Illicit Services was a relatively new but popular OSINT tool and data breach search engine used to gather information based on personal identifiers such as name, email, username, phone number, address, driving license, VIN, city, state, and zip code.
In a surprising turn of events, Illicit Services (Search.illicit.services), an OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) tool widely used for gathering information based on personal identifiers, has been shut down by its owner due to growing concerns of exploitation and abuse.
The platform, known for its comprehensive search capabilities covering various personal data points, has been a subject of both controversy and praise.
The owner of Illicit Services, who remains anonymous but is referred to as “Miyako Yakota,” made the decision to close the service following mounting evidence that it was being misused for illegitimate purposes rather than functioning as an effective tool for Open-Source Intelligence. The irony of the platform’s name, given the circumstances, is not lost on Yakota.
One of the key reasons cited by Yakota for the shutdown was the observed spike in abuse of the service, particularly within communities engaged in doxxing and sim-swapping. These malicious activities involve the exposure of personal information and unauthorized manipulation of phone services, respectively. By shutting down the service, Yakota aims to curtail the potential harm inflicted upon unsuspecting victims.
However, it is worth noting that Yakota acknowledged the positive aspects of Illicit Services during their announcement on the official Telegram channel. Sharing a user’s success story, Yakota highlighted the case of a non-paying roommate who was exposed for using a fake name on a lease agreement and engaging in fraudulent internship activities, leading to their eviction. Such instances, according to Yakota, shed light on the potential benefits of the platform when used responsibly.
In an unexpected twist, Yakota expressed a willingness to share the data with the Intelligence Community, specifically those allied with the United States. They clarified that while aggregated leaks shared in confidence would not be disclosed, other information would be made available for analysis. Yakota’s decision to involve the Intelligence Community underscores the need to leverage data for lawful purposes while maintaining user privacy and security.
The closure of Illicit Services raises questions about the wider implications of exploiting personal data and the ethical considerations surrounding the use of OSINT tools. It also highlights the responsibility of platform owners to ensure their services are not inadvertently facilitating illegal activities.