In a major win against cyber attacks, the FBI announced that it has seized a website that has allegedly been selling sensitive information collected in thousands of data breaches.
No one likes being the victim of a data hack. It’s annoying and could cause financial issues for years to come. Fortunately, the government recently took steps to crack down on this particular problem. Earlier this month, U.S. authorities seized the “domain name of a website that allegedly sold access to billions of usernames, email addresses, passwords and other sensitive information stolen in data breaches.” The website in question is weleakinfo.com. Now when people visit the site they are greeted with a message that reads, “This Domain Has Been Seized.”
The operators of the website set it up as a sort of search engine where subscribers could search for data “illegally obtained from more than 10,000 data breaches,” according to U.S. authorities. In total, the Justice Department said the website “was offering access to more than 12 billion indexed records.” A statement further said:
“The website sold subscriptions so that any user could access the results of these data breaches, with subscriptions providing unlimited searches and access during the subscription period (one day, one week, one month, or three months).”
Since the website’s discovery, the Justice Department and the FBI have been working with authorities in Germany, Northern Ireland, the U.K. and the Netherlands “as part of a comprehensive law enforcement action” plan. The website has been under investigation by British authorities since August. According to British authorities, “users with malicious intent could pay as little as $2 per day for access to data from breaches in the U.S., Germany and the U.K.”
Already, two men have been arrested in Europe in connection with the website. The men, both 22-years-old, were arrested in Northern Ireland and The Netherlands last month. In a statement, British authorities said the two men who were arrested may have “made total profits in excess of £200,000 from the site.” Additionally, authorities “discovered online payments linked to an IP address thought to have been used by the suspects, suggesting they were heavily involved in the running of the site.”
“We know that weleakinfo.com formed an extremely valuable part of a cyber criminals toolkit. This significant criminal website has now been shut down as a result of an international investigation involving law enforcement agencies from five countries.”
Wondering if your sensitive data was stolen and available on the website? Visit haveibeenpawned.com, a free website set up by security expert Troy Hunt.