DarkMarket, the world's largest illegal
marketplace on the dark web, has been taken
offline in an international operation involving
Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine,
the United Kingdom (the National Crime Agency),
and the USA (DEA, FBI, and IRS). Europol
supported the takedown with specialist
operational analysis and coordinated the
cross-border collaborative effort of the
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. The
vendors on the marketplace mainly traded all
kinds of drugs and sold counterfeit money,
stolen or counterfeit credit card details,
anonymous SIM cards and malware.
Germany takes the lead
The Central Criminal Investigation Department in
the German city of Oldenburg arrested an
Australian citizen who is the alleged operator
of DarkMarket near the German-Danish border over
the weekend. The investigation, which was led by
the cybercrime unit of the Koblenz Public
Prosecutor's Office, 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
supported by the German Federal Criminal Police
office (BKA). The stored data will give
investigators new leads to further investigate
moderators, sellers, and buyers.
Facilitated international information
Provided specialist operational support.
Provided advanced analytics that assisted
the German authorities in identifying and
tracking down the alleged administrator.
Supported Germany in coordinating the
cross-border collaborative effort involving
Europol's Dark Web Team
One of Europol's initiatives is to create a
coordinated law enforcement approach to tackle
crime on the dark web. This involves law
enforcement agencies from across and outside the
EU and other relevant partners and organisations,
such as Eurojust.
achieve this goal, 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.
It will deliver a complete, coordinated
providing operational support and expertise
in different crime areas;
developing tools, tactics and techniques to
conduct dark web investigations;
identifying threats and targets.
The team also aims to enhance joint technical
and investigative actions, organise training and
capacity-building initiatives, together with
prevention and awareness-raising campaigns – a
360° strategy against criminality on the dark
shared commitment across the law enforcement
community worldwide and a coordinated approach
by law enforcement agencies have once again
proved their effectiveness. The scale of the
operation at Europol demonstrates the global
commitment to tackling the use of the dark web
as a means to commit crime.