The unnamed hacker who ran the dark web forum called Hell is apparently a teenager from Canada.
The administrator operated under the pseudonym “Ping,” and was 15 years old at the time of his arrest in Canada back in 2015.
He was apprehended after he tried to illegally acquire the login credentials of teachers at his school.
According to Motherboard, who first reported new developments on the dark web administrator’s case, the boy was arrested in June 2015 following suspicion that he was attempting to hack into a TeacherLogic account.
TeacherLogic is a program employed by the boy’s high school to log grades, host curriculum information and keep school attendance tabs.
An unidentified source with links to the dark web hacking forum reportedly provided legal documents regarding the case to Motherboard.
The documents were apparently obtained from the email account of another unidentified person.
It may be relatively safe to assume that there was some hacking of sort involved in the acquisition of the said documents.
Going by the report, the documents reveal that the boy orchestrated a phishing campaign in efforts to gather the teachers’ credentials. He also used a keylogger to obtain the username and password of an unspecified staff member.
A keylogger refers to a program or script that tracks a user’s keystrokes in order to identify sensitive information.
It was only after his arrest that law enforcement authorities discovered his connection to the dark web forum Hell.
Hell was a notorious underground hacker platform that was conceived in early 2015. The hacking forum quickly became known for hosting a significant number of large-scale data dumps.
However, the forum facilitated the sale of anything from hacking techniques to stolen information troves. Hackers from the forum allegedly were behind some high-profile cyber attacks, including the Adult FriendFinder credentials hack that resulted in leakage of sensitive information from four million users, as well as the compromise of dating website Mate1 where 27 million passwords were leaked.
The forum operated through an elaborate and thorough vetting process, meaning a hacker had to be dedicated and skilled in order to gain entry into the more controversial aspects of the platform.
For the 15-year-old Ping to rise to the ranks of an administrator is quite impressive, to say the least. Hell’s admission framework was developed to deal with law enforcement authorities, as efforts to crack down on illegal activities facilitated by the dark web intensified.
Users who could not make the cut were often added to a rejected section on the site under the tile, “People who couldn’t make it into Hell.”
The Hell hacking forum has had a brush with law enforcement authorities on several occasions including the arrest and detention of Ping in July 2015. Following admin arrests, the dark web platform tends to reappear under new management.
This was also the case for Hell forum. It was revived a few months later under the name “Hell Reloaded” and under an administrator known as “HA.” Users were however justifiably suspicious that the new platform could have been a honeypot operation—a tactic used by cyber law enforcement authorities to nab dark web criminals.
Following Ping’s arrest, the dark web forum went through considerable downtime. A search of the boy’s room uncovered a wireless network adaptor that can be used to acquire wireless networks, passwords, a key logger and several pieces of hacking malware.
According to the documents, police discovered that the boy was using Ping as a username in an unnamed platform/website. He was also hosting a Tor hidden service called Ping sec on his own computer.
The prosecutor in the case wrote that there is more than enough evidence proving that the teenager was behind the attempt to access the CBE computer system. It is yet to be known whether there’s evidence that the boy served as the dark web forum’s admin.
Hell forum closed down for good after a series of shutdowns and re-launches. At the moment, the identity of the teenage boy is undisclosed due to legal reasons.
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