Police take down Dark Web markets around the globe. Police in 17 countries arrested at least 17 website administrators, vendors and cybercriminals as part of the operation that targeted cyber storefronts where vendors put illegal goods on display much like Amazon or eBay sell legal goods.
Silk Road 2.0 and 400 other sites believed to be selling illegal items including drugs and weapons have been shut down.Police also seized cash, bitcoin, drugs, gold and silver.
Six Britons were also arrested, including a 20-year-old man from Liverpool, a 19-year-old man from New Waltham, a 30 year-old-man from Cleethorpes and a man and woman, both aged 58, from Aberdovey, Wales.All were interviewed and bailed according to the National Crime Agency.
The sites hide from law enforcement on the “Dark Web” by using The Onion Router, or TOR, an underground computer network that relays cyber communications through at least three separate computers to disguise the Internet addresses of its users. Domain names for websites on the TOR network end with .onion.
These law enforcement notices appeared on the websites of ÒDark WebÓ marketplaces after the sites were seized by police.
“The fact that such a significant vendor has been arrested in the presence of an encrypted but open computer with address lists for customers all over the world will be of significant interest to many global law enforcement agencies who specialise in Darknet investigations,” the Irish police said in a statement.
In Britain, six people were arrested by police, including suspected web administrators of the online drug marketplace Silk Road 2.0 and vendors who sold illicit items on the Dark Web sites. Police also seized computer equipment.
“Simultaneously, partners from the European Cybercrime Centre — acting on intelligence developed by US counterparts — took out technical infrastructure which is key to the hosting of illegal market places on the dark web,” the National Crime Agency said in a statement.
The websites are “vital criminal infrastructures that are supporting serious organized crime,” Troels Oerting, assistant director of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center, said.
“We are not just removing these services from the open Internet,” he said. “This time we have also hit services on the Darknet using TOR, where, for a long time, criminals have considered themselves beyond reach. We can now show that they are neither invisible nor untouchable.”
Posters on DeepDotWeb, an internet forum that focuses on the underground marketplaces, began noting a series of Dark Web shutdowns on Thursday.
“No doubt that the 6th of November 2014 will be remembered as one the darkest days in the Dark Net Markets history,” the site’s administrator wrote, noting that at least four sites had been seized.
Users who tried to access the sites found a legal notice from the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security Investigations and European law enforcement agencies.
“This hidden site has been seized,” the notice said.
Forfeiture complaints and other documents filed in federal court in New York included a list of some of the seized “Dark Markets.” Among them are “Pandora,” “Blue Sky,” “Hydra” and “Cloud Nine,” which are similar to Silk Road 2.0 and offered a range of illegal goods and services such as drugs, stolen credit card data, counterfeit money and fake IDs.
” Executive Outcomes,” another site shut down by police, specialized in firearms trafficking, including assault rifles, automatic weapons and sound suppressors with the serial numbers removed. “Fake Real Plastic” sold counterfeit credit cards encoded with stolen credit card data and guaranteed to have at least $2,200 left on the card’s credit limit. The seized “Fake ID” site offered fraudulent passports and the seized “Fast Cash” and “Super Notes Counter” sold fake euros and U.S. dollars in exchange for bitcoin.
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