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Friday, 21 July 2017 11:26

Biggest dark web marketplace taken down


The biggest criminal marketplace on the dark web has been taken down through a co-ordinated operation launched by authorities in the US, the Netherlands, Thailand, Lithuania, Canada, the UK, France and Europol.

The US Justice Department announced on Thursday that AlphaBay, which had been selling illegal drugs, stolen and fraudulent IDs, counterfeit goods, malware, hacking tools, firearms and toxic chemicals, had been put out of operation.

The man who ran AlphaBay, Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen living in Thailand, was arrested by Thai authorities on 5 July. He apparently committed suicide on 12 July.

Public information on AlphaBay prior to its takedown indicated that that were more than 200,000 users and 40,000 vendors using the site.

By comparison, the Silk Road website, which was taken down in November 2013, had about 14,000 listings for illicit goods and services at the time of its takedown and was the largest dark web marketplace at the time.

US attorney-general Jeff Sessions said: "This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year – taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history.

“Make no mistake, the forces of law and justice face a new challenge from the criminals and transnational criminal organisations who think they can commit their crimes with impunity using the dark net.

"The dark net is not a place to hide. The Department will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate criminals, drug traffickers and their enablers wherever they are. We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting vulnerable people and sending so many Americans to an early grave."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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