RaidForums, the world’s biggest hacking forum, is seized by Europol. 21-year-old administrator arrested

An operation coordinated by Europol led to the seizure of RaidForums, one of the largest hacking forums in the world, in addition to the arrest of its main administrator. Operation TOURNIQUET, involving agents from law enforcement in the U.S. and Europe, cut short this cybercriminal infrastructure, dedicated to the purchase and sale of hacking tools, databases and stolen financial information.

The Operation was coordinated internationally by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, and is seen as the culmination of a year of dedicated planning between law enforcement agencies in the UK, Portugal, Romania and Sweden, striking a severe blow to cybercrime.

The participating agents identified Diogo Santos Coelho, a 21-year-old Portuguese citizen, as the main operator of RaidForums. Also known by the aliases “Omnipotent” or “Downloading”, Coelho would have been in charge of the forum between 2015 and 2022, when he was arrested in the United Kingdom.

Documents filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) mention that Coelho will face charges including conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Despite the serious accusations against him, Coelho was never concerned about it with other members of RaidForums: “I assume that the forum is being monitored, but in reality we are all monitored,” the defendant said in his messages.

RaidForums was launched in 2015 and grew steadily to reach an estimated 500,000 members. In this illegal platform, all kinds of transactions were carried out, which facilitated the deployment of cyberattacks and hacking campaigns against government organizations, private companies and people of interest.

Coelho personally sold stolen data on the platform, according to the indictment, and facilitated transactions between members who wanted to buy and sell stolen data. In addition, an intermediary service at RaidForums allowed buyers and sellers to verify means and payment before completing transactions.

This is another clear sign of the commitment of law enforcement around the world against cybercrime and black market platforms on the dark web. Just a few days ago, German police confirmed the closure of Hydra Market, considered one of the largest illegal markets on the Internet.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.