One of the Largest Dark Web Sites Has Been Shut Down by the German Police
One of the largest global dark web illegal markets has been shut down in Germany. It happened when the alleged mastermind of the illegal bazaar DarkMarket was arrested. It was considered to be the “eBay for the criminals” as it had over half a million global users.
According to the news, it also had about 2,500 vendors that used to change illicit goods, such as hacking tools, counterfeit money, stolen credit cards, drugs, and whatnot.
How Did it Happen?
The DarkMarket was taken offline on 12th January 2021 when the Australian man Julian K, 34, was identified and arrested while he was trying to escape from the Denmark border to enter Germany. He was the accused mastermind of the illegal DarkMarket masterminding 220 million US dollars.
Details of the Event
According to a prosecutor in Germany, Julian K is originally from Queensland, Australia. He was the ringleader of DarkMarket and had over 20 computer servers across Moldova and Ukraine. It’s important to keep in mind that these were the main servers that hosted pretty much everything for the DarkMarket. All of those servers are also confiscated thanks to the operation involving Scotland Yard, FBI, and German Police.
Because of the rules and regulations of the German Police investigation process, the full names cannot be released. Moreover, the Australian police have also provided their input in the investigation process. It allowed the authorities to find out another dark web site.
Investigation of the Event
The prosecutor and news also suggest that the accused Australian was appeared before the judge in German court but didn’t speak a single word. Therefore, he was sent to jail on remand.
Koblenz Public Prosecutors’ (located in Northwestern Germany) Attorney General, Jurgen Brauer said that the cybercriminal was not exactly living in Germany before he was arrested. He was only in the country as he was on a European journey, he said. The attorney added that it is quite possible that he was here in Europe to make more connections or to spend his holidays. At this point, it’s not safe to say what he was doing here, but the fact of the matter is that he was travelling through Europe.
The attorney also stated in a press conference that Julian K was also investigated against Cyberbunker. It’s a similar case with a group of criminals who hosted a darknet website from a Cold War bunker. When the criminal was caught, and the servers located in Moldova and Ukraine were confiscated, the data regarding Cyberbunker was also captured. Therefore, it opened new doors for further investigation that could lead the authorities to capture more darknet platforms. The data also suggested that the accused Australian also got helped from at least a couple of other managers or administrators to run the DarkMarket.
Information that was Revealed Regarding the DarkMarket
The easiest way to understand how DarkMarket was working is to imagine the concept of something like eBay. It was a platform where users could register themselves to paddle their wares, and Julian K was its founder. As mentioned, this platform had almost 2.5 thousand sellers and about half a million users.
The German prosecutor said that the data shows that there were more than 320,000 transactions that value about 220 million US dollars. The main form of payment on the DarkMarket was Monero and Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies.
Other than Rhineland-Palatinate and Lower Saxony, which are the state criminal investigation agencies, the LZC and ZKI Oldenburg cooperated with Moldovan, Ukrainian, Swiss, Danish, British, and Australian police and also with American Authorities such as IRS, DEA, and FBI.
Despite the fact that the accused Julian K is Australian, Australia welcomed his arrest and also provided the required intelligence to the German local authorities.
The Results of this Event Will go a Long Way
The experts suggest that it’s a very significant result that will impact thousands of dark web markets and platforms across the globe. It will demonstrate to the darknet users and vendors how international law enforcement agencies can catch them. It will also provide the authorities with the required confidence to target the darknet platforms selling illicit products.
Why Dark Web Needs to be Shut Down
The dark web is the deepest layer of the internet involving all types of bad and unhealthy activities. The users and sellers here break the laws all the time by hosting and supporting anonymous, complex, and large-scale platforms. This way, these platforms facilitate the most heinous crimes such as stolen identification information, extremist content, firearms and drugs trafficking, child sexual abuse, etcetera.
The biggest problem of the dark web is that the criminals remain anonymous while doing all the negative things. Not only does it affect the well-being of our community, but it also makes it almost impossible to track the criminals down.
Written by The Original PC Doctor on 28/1/2021.