An inside look at an FBI hacker sting: Drinking Red Bulls to stay up all night. Posing as online criminals. Assembling an international hall of justice at Europol.
I had the rare opportunity to see behind the scenes as the FBI in Pittsburgh brought down the Darkode online black market. I spent some time with the Bureau as they disabled the network and then I had an exclusive interview with the undercover agents about how it went. The case ultimately involved 70 criminals from Brazil to Pakistan to the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Kitchen and two FBI agents from Pittsburgh sat two weeks ago around a large square table inside the ultramodern, glass-walled offices of Europol, Europe’s leading law enforcement agency.
The Pittsburghers were joined by top prosecutors and police officers from 20 nations. Some were familiar from FBI training they had done in Pittsburgh, and others had become friendly during the previous six months as they worked together to take down Darkode, a private online black market for hackers and criminals.
“It was like we were the United Nations,” Kitchen told the Tribune-Review in an exclusive interview. “We had our little placard in front of us that said, the United States, and every country had its own.”
A fresh-faced college student who once designed a mobile app to bring Pittsburghers together slipped from his prestigious Carnegie Mellon University classrooms into the shadows of the Web, where he sold a program that put thieves inside people’s pockets, federal authorities said Wednesday.