DarkMarket is one of the world’s largest illegal market on the web, and recently, this market has been shut down by many countries like Germany, Australia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Moldova, the USA, along with the FBI.
This market has been shut down in an international operation, involving all the mentioned above countries. Not only this, but Europol has also supported the takedown with expert operational review and organized the cross-border collaborative resolution of all the countries that were involved in this operation.
The experts affirmed that the illegal internet market is especially concentrated on the sales of drugs, forged money, stolen or fabricated credit card information, unidentified SIM cards, and off-the-shelf malware.
DarkMarket in figures
- Approximately 500000 users
- More than 2400 merchants
- Nearly 320000 transactions
- Nearly 4650 bitcoin and 12800 Monero were transported
Germany takes the lead
The Central Criminal Investigation Department in the German city of Oldenburg has recently caught an Australian citizen, and he is the alleged operator of DarkMarket near the German-Danish border.
The cybercrime unit of the Koblenz Public Prosecutor’s office has started the investigation, and they allowed the officers to determine and close the marketplace, and they switch off the servers and seize the whole criminal infrastructure.
Apart from this, more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine were confirmed by the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). And all the collected data will give investigators new hints to further review the moderators, sellers, and buyers.
Europol’s involvement and it’s Dark Web Team
The main motive of Europol is to build a coordinated law enforcement strategy so that they can easily stop the crime on the dark web. However, this process involves law enforcement agencies from across and outside the EU and some other relevant associates and organizations, like Eurojust.
- Europol has facilitated international information transfer.
- Europol has accommodated trained operational support.
- Europol has granted advanced analytics, helping the German authorities to identify and to track down the alleged administrator.
- Europol helped Germany in coordinating the cross-border collaborative effort that involves all the international partners.
Moreover, the Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has set a dedicated Dark Web Team to work together with EU partners and law enforcement worldwide to overcome the size of this illegal undercover market.
And here are few essential deliveries made by Europol’s Dark Web Team:-
- Sharing data
- Implementing operational support and expertise in various crime areas
- Generating tools, tactics, and techniques to administer dark web investigations
- Recognizing threats and targets
After a proper investigation, nearly 121 suspects were seized in the US, 42 in Germany, 8 in the Netherlands, 4 in Britain, 3 in Austria, and 1 in Sweden.
The cybersecurity specialist at ESET, Mr. Jake Moore, asserted that the golden age of dark web markets is gradually coming to an end as law enforcement methods are improving and evolving day by day.