At a press conference in Lisbon, the director of the PJ Cybercrime Combat Unit, Carlos Cabreiro, gave details of the operation, which led to the closure of one of the largest hacker platforms in the world, which sold access to databases of several US companies that had been targeted by cyberattacks.

The administrator of the hackers forum, with half a million users, was a 21-year-old Portuguese man who was arrested on January 31 and created the platform in 2015, when he would have been 14 years old.

The Portuguese citizen, “an information collector” as Carlos Cabreiro called him, was arrested in London, but according to Carlos Cabreiro this does not mean that he lived in the United Kingdom, but that he was in the United Kingdom, and he also resides in Portugal.

The extradition of the young man, said the official, is being requested by the United States.

Questioned by journalists, Carlos Cabreiro said it was too early to make connections between the forum's activity and recent cyberattacks in Portugal, other cyberattacks in other countries or manipulation of elections in the United States. “A direct relationship with the US elections has not been established,” he said.

Criminal platform

The platform, a “forum for the exchange of information of criminal origin”, provided, for example, information on credit cards, bank account numbers, access credentials or passwords and usernames, explained the director of the Cybercrime Unit of the PJ.

Carlos Cabreiro admitted that the information that the authorities had now accessed could be useful to unravel some computer crimes and to solve “hundreds or thousands” of investigations that are taking place around the world.

In a statement, the PJ already confirmed that it had participated in the so-called 'Tourniquet' operation through the National Unit to Combat Cybercrime and Technological Crime (UNC3T), and that three suspects had been arrested, one in Europe, and two in the United States of America.

The three were administrators of the 'RaidForums' platform, considered the largest hacker forum in the world.

The operation was coordinated by Europol which supported investigations in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal and Romania.