By Jonathan Davies

Darkode, a notorious forum used by hackers like Lizard Squad, has been shut down after an investigation by 20 countries.

Twenty-eight people have been arrested, including a 26-year old man from Coventry.

"We have dismantled a cyber-hornets' nest... which was believed by many, including the hackers themselves, to be impenetrable," said a US state attorney.

Darkode was often used by cybercriminals to trade tools and tips on hacking. It is understood that Lizard Squad, the group of hackers that claimed responsibility for attacks on the Microsoft and Sony over Christmas, as well as Facebook, Instagram and Tinder, was a common user of Darkode.

The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) said: "Only those proposed for membership by an existing user could join, but not until they posted a resume of the skills and achievements that could contribute to the criminal community.

"There was a hierarchical membership structure, and the status of users determined who they could communicate with, and their access to the commodities and services on offer."

Speaking to the BBC, security blogger Brian Krebs, said: "Most of the cybercrime forums are in Russian or some other language that's not English, but this was an English-language forum.

"And it was a sort of meeting ground for cybercriminals from different nationalities and languages.

"A fairly significant number of people were selling botnet services there, and there were also services for deploying malware and phishing."