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Five alleged hackers have been arrested by the Pakistani authorities in raids that led to the closure the Pakbugs hacking and carding forum.

The operation, run by Pakistan's Cyber Crime department of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), followed complaints by "national and multinational organisations" over a series of website defacement and hack attacks. Pakbugs is blamed for running amok across thousands of websites belonging to various governmental and non-governmental organisations in Pakistan and elsewhere, local telecoms blog PakSpider reports.

Police seized computer equipment during the arrests of the five suspects. Others suspects remain at large, including Jawaad Ehsan, thought to live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A Pakistani government press statement explains that the suspects are thought to have expertise in a range of cybercrime techniques, including botnet management, phishing and carding.

F-Secure adds that Pakbugs.com was a full service cybercrime forum that offered a venue to discuss hacking techniques and a marketplace for the sale malware code, bank logins and stolen credit card numbers. Last year someone hacked into the forum and posted confidential information to a Full Disclosure mailing list. The information posted included logins, email addresses and password hashes, the Finnish net security firm adds.

Whether this information helped the Pakistani authorities and perhaps sparked the investigation in the first place isn't immediately clear, but seems probable. F-Secure has screenshots and more on this intriguing footnote to the Pakbugs takedown in a blog posting here.

More details on the case, including the names of the suspects and further background, can be found on the CyberCrime & Doing Time blog here. ®

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