BreachForums Returns, Raising Fears Among Cybercriminals

The cybercriminal forum appears to have fully returned after account registration was enabled, but this has not eased suspicion among former members and competitors.

by Alan J May 29th, 2024

Share on LinkedInShare on Twitter

Following the seizure of the BreachForums domain and the arrest of Baphomet, its new owner ShinyHunters seems to have fully regained control over the site after a recent announcement that the forum will be open for account registration.

While the domain itself appeared to have been seized back from law enforcement, the site remained dysfunctional for a while as staff redirected visitors to a new Telegram channel. The site slowly resumed operations while initially disabling account registration.

However, the arrests and law enforcement activity connected to the operation of the domain, as well as its quick return to operations, have led cybercriminals to fear possible compromise of the forum infrastructure by law enforcement.

BreachForums Seizure and Return

BreachForums, widely recognized as the successor to RaidForums, has faced several downtimes, seizures and disruptions in its eventful history.

The original owner, Conor Brian Fitzpatrick AKA “Pompompurin,” was arrested last year on cybercrime and device fraud charges. BreachForums administrator “Baphomet” announced that he would step in as successor and opened a new domain to resume forum activity. However, Baphomet himself feared site compromise by law enforcement and temporarily shut down the forums, expressing that “nothing is safe anymore.”

However, Baphomet later announced that he would be working on a new domain and resuming forum operations. The forum soon returned with regular facilitation of data leak sharing and discussion.

A year later, Baphomet himself faced arrest after a joint operation from law enforcement, which also seized the BreachForums domain and official Telegram channel. The administrator ShinyHunters emerged as the successor, confirming Baphomet’s arrest.

However, the domain seizure was short-lived, and was soon redirecting users to a new Telegram channel. An allegedly leaked conversation from an FBI operative to BreachForum’s previous domain name registrar and hosting provider NiceNic also appeared to indicate that ShinyHunters had regained control over domain ownership despite its court-ordered seizure.

Source: Telegram

After a period of dysfunction, BreachForums has now resumed operations, with threat actors already claiming new victims on its forum postings.

Emerging Alternatives and Criminal Suspicion Over BreachForums

In the wake of the recent seizure, several other individuals expressed their doubts over BreachForums and its possible usage as a “honeypot” by law enforcement to entrap cybercriminals and disrupt operations. The owner of Secretforums and former owner of Blackforums expressed his belief over Telegram that Baphomet was possibly an informant to law enforcement, citing the latter’s interest in maintaining the infrastructure of Blackforums.

Prominent threat actor USDoD also cast doubt over the succession of BreachForums to the administrator Shiny Hunters, citing his low stats on the previous domain. These concerns were followed by the self-promotion of SecretForum’s and USDoD’s announced project “Breach Nation” as possible alternatives.

More recently, the CyberNi***rs threat actor group also announced its intention to start a new site to coordinate its operations. Despite these activities and the surrounding suspicion, new owner Shiny Hunters seems eager to return to earlier activities and operations, as judged by their claim of responsibility for an attack impacting Live Nation Entertainment Inc., the parent company of Ticketmaster.

The results of these events, their effect on the cybercriminal ecosystem, as well as the viability of emerging forums as alternatives to the relaunched BreachForums led by ShinyHunters, remain unclear. But given how vocal the participants are, the picture will almost certainly get clearer with time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button