The cybercrime team of the East Brabant police has taken a website offline on which criminals sold hacked servers. With this, the team prevented people from becoming victims of hackers, scams or computer breaches. This is reported by the police on its website.
Course of the investigation
The police discovered the website, which served as a kind of criminal online marketplace, through a tip. The information came from Germany about a website hosted in the Netherlands that supposedly sold hacked servers. This information was important because, according to the police: “Once in possession of such a hacked server, it is always used for criminal purposes .” The cybercrime team launched an investigation into this.
It soon became apparent that criminals were indeed offering compromised servers through the website. “In order to clarify what was hidden behind this, the cybercrime team gained access to four Dutch servers by using various investigative methods,” the police said. In this way, the team provided valuable information. The police were able to identify, approach, and inform victims by means of IP addresses, among other things. The victims were not aware of the hack.
The police confiscated the server of the website in question. The team also made the backup server inaccessible. The data on the server is secured. All legitimate users of the offered IP addresses, in this case, the victims, have been approached by the police. They received a message stating that they were victims of computer intrusion and what measures to take.
Approach cybercrime differently from normal crime
The cybercrime team of East Brabant made no arrests in this investigation. According to the police, this is because the approach to cybercrime is different from a traditional crime. “The main goals were to disrupt the process of criminal activities at the front and to prevent victims.”
These goals have been achieved by making the website inaccessible. The platform can no longer be used, and access to hacked systems can no longer be purchased. According to the police, “possible misuse of systems has been stopped and prevented”, by notifying the victims.
“We are sending a signal that these kinds of practices are punishable and we want to make users aware of this. We want to ban such criminal websites on Dutch territory. By disrupting and tearing down such an infrastructure, we also disrupt the revenue model of cybercriminals. The effect on security is so many times more effective than perpetrator-oriented investigation,” said the team leader of the cybercrime team.
Based on the data obtained, the police are investigating whether they can start a follow-up investigation into the administrator and the users of the platform.
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