We previously reported on the prosecutions of Darkode members. Three more members of the computer hacking forum Darkode have pled guilty to accessing protected computers without permission, and for violating the CANSPAM Act. All three (in addition to 9 others prosecuted several weeks ago) were part of a scheme to scan for and infiltrate internet routers that were not protected by adequate security measures. The scheme allowed them to install malware onto routers that then automatically sent messages to cell phone numbers which contained a fake link to a Best Buy card. When a cell phone user clicked on the link, they were directed to a page that then asked for their personal information. The hackers were paid according to how much information was shared through the link.

Twelve members of Darkode have been charged in the scheme. The government says Darkode is one of the most sophisticated English-speaking forums for hackers.

Yesterday, (July 15, 2015), the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the coordinated law enforcement efforts of 20 countries, including the U.S. effectively dismantled the computer hacking forum Darkode with criminal charges filed against 12 of the alleged hackers in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Western District of Louisiana, and the District of Columbia.

According to the DOJ, Darkode “represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data on computers in the United States and around the world and was the most sophisticated English-speaking forum for criminal computer hackers in the world.”

Darkode allowed computer hackers, in a password-protected forum, to buy, sell, trade and share illegal methods of hacking and intrusions. It is a member referral forum that was infiltrated by the FBI as part of Operation Shrouded Horizon, but the DOJ touted the coordinated efforts of the coalition of law enforcement agencies in 20 nations “to charge, arrest or search 70 Darkode members and associates around the world.”