THE UNITED STATES Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested five people, two of whom ran websites, on suspicion of offering or using hacking on demand services.
In a statement the FBI said that it has picked up two website operators and three users in an international operation involving the cooperation of Romanian, Indian and Chinese authorities.
The five domestic suspects have been charged with obtaining unauthorized access to email accounts, and the FBI thinks they will all plead guilty.
Mark Anthony Townsend, 45, of Cedarville, Arkansas and Joshua Alan Tabor, 29, of Prairie Grove, Arkansas are accused of operating a password sourcing hacking website called needapassword.com.
The other three, John Ross Jesensky, 30, of Northridge, California, Laith Nona, 31, of Troy, Michigan, and Arthur Drake, 55, of the Bronx, New York are charged with buying services from hacking websites, including one deal that was worth over $20,000.
The global swoop saw four people arrested in Romania, and a number of websites including zhackgroup.com, spyhackgroup.com, rajahackers.com, clickhack.com, ghostgroup.org and e-mail-hackers.com have been shut down.
Indian authorities arrested Amit Tiwari, who ran www.hirehacker.net and www.anonymiti.com, while in China the hiretohack.net website has been smacked down.
"As part of an international law enforcement operation involving Romania, India, and China, federal prosecutors have charged two operators of a United States based e-mail hacking website, as well as three customers of other hacking websites based in other nations, with computer fraud offenses," said the FBI in a statement.
"These charges are the product of an international investigation coordinated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received the assistance of the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service." µ