Nobody got into Darkode.com without references. It took even more credibility to move through the online crime bazaar's “tiers of membership based on knowledge, skill, illegal activity and reputation,” John Lynch, chief of the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, said yesterday. Yet the FBI penetrated Darkode, which led to criminal charges, the site's shutdown and dozens of arrests across the globe, all coordinated from Pittsburgh, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Darkode takedown was different from last year's big cyber indictments, but the accused were (and probably still are) in Russia and China. Some 29 people were arrested yesterday, charged in courts ranging from Louisiana to Romania. And like most cyber busts, the Darkode bust involved technology — but it also took old-fashioned undercover work. “The FBI has effectively smashed the hornets' nest, and we are in the process of rounding up and charging the hornets,” said U.S. Attorney David Hickton. He characterized Darkode as “a crime bazaar for hackers” and the “best malware marketplace on the Web.” Darkode was created in 2008 as a haven for the brightest hacking talent in the Western world.