ShinyHunters regains control of BreachForums after seizure by FBI

After law enforcement agencies seized BreachForums on Wednesday, 15 May, the cyber group ShinyHunters managed to regain control of the sitethe following day. Yet, the arrest of the forum’s administrator by the FBI has left the future of the cybercrime hub uncertain.

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In a significant crackdown on cybercrime, law enforcement agencies seized BreachForums, a well-known platform used by attackers to exchange stolen data, on Wednesday, 15 May. Visitors to the website were met with a seizure notification, indicating that the FBI and the Department of Justice had taken down the site with the help of international partners. The authorities claimed to have accessed the website’s backend data, which is currently under investigation.

Additionally, the associated Telegram channel used for communications among users of the sites has also been seized by the FBI. The FBI has also launched a dedicated website for victims whose data was compromised on BreachForums. According to the site’s description, the version of BreachForums that was seized operated from June 2023 until May 2024.

This seizure marks a series of setbacks for BreachForums, starting with the arrest of Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, also known as Pompompurin, a suspected former curator of the forum, in March 2023. Despite going offline temporarily, the forum resurfaced under new administration by an individual known as Baphomet. However, the notorious hacker group ShinyHunters reportedly took control of the site on June 2nd, 2023, leading to a subsequent hack that exposed the user database.

In an unexpected twist of events, the threat actors behind BreachForums had seemingly regained control of the domain and redirected users to a newly created Telegram group. In a message signed with PGP encryption, the ShinyHunters cybercrime group confirmed the FBI’s arrest of their administrator, Baphomet. The group expressed uncertainty about the forum’s future and assured members they would keep informed on new developments.

While numerous reports suggest that Baphomet’s arrest has taken place, the FBI has yet to confirm this information. Nonetheless, the FBI’s ongoing investigation into these criminal hacking forums stresses the agency’s commitment to combating cyber threats and protecting individuals from data breaches. Victims or individuals with relevant information are encouraged to come forward and assist in these investigations.