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German cops bust cybercrime forum

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German police have arrested several members of a hacking forum linked to the distribution of Trojan horse software that infected 80,000 computers.

The www.codesoft.cc messageboard was being abused by cybercrooks to exchange tips on ways to use malware and other means to create counterfeit credit cards, according to cybercops from the LKA (Landeskriminalamt) internet crime unit (statement in German here [pdf]).

Police have raided the home of an unnamed 22-year-old Swiss man from Lucerne, Switzerland, on suspicion of running the forum. He allegedly used the online alias tr1p0d to flog password-stealing software. Police recovered what's claimed to be a database of codesoft.cc's users and their IP addresses from a raid on the Swiss suspect's home, net security firm Sophos adds.

Two further suspects, aged 25 and 28, from the Black Forest and Lower Saxony areas of Germany are under suspicion of using tr1p0d's Trojan software to infect 80,000 computers, before selling stolen login credentials and other goodies to other hackers.

Hackers routinely use underground forums to trade their wares. Despite this, law enforcement actions are infrequent, possibly because in most cases the crooks set themselves up in parts of eastern Europe where law enforcement response can be patchy. However, that is not to say that law enforcement actions on hacking forums are unprecedented, just that they are rare.

Last year police across the world made arrests after it was revealed that DarkMarket carder forum had been run as an FBI sting for months. Around 56 people were arrested worldwide - 11 in the UK - over their involvement in the DarkMarket forum, which posed as an online hang-out for identity thieves, carders, crackers and other nefarious characters. ®

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