150 suspects, including four Dutchmen, have been arrested in a large-scale action against trade in underground marketplaces. No less than 26.7 million euros was seized.
This is confirmed by the European police organization Europol after an investigation by the investigative journalistic platform Pointer (KRO-NCRV). Whereas Europol previously focused on tackling the managers of this type of illegal marketplaces, the latest operations have shown that buyers and sellers are in the running. The operation seized 45 firearms, more than 26.7 million euros in cash and cryptocurrencies and 234 kilograms of drugs.
According to Rolf van Wegberg, cybercrime researcher at TU Delft, there is a trend break: “Where these operations previously focused on arresting managers of these types of marketplaces and confiscating the infrastructure, we see that police services are now focus on arresting the top sellers.”
Four Dutch top sellers
Marjolein Ruitenbeek of the Dutch Police says in a response that “the two largest Dutch accounts on DarkMarket have been investigated on the basis of the information from Europol.” This underground marketplace was shut down earlier this year and was the largest illegal online marketplace on the internet at the time. “We have arrested two people from the account with the name Dutch Magic and also two from the account with the name Sankhara,” said the police spokesperson. “New information from Europol offers opportunities for further investigation.”
The dark web is an encrypted part of the internet that cannot be found with regular search engines or can be visited with regular web browsers. “The dark web is interesting for criminals because it enables a global market where buyers and sellers can trade illegal goods on an anonymous basis,” said researcher Van Wegberg. According to him, previous actions aimed at the infrastructure had insufficient effect. “The top sellers just continued on the marketplace that was still online.”
Europol’s deputy executive director of operations, Jean-Philippe Lecouffe admits: “The point of operations like this is to warn criminals who use the dark web.” has to “expose cybercriminals and hold them accountable for their actions.” “The dark web is no longer a safe place for criminals to hide.”
According to Europol, the 150 arrested were involved in the trade in tens of thousands of goods in Europe and the United States. Of the detainees, 65 came from the United States, 47 from Germany, 24 from the United Kingdom, four from the Netherlands, three from France, two from Switzerland and one from Bulgaria.
The operation was coordinated by Europol and Eurojust and follows the collapse of DarkMarket, the then largest illegal online marketplace on the internet, earlier this year. That illegal marketplace had nearly 500,000 users and more than 2,400 sellers, dealing in drugs, counterfeit money, stolen credit card information, anonymous SIM cards and malicious software. In total, more than 140 million euros would have been spent on the platform, in digital currencies such as bitcoin and the anonymous monero.
Scientist Rolf van Wegberg previously researched another illegal marketplace and discovered that the Dutch played an important role in the illegal trade in ecstasy. “We then looked at who advertises ecstasy from the Netherlands or who sends it from the Netherlands. He emphasizes: ,,At least one third of the total supply seemed to come from the Netherlands, while that is a world market! I could not name another product in which the Netherlands controls a third of world trade. That’s unique. We probably have to look in that corner with regard to the Dutch who have been designated as suspects.”
What exactly is the dark web? And how does it work? View the explanation of Rolf van Wegberg of TU Delft:
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Four Dutchmen arrested in rolling up underground marketplaces | Tech
Source link Four Dutchmen arrested in rolling up underground marketplaces | Tech