Thursday, 24 September, 2020

Justice Department announces takedown of AlphaBay, the largest dark web market

Justice Department announces takedown of AlphaBay, the largest dark web market Justice Department announces takedown of AlphaBay, the largest dark web market
Debra Rodriguez | 21 July, 2017, 00:56

Though the officials who announced the seizure emphasized the importance of removing the largest marketplace on the dark web, they acknowledged that it will do little more than pause the flow of illegal marketplace to the relative secrecy of the dark web.

As of early this year, the department says there were hundreds of vendors advertising heroin and fentanyl on Cazes' Alpha-Bay. AlphaBay was even larger than Silk Road, which was seized by law enforcement in November 2013.

It estimated there had been more than $1 billion (860 million euros) worth of transactions on the site since its creation in 2014.

Hansa had been pinned down as having its market infrastructure in the Netherlands by Bitdefender, an internet security company that works with the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

AlphaBay was taken down through the efforts of law enforcement authorities in the US, Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, France and the United Kingdom, according to the government.

"The take-down of the two largest criminal Dark Web markets in the world by European and American law enforcement authorities shows the important and necessary result of worldwide cooperation to fight this criminality", he added. Some 10 000 foreign addresses of Hansa market buyers were passed on to Europol.

AlphaBay's suspected founder, Alexandre Caze, was arrested earlier this month in Thailand at the request of USA officials.

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Mr. Cazes, originally from Canada, had his laptop open and was logged in to AlphaBay at the time of his arrest, allowing the authorities to gain access to all of AlphaBay's hidden servers and financial accounts, according to legal documents unsealed on Thursday.

He also said a 13-year-old boy died after overdosing on a synthetic opioid bought by a high school classmate via the site. Police seized millions of dollars in assets, four luxury cars and three properties.

"There are more of these operations to come", a Europol official stated. According to the message, Dutch authorities had taken control of the Hansa Market a month ago, on June 20, and had been monitoring its users ever since. These too would be targeted.

Just a few short weeks after dark web market Alpha Bay was shut down, Hansa Market is now also shuttered.

Court documents also said others were involved in the conspiracy and officials said they would also be investigating individuals who were found through undercover operations and in taking over Hansa before AlphaWeb was shut down, causing an influx of new users to Hansa that authorities were able to capture.

During the press conference, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein echoed these sentiments and warned prospective dark net customers and traders that Tor would not necessarily shield their identities.

Dark web users, meanwhile, were rattled by the sting, advising each other to change their passwords as soon as possible, and spreading paranoid warnings of a possible "backdoor" into dark net markets.

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