The US government has seized a website that sold malware, including one that stole computer data.
The victim of the malware was a Nevada-based web hosting company called HostGator. The FBI said the malware was able to steal information from its customers' computers, but it did not say what kind of information.
HostGator said in a statement that it had been working with federal law enforcement agencies "to identify and remediate any issues."
The FBI said it had seized the domain name associated with the website and took down all versions of the site after HostGator alerted them to its existence.
The seizure comes as some online services are becoming targets for criminals who sell stolen data on the black market. The US is seizing a website that sold computer malware that stole data from thousands of computers. The Department of Justice on Monday announced it had taken down the site, which was called "Your Daily Exploit."
The site offered customers the ability to steal sensitive information about their computers and devices, such as bank account numbers and passwords.
"Your Daily Exploit" offered its customers three types of malware, including remote access Trojans that could be used to infect a computer and steal information from it, and keyloggers that could record everything typed on the keyboard. The keyloggers could also be used to collect passwords for banking websites or email accounts. The US Department of Justice has seized the website of a company that sold malware and stole computer data, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday.
The site, called The Hacker Store, was shuttered after authorities raided its offices in New Jersey and seized computers and other devices.
The site sold "hacking tools" including password-stealing software and remote access tools that allow cybercriminals to take control of computers from afar. It also offered "malware," or malicious software, including ransomware that can lock up users' files until they pay up.
The website's operators were not named in the complaint but are described as an organised crime group based in Russia and Ukraine. They allegedly ran their business through offshore companies based in Cyprus, where banking laws are laxer than those in the U.S., according to court papers.
American law enforcement officials have arrested four people in connection with an online advertising scheme that stole computer data, including credit card numbers, from websites visited by customers.
The four suspects were arrested Thursday in the U.S., according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn. The arrests came as part of Operation Tango Alpha One, which was launched last year by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies.
The operation, which lasted nearly two years, involved officers from the FBI and other agencies who infiltrated several websites suspected of being part of a scheme that stole computer data from consumers' computers. The sites were hosted overseas and sold advertisements based on computer users' information.
In addition to computer data theft, the sites also sold malware that infected computers with malicious software that allowed hackers to steal more sensitive information, including passwords and credit card numbers, according to authorities. The US Government has a lot of power to control and punish websites that violate US law. But it doesn't always do so, even when it has the chance.
The U.S. government is in the business of punishing websites that break the law and engage in other illegal activities. It's part of its mission to keep America safe from all sorts of bad things, including cybercrime and terrorism.
But sometimes, when it comes to policing the Internet, the U.S. government chooses not to do so at all — even when it's clear that certain sites are breaking laws or causing harm elsewhere in cyberspace.
This isn't a new problem; it's one that has existed as long as there have been websites, but it's become more pronounced over time as more people use computers and the Internet for all sorts of purposes — some legal, some not so much so.
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