Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

If you think you are safe to perform illegal activity on dark web, Think again.
That’s the message from Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, following a major shutdown of two dark web sites pedaling illegal drugs and illegal products across the globe, including 150 arrests in eight countries.
In a comprehensive coordinated effort, police around the world, 150 alleged suspects were arrested who were allegedly involved in tens of thousands of sales of illegal goods on the dark web.
The Dark Web is an encrypted network that uses the Internet but requires specific software to access.  It is designed to ensure the anonymity of the user.
The Dark Web is an encrypted network that uses the Internet but requires specific software to access. It is designed to ensure the anonymity of the user. (AAP)

The Australian Federal Police were involved in the operation, including crucial work that laid the foundation for the global plug, but no arrests were made in Australia.

Police working on Operation Dark HunTOR seized more than $ 41 million in cash and cryptocurrencies, 234 kilos substances and 45 arms.

The seized drugs included 152 kg of amphetamine, 27 kg of opioids and more than 25,000 ecstasy pills.

Operation Dark HunTOR arose from the landmark takeover in January of Dark Market, the world’s largest illegal marketplace on the dark web at the time, which was allegedly run by a 34-year-old Australian man, who was arrested near the German-Danish border.

Following the Australian’s arrest, triggered by an AFP investigation, German authorities took control of the Dark Market site and its infrastructure and provided investigators around the world with a wealth of evidence.

AFP had “established the residence of European-based Australian citizens” who acted as administrators of the Dark Market, an AFP spokesman told 9News.com.au.

Since then, Europol’s European Cybercrime Center has been steadily gathering intelligence to identify key targets.

That work led to today’s arrest of 150 sellers and buyers in the United States, Germany, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Bulgaria.

A number of suspects are considered by Europol to be “high value targets”.

During the operation, the Italian authorities closed DeepSea and Berlusconi’s dark web sites, which together boasted over 100,000 lists of illegal products.

Four administrators were arrested and $ 5.5 million in cryptocurrencies were seized.

Europol’s Jean-Philippe Lecouffe said Operation Dark HunTOR had given dark web criminals a serious logistical and psychological blow.

“The point of operations like the one today is to make criminals operating on the dark web aware,” he said.

“The law enforcement community has the means and global partnerships to detect them and hold them accountable for their illegal activities, even in areas of the dark web.”

The dark web is a part of the Internet that is not visible to search engines and requires the use of an anonymizing browser called Tor to be accessed.
The dark web is a part of the Internet that is not visible to search engines and requires the use of an anonymizing browser called Tor to be accessed. (Getty Images / Cultura RF)

AFP’s involvement in Operation Dark HunTOR included “conducting search warrants and conducting investigations into the sale of illicit drugs” in Australia through the darknet, an AFP spokesman told 9News.com.au.

The spokesman confirmed that investigations conducted by AFP Cybercrime Operations resulted in AFP executing search orders in Queensland in January 2021 and September 2021 in collaboration with alleged Australian-based Dark Market administrators.

Investigations are underway.

The Dark Web is an encrypted network that uses the Internet but requires specific software to access.

It is designed to ensure the anonymity of the user.

The dark network’s easy access and encryption software have made it an attractive tool for criminals, including drug dealers, counterfeiters, scammers, pedophiles and terrorists.

Software to access the dark web can be downloaded from the normal web.

Once on the dark web, users can find sites and services through a browser similar to the normal web, or through instructions from other users.

The boom in cryptocurrency is also driving an increasing number to the dark web.

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