In a surprise announcement on March 21, 2023, the administrator of BreachForums said the hacking forum has officially been taken offline but promised “what is to come will be better for us all.”
Baphomet, who currently oversees BreachForums, noted in a message on the forum’s Telegram channel: “You are allowed to hate me and disagree with my decision but I promise what is to come will be better for us all.”
The shutdown is suspected to result from concerns that law enforcement gained access to the site’s systems, code, and user information. It follows the recent arrest of the forum’s administrator, Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, on charges of conspiring to commit access device fraud.
Over the past months, BreachForums filled the void left by RaidForums’ closure in 2022, becoming a lucrative place for buying and selling databases stolen from companies. But ending BreachForums could drive cybercriminals to other underground forums to trade stolen data and other illegal goods.
The move also comes as Telegram remains a hub for such criminal activity, enabling the sale of malware, corporate and personal data breaches, counterfeits, drugs, and more.
“Threat actors will likely remain interested in stolen databases, and it’s unclear if they will switch to alternate venues or build a new forum,” said cybersecurity company Flashpoint.
The sudden shutdown of BreachForums deals a major blow to cyber criminals who bought and sold stolen information there. However, clandestine hacking forums continue operating on Telegram and other platforms, likely absorbing users and illicit activity from BreachForums. Law enforcement has an ongoing challenge stopping these criminal communities, even taking down individual forums. Their networks are diffuse, secretive, and constantly shifting to new channels.