Police in the Netherlands are trying to scare users of a notorious hacking site by contacting them with emails, letters, and phone calls to warn them they’re no longer anonymous.
The country’s National Police Corps is issuing the warnings to suspected users of RaidForums, which sold stolen user information, including databases from hacked companies.
Last year, international law enforcement shut down the hacking site and seized RaidForums’ user database.
Dutch police say they’ve been poring over the records and traced several thousand registered members who accessed stolen data circulating on the site.
In response, Dutch police have resorted to using “thousands of emails, hundreds of letters and a dozen stop calls” to tell the suspected the cybercriminals that their activities are being watched.
“By unmasking (potential) buyers, the police hope to send a clear signal that online activities are visible, especially on forums where lists of personal data are traded,” the police said.
The agency added: “Depending on the level of activity on such forums, users may receive an email or letter informing them that they are users of a recently taken-down forum, an explicit call to stop their activities, and a warning of the consequences of engaging in online criminality. Minors will receive a warning conversation with the police.”
Indeed, BleepingComputer spotted one user posting a warning letter online.
The document notes: “The Dutch Police urges you to stop participating in online activities, such as trading leaked data.
“You run the risk of breaking the law…
“You are less anonymous online than you think.
“Do you still choose to commit cybercrime? Then be aware of the consequences.”
Why Dutch police have only been sending warning letters, as opposed to making arrests, may be due to lack of clear evidence.
In the announcement, the agency also added: “Within cybercrime, alternative interventions are increasingly used instead of pursuing the criminal justice route.
“By using alternative interventions, attempts are made to prevent and disrupt cybercrime, which is often complementary to investigation and prosecution.”