Dark Web Markets AlphaBay and Hansa Shut Down

Dark Web Markets AlphaBay and Hansa Shut Down

It had over 200 000 users and 40 000 vendors. But in a dramatic twist on Thursday, authorities also shut down Hansa Market, and announced they had been running it for the past month.

Dark web vendors are enabling the circulation of illegal weapons already on the black market in addition to offering customers "better performing, more recent firearms for the same, or lower, price, than what would be available on the street", the report said. The darknet, a part of the internet accessible only through specialised anonymity-providing tools such as Tor, is a particularly attractive place for online drug merchants and buyers because they can operate with relative openness while still keeping their identities secret.

Operation Bayonet led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DEA, meanwhile identified the alleged creator and administrator of AlphaBay, a Canadian citizen in Thailand. The site eventually grew so that it had moderators, scam monitors and even a public relations manager, who posted updates on an internal AlphaBay forum and on Reddit and other public websites, according to the indictment.

On July 12, Cazes, a Canadian citizen, killed himself while in Thai custody. Day-to-day operations were run with the help of as many as ten anonymous employees who went by names that included "Disc0", "Trappy", "BigMuscles", "Botah", "Onionhood" and "MountainHigh9".

Police identified the physical-world location of the Hansa marketplace on 20 June, and have been working covertly for a month to collect information about the marketplace's users before shutting it down on Thursday. Drug sales continued as usual as investigators logged each transaction and sent shipment details to local police forces in the relevant area.

"Some of the most prolific drug suppliers use what's called the dark web", Sessions said. "There are so many complaints".

"I literally just found the flawless deal for (Xanax) bars, texted a bud to see if he wanted, and when I went to refresh I got the same message about the site being seized", fellow user Elchapo1017 wrote.

More news: Explaining Kyle Larson's qualifying penalty

Silk Road, formerly the biggest illegal online marketplace, operated from 2011 to 2013.

Wainwright said the investigation had resulted in the identification of numerous organized crime figures and that intelligence leads have been distributed to law enforcement in 37 countries around the world.

The two-step operation was "psychological warfare", said Nicolas Christin, a darknet expert at Carnegie Mellon University. Andrew Clarke, EMEA Director at One Identity, said: "With the intensity of the cyber threat ramping up and causing chaos around the world - it is reassuring to hear about the collaboration between national and worldwide law enforcement agencies". "There have been takedowns in the past". "What we have seen in the past is that people move around".

Darknet sites have thrived following the appearance - and subsequent takedown - of illegal goods bazaar Silk Road.

Some of Mr. Cazes' money was in the virtual currencies used on AlphaBay, including Bitcoin, Ether and Monero.

The success of this operation doesn't mean that darknet drug markets will stay down for long.

He said: "We have learned a lot over the years about taking down worldwide criminal syndicates, and that same experience applies to organizations that are facilitated on the dark net".

Related Articles