DarkMarket Taken Down

A multinational operation also involving Europol, UK and US authorities has put a halt to illegal trade valued at over £125 million. DarkMarket, the world's largest illegal marketplace on the dark web, has been taken offline in an international operation involving Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the USA. 

Europol supported the takedown with specialist operational analysis and coordinated the cross-border collaborative effort of the countries involved.

At the time of its closure, DarkMarket had almost half a million users and more than 2,400 vendors selling a broad range of illicit merchandise. Among the goods advertised for sale were stolen credit card details, illegal drugs, counterfeit money, anonymous SIM cards, and malware. 

Sellers on the Dark Web have been advertising Covid-19 vaccines, asking for bitcoin payments and then not delivering the goods, cybersecurity researchers at leading IT software firm Check Point found.

The vendors on the marketplace mainly traded all kinds of drugs and sold counterfeit money, stolen or counterfeit credit card details, anonymous SIM cards and malware. The Central Criminal Investigation Department in the German city of Oldenburg arrested an Australian citizen who is the alleged operator of DarkMarket near the German-Danish border over the weekend.The investigation, which was led by the cybercrime unit of the Koblenz Public Prosecutor's Office, allowed officers to locate and close the marketplace, switch off the servers and seize the criminal infrastructure, more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine supported by the German Federal Criminal Police office (BKA). The stored data will give investigators new leads to further investigate moderators, sellers, and buyers. 

One of Europol's initiatives is to create a coordinated law enforcement approach to tackle crime on the dark web. This involves law enforcement agencies from across and outside the EU and other relevant partners and organisations, such as Eurojust.

To achieve this goal, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre has established a dedicated Dark Web Team to work together with EU partners and law enforcement across the globe to reduce the size of this underground illegal economy. 
The team aims to enhance joint technical and investigative actions, organise training and capacity-building initiatives, together with prevention and awareness-raising campaigns. 

Eurpol claim that this s a 360° strategy against criminality on the Dark Web and the scale of the operation demonstrates a worldwide commitment to prosecute criminals who use of the Dark Web.

Europol:        ITPro:        CNBC:        Beckers HealthIT:         Infosecurity Magazine

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