DOJ scores third guilty plea in bust of elite hacking forum

DOJ scores third guilty plea in bust of elite hacking forum
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The Justice Department has scored another guilty plea as it prosecutes 12 alleged members of an elite hacking forum on the dark Web.

Indianapolis man Phillip Fleitz, 31, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to helping operate a three-person hacking ring that cracked into routers in developing nations and used them to blast out spam to cellphones, The Associated Press reported.


Authorities said the trio netted $2,000 to $3,000 each week with their scheme.

One other member of the group, Naveed Ahmed, a 27-year-old from Tampa, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, according to reports.  

Fleitz is the third person to plead guilty following the July bust of the notorious members-only Darkode forum. The international sting involved over 20 countries and resulted in 70 alleged members being arrested or charged.

The underground cyber crime network was a hub for talented digital thieves to buy and sell digital intrusion tools while also scheming and swapping tips. To gain access, aspiring members had to prove their hacking skills.

On Monday, Eric Crocker became the first of the 12 alleged members to plead guilty to his charges. Authorities say Crocker used a hacking tool known as Facebook Spreader to crack into at least 77,000 computers before targeting them with spam messages.