DarkMarket: Largest illegal darknet marketplace in the world taken down
German investigators can claim a major success against illegal business on the Darknet. The Koblenz prosecutor general’s office announced on Tuesday that investigators have dismantled the so-called “DarkMarket” and were able to arrest the suspected operator. According to press release from the prosecutor’s office, it was the largest illegal darknet marketplace in the world and was suspected to be operated by an Australian.
“DarkMarket” with more than 500,000 users
The success against “DarkMarket” is based on a cooperation of the state criminal investigation departments of Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as the State Central Office for Cybercrime of the Koblenz Prosecutor General’s Office, the U.S. authorities FBI, DEA and IRS, and police authorities from Australia, Great Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Ukraine and Moldova. When “DarkMarket” was taken offline on Monday, the platform had around 500,000 users and more than 2,400 sellers.
Business worth a total of 140 million euros in “DarkMarket”
The main business area of the “DarkMarket” related to drug transactions. However, counterfeit money, stolen credit card data, anonymous sim cards and malware were also traded. In total, probably more than 320,000 transactions were made. Here, almost 4,700 Bitcoin and 12,800 with a total value of 140 million euros were used as payment. According to the press release, the suspected mastermind was a 34-year-old Australian, who was finally arrested at the German-Danish border. At the same time, servers in Moldova and Ukraine were secured.
The “DarkMarket” was also temporarily hosted in the notorious cyber bunker in Traben-Trarbach in Rhineland-Palatinate. When this was excavated, investigators were also able to get on the trail of the world’s largest darknet marketplace for this reason. In the cyber bunker in Rhineland-Palatinate, eight suspects operated an illegal data center for years, which was used for darknet activities. Charges of aiding and abetting criminal acts have already been filed against the operating team.