In 2015, over 70 people were arrested in a high profile takedown of one of the world’s most notorious hacking forums and black market, Darkode (aka Dark0de). In operation since 2007, the online marketplace included hacking tools, zero-day exploits, stolen data, spamming and botnet services. It was used by groups including the infamous Lizard Squad – the teen hackers known for hitting services such as X-Box Live and the PlayStation Network with distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults.
Since the FBI and Europol operation to take down the Darkode site, there appear to have been several attempts to revive it. Notably, in late 2016, alleged former members of the site tried to bring it back in a diluted form, according to Motherboard.
Now, just over two years later, the site is back again – and this time under new ownership. “Today Dark0de consists of tools, exploits, 0days, accounts that have been cracked, configs for tools, and email/password combinations all available to the public,” a hacker called Ownz told me in an online chat.
The revamped Darkode forum’s Twitter account description reads: “A cybercrime forum and public market offering that serves as a venue for the sale & trade of hacking services, botnets, malware, and illicit goods and services.”
“The long-term goal is to revive Dark0de and hopefully it will become one of the best hacking forums once again,” Ownz says. “If you are wondering why we waited three years to open this service back up: on a federal level we believe Europol and the FBI were still investigating and looking for more hackers to arrest.”