The Stack Archive

‘Operation Onymous’ seizes hundreds of underground drug and weapons cybermarkets

Fri 7 Nov 2014

A joint cybercrime initiative, involving 16 European countries and the US, has arrested 17 suspects globally this week, Europol announced today.

The European police agency has rounded up cybercriminals linked to the drugs trade and weapons market in an investigation known as ‘Operation Onymous.’

US authorities revealed yesterday that the underground drugs cybermarket site, Silk Road 2.0, Silk Road’s successor, had been shut down and that they had charged its suspected operator, Blake Benthall, with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, computer hacking, and money laundering among other crimes.

Europol stated that the raid, organised between US and European cybercrime units, had scanned 18 countries and had seized US$1mn worth of Bitcoin, in cash, silver, gold and narcotics.

The Head of Europol’s cybercrime centre, Troels Oerting, said that the operation had taken down a large percentage of illegal networks, but warned that black market websites are easily created and have “mushroomed” recently.

According to Europol, approximately 400 sites and domains linked to child pornography, weapons, and contract killing were shut down yesterday.

“They had set up complete business models, just like any web shop. They display what they sell; drugs, weapons, stolen credit cards. People paid and they delivered by the mailman,” explained Oerting. “There was even a ranking system for reliable suppliers,” he added.

The illegal marketplaces used Tor, an anonymous network which is able to mask a user’s IP address.

“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,” said Oerting.


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