BreachForums is back — just weeks after FBI reportedly took down cybercrime website, it reappears

Cyber crime concept with man in handcuffs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

BreachForums, the infamous hacking forum that was supposedly taken offline by law enforcement earlier this month, is apparently back online and ready to serve customers.

Multiple reports claim the site is back both on the dark web and in the clearnet, seemingly under the control of ShinyHunters - previously one of the forum’s senior administrators. 

As the successor of RaidForums (raided and shut down in 2015), BreachForums were set up to help hackers share malware, stolen data, and other warez, easily. It was first targeted by the FBI in March 2023, when its owner and super-admin at the time, Conor Brian Fitzpatrick was arrested, and later sentenced to 20 years supervised release. 

NiceNIC returns the domains

Earlier this month, the FBI targeted the site once again, this time seemingly in a more severe manner, as the site was defaced to show a message saying it had been taken over by law enforcement. 

“This website has been taken down by the FBI and the DOJ with assistance from international partners,” the site said at the time. “We are reviewing this site’s backend data. If you have information to report about cyber criminal activity on BreachForums, please contact us.” 

The site also showed its two key administrators - alias Baphomet and ShinyHunters, as arrested. It was later confirmed that Baphomet was indeed in custody, and his Telegram account was also confiscated. 

ShinyHunters, on the other hand, bragged that none of its members were arrested and that it planned on restarting the site quickly.

Soon enough, the site was propped back up, but interestingly - with the same domains. According to The Register, ShinyHunters managed to regain access to the crime market’s site, by asking NiceNIC - the Hong Kong-based domain registrar supplying the domains - nicely. 

Among the wider cybersecurity community, the FBI losing control over the domains is perceived as a major fiasco for the law enforcement agency. 

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.