Administrator of 'One of the World's Largest Hacker Forums' Arrested: DOJ

One of the world's largest marketplaces for stolen data has been seized and an administrator arrested, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ confirmed the news on Tuesday, reporting that unsealed court documents showed that the U.S. recently seized three domains belonging to the online marketplace RaidForums, including "raidforums.com," "Rf.ws" and "Raid.lol." An administrator for the popular and illicit forum, Diogo Santos Coelho, 21, of Portugal, was arrested in late January by authorities in the United Kingdom upon the request of the U.S.

Across a time period spanning from roughly 2016 through February 2022, according to the DOJ, RaidForums hosted sensitive personal data and financial information, often pilfered from databases in numerous countries by hackers. Some examples of the information sold included bank routing and account numbers, credit card information, login credentials and social security numbers.

"The takedown of this online market for the resale of hacked or stolen data disrupts one of the major ways cybercriminals profit from the large-scale theft of sensitive personal and financial information," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the DOJ's Criminal Division said in a statement. "This is another example of how working with our international law enforcement partners has resulted in the shutdown of a criminal marketplace and the arrest of its administrator."

raidforums seized and arrested DOJ
The DOJ confirmed on Tuesday that domains associated with a popular marketplace for stolen data had been seized, and an administrator had been arrested. Above, a representational image of a hacker. Bill Hinton/Getty Images

The DOJ reported that up until this seizure, RaidForums had hosted roughly 10 billion pieces of unique stolen from all over the world. In its earliest days, in 2015, the site also allowed for the coordination of various forms of online harassment, including its namesake, "raiding," and "swatting," the latter involving the use of false information to send an armed police presence to confront a specific target.

With its domains seized, RaidForums users will no longer be able to access the site in any capacity.

"The seizure of the RaidForums website – which facilitated the sale of stolen data from millions of people throughout the world – and the charges against the marketplace's administrator are a testament to the strength of the FBI's international partnerships," Steven M. D'Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, said in a statement. "Cybercrime transcends borders, which is why the FBI is committed to working with our partners to bring cybercriminals to justice – no matter where in the world they live or behind what device they try to hide."

Coelho now faces charges of conspiracy, access device fraud and aggravated identify theft in the Eastern District of Virginia, according to an unsealed indictment. He served as the chief administrator for RaidForums from January 2015, when he would have been around 15 years old, up until his arrest in late January 2022.

Alongside several collaborators, he is accused of having "designed and administered the platform's software and computer infrastructure, established and enforced rules for its users, and created and managed sections of the website dedicated to promoting the buying and selling of contraband," according to the DOJ.

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia and the DOJ.