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Hacking forums survive cybercrime dragnet as feds prioritize drug-market busts

Hacking forums survive cybercrime dragnet as feds prioritize drug-market busts

Hacker forums on the open internet are seeing a rise in signups after dark web marketplaces have been busted. (Getty/Scoop News Group)

It might be more difficult these days to conduct an anonymous drug deal on the dark web, but not every online criminal enterprise is feeling the pinch of international law enforcement.

New research shows that as the FBI and other crime-fighting agencies have gone after dark web markets, cybercrime communities have avoided the heat. Stolen financial information, access to hacked social media accounts and malicious software tools are still widely available on forums accessible on the open web, without using the Tor anonymity software.

Among those still operating are the prominent Russian-language marketplace Exploit.in, the “carding” forum Joker’s Stash and Hackforums, which offers guidance on how to become a hacker. Exploit, in particular, has gained nearly 1,000 new accounts over the past six weeks, with current membership at 44,433 user accounts as of May 13, according to research conducted by Digital Shadows exclusively for CyberScoop.

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