An international coalition led by German police led to the seizure of more than 20 servers that were used to operate DarkMarket, an online marketplace where drugs and other illicit products were traded.
Around noon on January 12, one of the biggest black markets was dismantled by an international coalition led by the German police, and coordinated by Europol. Named DarkMarket, the site was accessible only to users of Tor, a tool that allows, among other things, to access a fragment of the Internet commonly known as the ” dark web ».
Imagine a sort of Amazon of illicit products, where false papers, counterfeit tickets, stolen credit cards, anonymous SIM cards, malware and especially drugs of all kinds are sold. Finally, an Amazon where sellers hide behind a pseudonym, and where no guarantee is given by the platform on the quality of products.
In this kind of market, all transactions are carried out in bitcoin or monero, cryptocurrencies, much more difficult (but not necessarily impossible) to trace than traditional money. Specifically, potential buyers will transfer their money to a kitty run by the site, and then use the money from that kitty to do their shopping.
According to Europol, DarkMarket would have allowed more than 320,000 transactions, for amounts amounting to 4,650 bitcoin and 12,800 monero. The value of these cryptocurrencies fluctuates regularly, but at current prices, this corresponds to more than 135 million euros. However, the actual value could be less, depending on the date of these transactions.
34-year-old Australian detained
According to the AFP, the alleged operator of the platform is said to be a 34-year-old Australian, arrested at the German-Danish border. To dismantle the platform, the police seized ” more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine “. They will be able to analyze these machines, looking for additional information on the sellers and buyers of these illegal products.
The specialist journalist behind the dark.fail account specifies as for him that DarkMarket built its platform starting from a software relatively common in the medium, “Eckmar marketplace”. The latter has a bad reputation in terms of security, although it supposedly encrypts all messages and delivery addresses.
With this new seizure, international cooperation is once again showing these benefits: from American agencies to local Ukrainian and Moldovan police forces, months of investigation have enabled this crackdown. In September, Europol had already coordinated the arrest of 179 suspected sellers of illicit products on the dark web in Europe and the United States. He then warned the others: “ We will pick you up ».
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