BreachForums [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11], a cybercrime forum infamous for trafficking malware and stolen data, was recently shut down by a joint international law enforcement operation led by the FBI. This marks the second time within two years that the site has been taken down [9], with previous administrator Conor Brian Fitzpatrick having been arrested and sentenced in 2023 [2].


The site [1] [2] [3] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10], operated by the ShinyHunters hacking group [7], was seized after a hacker offered data for sale that was allegedly stolen during a breach of a Europol web portal [7]. Europol confirmed that some of its data was exposed in a breach and offered for sale on BreachForums [9]. The administrators [1] [2] [4] [5] [7] [8] [9] [10], Baphomet and ShinyHunters [1] [2] [4] [9], are currently under investigation, with Baphomet reportedly arrested [2]. The FBI also gained control of the official BreachForums Telegram channel and a second channel belonging to Baphomet, in an effort to gather information on cyber criminal activity. Authorities now potentially have access to email addresses [9], IP addresses [1] [9], and other data for potential prosecution. ShinyHunters [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [11], another administrator [1] [4] [5] [7] [9] [10], did not respond to requests for comment [5]. The forum’s backend data is currently under review, and individuals with information about cybercriminal activity on the forum are encouraged to contact the FBI or the Internet Crime Complaint Center [1]. It is likely that the forum will resurface under a different name [1], with continued exposure to previously leaked data [1]. Participants in these forums may be tracked based on their IP addresses [1], telegram account information [1], and email addresses [1] [9], serving as a deterrent to some extent [1]. The FBI seized BreachForums’ hacking forum and Telegram channel on May 15 [4], with the website displaying a message stating it has been taken down by the FBI and US Department of Justice [4]. The notice includes images of forum administrators “Baphomet” and “ShinyHunters” with prison bars edited over them [4], along with logos of international law enforcement agencies [4] [5] [11]. The forum [1] [4] [5] [6] [8] [11], which replaced RaidForums [4], has been in conflict with law enforcement for over a year since founder Conor Brian Fitzpatrick’s arrest [4]. The FBI has been investigating the group [4], boasting over 340,000 members [4], since June 2023 for operating as a marketplace for cybercriminal activities [4]. The takedown has raised concerns among forum members about their safety and potential law enforcement actions [6], but is seen as a success in combating cybercrime [6]. US Attorney Jessica D [11]. Aber emphasized that cybercriminals will be brought to justice for victimizing innocent people and stealing financial and personal information [11]. The site was a marketplace for cybercriminals to buy [10] [11], sell [8] [9] [10] [11], and trade contraband [3] [10] [11], including stolen access devices and breached databases [10]. The seizure message also appeared on the Telegram account of Baphomet [10], suggesting his arrest [10]. The takedown comes after IntelBroker claimed to have exfiltrated data from Europol [10], leading to the exposure of classified information [10]. Last year, law enforcement agencies seized the site and arrested its old administrator [10], pompompurin [1] [2] [10], also known as Conor Brian Fitzpatrick [10]. Experts warn that the forum may reappear under a different name [1] [8], despite the significant achievement in the ongoing battle against cybercrime [8].


The shutdown of BreachForums has significant impacts on the cybercriminal community, with potential future implications for law enforcement efforts. While the forum may resurface under a different name [8], the takedown serves as a warning to cybercriminals and a success in combating illegal activities online. Law enforcement agencies continue to work towards bringing cybercriminals to justice and protecting innocent individuals from financial and personal harm.