An international law enforcement operation has resulted in the closure of what Europol is calling the world's largest illegal marketplace on the dark web.
DarkMarket, which boasted almost 500,000 users, was taken offline following a joint effort between authorities in Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, through the National Crime Agency, and the United States, including the FBI. Europol said it supported Germany in coordinating the cross-border collaborative effort that involved international partners.
In a statement, Europol said the more than 2,400 sellers on the marketplace mainly traded drugs and sold counterfeit money, stolen or counterfeit credit card details, anonymous SIM cards, and malware.
It said DarkMarket processed over 320,000 transactions, with more than 4,650 bitcoin and 12,800 monero transferred on the underground marketplace, totalling roughly €140 million -- a little over $170 million.
An Australian citizen was arrested in the German city of Oldenburg by the Central Criminal Investigation Department at the weekend. It is alleged the 34-year old Australian man is the operator of DarkMarket.
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, Europol said. The seized criminal infrastructure included more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine.
Probing the servers will likely result in further investigations of moderators, sellers, and buyers, Europol said.
'Operation Disruptor' involved agencies from nine countries and the seizure of over $6.5m in cash and cryptocurrencies as criminals warned law enforcement will track them down.
Fraudsters are selling fraudulent fraud guides to wannabee fraudsters.
Four threat intel firms, Digital Shadows, Intel 471, Gemini Advisory, and Kela, said the disruption was temporary.