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FBI arrests alleged head of BreachForums criminal market

By Howard Solomon for IT World Canada
Sunday, March 19, 2023

The platform issued credits to reward users for their contributions. Credits could also be purchased and then used to unlock hidden content such as leaked databases and compromised accounts.

Ilia Kolochenko, chief executive officer of ImmuniWeb, called the arrest “a remarkable success of the FBI and its partner agencies, sending an unequivocal message to cybercriminals that high-profile breaches of law enforcement agencies will not be tolerated. The impact of this arrest is particularly amplified by the fact that, after several successful joint raids of U.S. and European law enforcement agencies in 2022, most cybercrime groups and their leaders became paranoically prudent to avoid detection and arrest. Nonetheless, proving fault of Fitzpatrick beyond a reasonable doubt in court will be a challenging task for prosecution, which may rather consider a guilty plea.”

From a strategic viewpoint, he added, the arrest is unlikely make a tectonic shift in cybercrime. Once an underground forum disappears, its place is rapidly taken by another one, he noted — sometimes even by several successors at once. “The formidable hydra of modern cybercrime is continually growing, being backed by record profits from illicit gains that allow, among other things, hiring the best talents from the industry. Many groups of cyber mercenaries offer remunerations tenfold bigger than top cybersecurity vendors can afford paying, let alone success fees and bonuses.

“In the meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have been considerably underfunded and understaffed, being unable to cope with the mushrooming cyber fraud and crime. Worst, among the deteriorating climate of political and financial uncertainty, international collaboration – which is absolutely indispensable for efficient investigation and prosecution of cybercrime – is at unprecedentedly low levels. Without a globally coordinated effort to bridle cyber gangs, chaos and lawlessness will continue reigning in the digital realm.” Read Full Article

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