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BreachForums Shut Down Over Law Enforcement Takeover Concerns

The popular cybercrime forum BreachForums is being shut down following the arrest of Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, who is accused of running the website.

An administrator of the popular cybercrime forum BreachForums has announced the shutdown of the website following the arrest of Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, who was allegedly running the portal.

Also known as Breached, BreachForums was launched roughly a year ago, as an alternative to the cybercrime marketplace RaidForums, which was seized by US authorities in February 2022.

Nearly identical to RaidForums in appearance, Breached quickly became an appealing alternative to the dismantled marketplace, especially since it promised incentives such as the ability to retain the paid ranking users previously held.

Between March 2022 and November 2022, BreachForums went from 1,500 members to more than 192,000, cybersecurity firm Flashpoint notes.

Last week, US authorities announced the arrest of Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, 21, of Peekskill, New York, for allegedly running BreachForums. Court documents revealed that he admitted to the investigators that he owned and administered the cybercriminal forum, using the online moniker Pompompurin.

This week, BreachForums administrator ‘Baphomet’ posted a message on the forum’s Telegram channel to announce the website’s shutdown due to concerns that law enforcement may be in control of some backend servers. 

“Please consider this the final update for Breached. I will be taking down the forum, as I believe we can assume that nothing is safe anymore,” Baphomet wrote.

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Initially, the administrator said that they would keep the forum alive, as they had access to all infrastructure.

However, this does not appear to be the end for the Breached community. In fact, Baphomet made it clear that the plan is to create a new Telegram group for the interested users and to relaunch the forum in another format.

“The cybercrime underground has continually demonstrated resilience. While an arrest or takedown can result in a short-term disruption, its activity will likely be replaced by some alternative. However, given the takedown of Raid Forums and arrest of their administrator, and seeing history almost repeat itself with pompompurin’s arrest, it is unclear what threat actor would be willing to take on that risk,” Flashpoint notes.

Related: Alleged NetWire RAT Operator Arrested in Croatia as FBI Seizes Website

Related: Two Men Arrested for JFK Airport Taxi Hacking Scheme

Related: US Announces Charges, Arrests Over Multi-Million-Dollar Cybercrime Schemes

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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