The hacker underworld is constantly changing. As soon as forums are shut down, stronger replacements spring up. Now, a hacking forum on the dark web with a turbulent history has returned, and apparently with a new leader since the previous one called it quits.
"Hell" is the site where data from the Adult Friend Finder breach was dumped back in May. After that, the forum saw an influx of new members, and users advertised tools for remotely accessing target's computers, stolen credit card details, and more data leaks.
Around the start of July, the site's owner, a hacker who goes by the handle of "Ping," went missing. A few days later, Ping eventually returned—but shortly afterward, he shut Hell down completely.
"Maybe I will come back into this world again learning from my mistakes and rebuild an amazing community like this again but this is the last you will ever hear from Ping," he wrote. "I am not good with goodbyes so ya and thanks to all."
Now, Hell is back up, with a rebranding and apparently new leadership.
"HELL, the largest and oldest deep web hacking forum, is pleased to announce the release and launch of HELL |||," a member announced on the site last week.
"Although leadership is not discussed publicly, ROR[RG] is now in-charge of HELL's final decision makings," the post continues. ROR[RG] is the handle used by the hacker who originally dumped the Adult Friend Finder data. However, the post also says that "HELL is a community, no single person controls it. Many oversee it and vote as a board to perform actions similar to that of a corporation."
The forum is now invite only, presumably in an attempt to keep out unwanted visitors. The post continues that "Reporters, Investigators & Other Lurkers" are "not welcome here."