These Are the Data Centers Where Cybercriminals Hide

Given the seemingly ethereal nature of the internet, it can be easy to forget that behind every hack or cyberheist there’s a real wires-circuits-and-boards infrastructure.

By Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai|MOTHERBOARD

To break into your computer, or that of a financial company, cybercriminals often use hacking tools hosted on a server in a data center somewhere. They also use servers to eventually store the files they steal, or to maintain the infrastructure behind more mundane threats such as spam emails.

In the 2000s, the so-called bulletproof hosters, who were the Swiss banks of the internet, offered storage with no questions asked, and, more importantly, refusing to answer questions or takedown requests from authorities. That’s how bulletproof hosters became the favorite hideouts for cybercriminals. Some have become part of internet folklore, such as the Cold War-era nuclear bunker that hosted the notorious spam haven CyberBunker, The Pirate Bay, or the self-proclaimed principality of Sealand and its data haven on an offshore platform.

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