DarkMarket, the world’s largest illegal marketplace on the dark web, has been taken offline in an international operation led by German police. As well as Germany, law enforcement agencies from Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom (National Crime Agency), and the USA (DEA, FBI, and IRS) were involved. Europol supported the takedown with specialist operational analysis and coordinated the cross-border collaborative effort of the countries involved.
The Central Criminal Investigation Department in the German city of Oldenburg arrested an Australian citizen (the alleged operator of DarkMarket) near the German-Danish border over the weekend of 9/10 January 2020. The investigation, which was led by the cybercrime unit of the Koblenz Public Prosecutor’s Office, supported by the German Federal Criminal Police office (BKA), allowed officers to locate and close the marketplace, switch off the servers and seize the criminal infrastructure – more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine. The stored data will give investigators new leads to further investigate moderators, sellers, and buyers.
The DarkMarket vendors mainly traded all kinds of drugs and sold counterfeit money, stolen or counterfeit credit card details, anonymous SIM cards and malware.
DARKMARKET IN FIGURES:
- almost 500,000 users;
- more than 2,400 sellers;
- over 320,000 transactions;
- more than 4,650 bitcoin and 12,800 monero transferred (at the current rate, this corresponds to a sum of more than €140 million).
PUBLIC-PRIVATE SECTOR COOPERATION
Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has established a dedicated Dark Web Team to work together with EU partners and law enforcement across the globe to reduce the size of this underground illegal economy. This team focusses on:
- sharing information;
- providing operational support and expertise in different crime areas;
- developing tools, tactics and techniques to conduct dark web investigations;
- identifying threats and targets.
The EAST Payments Task Force and the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud work closely with Europol and other law enforcement agencies (national, regional and global). EAST Global and National Members focus on the reporting of payment and terminal fraud (fraud types, fraud origins and due diligence), for the gathering, collation and dissemination of related information, trends and general statistics across all geographies.