The illegal marketplace “RaidForums” was closed and its infrastructure confiscated. This is the result of Operation TOURNIQUET, a complex law enforcement operation coordinated by Europol to support independent investigations by the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal and Romania. The forum administrator and two of his accomplices were also arrested.
Launched in 2015, RaidForums was considered one of the largest hacking forums in the world with a community of over half a million users. The marketplace had made a name for itself by selling access to high-profile database leaks belonging to a number of US companies across multiple industries. These contained information on millions of credit cards, bank account numbers and sort codes, as well as usernames and associated passwords needed to access online accounts. These records come from data breaches and other attacks over the past few years.
Turn the tables on the hackers
Operation TOURNIQUET, coordinated at international level by Europol’s European Cybercrime Center, was the culmination of a year of careful planning between the law enforcement agencies involved in preparation for the operation.
The partners have worked closely together within the Europol-based Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) to identify key objectives and establish a coordinated strategy to prepare for the final phase of the investigation.
This intensive exchange of information allowed the investigators to define the different roles of the target persons in this marketplace, ie the administrator, the money launderers, the users responsible for the theft/upload of the data and the buyers.
The head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, Edvardas Šileris, explained: “Disruption has always been a key technique in combating cyber threat actors, so targeting forums hosting large amounts of stolen data keeps criminals on their toes . Europol will continue to work with its international partners to make it harder to commit cybercrime – and increase the risk.”
The following authorities have participated in this investigation:
Sweden: Swedish Police Authority (Polisen)
Romania: National Police (Poliţia Română)
Portugal: Judicial Police (Polícia Judiciária)
Germany: Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA)
United States: US Secret Service (USSS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI)
United Kingdom: National Crime Agency (NCA)
Europol: European Cybercrime Center (EC3), Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT)