets' nest," said Hickton, "and we are in the process of rounding up and charging the hornets."

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