Hackers for hire and some of their customers have been arrested in a international crackdown on email hacking services.

Eleven people across four nations have been arrested in connection with email-hacking websites following a coordinated sting by law enforcement in the US, Romania, India, and China.

Prosecutors in the US filed four separate cases against five US-based defendants last week, accusing them of either buying or selling email account credentials on the website needapassword.com.

Two men from Arkansas each face up to five years in prison for running a rent-a-hacker service in which customers would supply email addresses that the pair would compromise.

According to a statement by the US Attorney’s Office, customers would make payments to the operators’ PayPal accounts in the scheme, which has affected 6,000 email accounts and was by far the largest of the operations caught in the sting.

Separately, three US-based buyers who collectively spent over $23,000 on email hacking services face misdemeanor offences for hiring the hackers.

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