WeLeakInfo was once a popular website that provided access to a vast database of personal information that had been leaked or stolen from various online sources. The website was shut down in early 2020 by the FBI, in collaboration with renowned cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs. This article examines the rise and fall of WeLeakInfo, its impact on cybersecurity, and the lessons learned from the 12B database breach and FBI-Krebs investigation.
WeLeakInfo: The Platform that Profited from Personal Information
WeLeakInfo was launched in 2017 as a platform that aggregated data from various sources and allowed users to search for personal information such as email addresses, passwords, and usernames. The platform was advertised as a tool for individuals and companies to check if their personal information had been compromised and to take necessary steps to secure their online accounts. However, the website was mostly used by cybercriminals to obtain information that could be used for identity theft, phishing attacks, and other illegal activities.
The website claimed to have over 12 billion records in its database, which included information from major data breaches such as the LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Yahoo breaches. The platform also offered a paid subscription service that allowed users to access more detailed information, such as social security numbers, credit card details, and other sensitive information.
WeLeakInfo’s Popularity and Controversies
WeLeakInfo quickly gained popularity among cybercriminals, who used the platform to obtain personal information for various illegal activities. The website was also controversial due to its lack of transparency and privacy concerns. The platform did not disclose the sources of its data, and there were concerns that the website was selling personal information to third parties without the consent of the affected individuals.
The website was also accused of facilitating cybercrime by providing access to sensitive information to anyone with a subscription, regardless of their intentions. WeLeakInfo was widely criticized by cybersecurity experts and advocacy groups, who called for the platform to be shut down.
The FBI-Krebs Investigation and the Takedown of WeLeakInfo
In early 2020, the FBI, in collaboration with cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs, launched an investigation into WeLeakInfo’s activities. The investigation revealed that the website was hosted on servers located in Europe, and the domain was registered in The Netherlands. The website’s operators used anonymous payment methods, such as Bitcoin, to hide their identities and evade law enforcement.
The FBI and Krebs worked together to identify the website’s operators and gather evidence of their illegal activities. The investigation revealed that the website’s operators had obtained personal information from various sources, including data breaches, phishing attacks, and malware. The website’s operators were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, computer fraud, and abuse, and identity theft.
The takedown of WeLeakInfo was a significant victory for cybersecurity experts and law enforcement agencies. The website’s shutdown sent a message to cybercriminals that their activities would not go unpunished, and it highlighted the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity experts in fighting cybercrime.
Lessons Learned from the WeLeakInfo Breach and Takedown
The WeLeakInfo incident highlights the importance of cybersecurity and the need for individuals and organizations to take necessary measures to protect their personal information. The incident also highlights the dangers of using third-party platforms that claim to provide access to personal information. It is essential to be cautious when sharing personal information online and to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication to protect online accounts.
The takedown of WeLeakInfo also highlights the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity experts in fighting cybercrime. The investigation