"Darkmarket" With this banner, the public prosecutor welcomes visitors to the "Darkmarket" page on the darknet.
Police detain the suspected operator of Darkmarket near the german-Danish border. Drugs and other illegal items worth EUR 140 million are said to have been traded in the marketplace.
Last Saturday, the world of administrators of the online drug darknet marketplace "Darkmarket" was still in order. There was something to celebrate. One of the site's managers wrote in a discussion forum: "We have reached 500,000 users. On behalf of the entire team, we would like to thank you for your support." Customers congratulated the administrators and thanked them.
But police officers also read along. Just a day later, officers arrested the suspected operator of the site, a 34-year-old Australian, near the german-Danish border. On Monday, the Koblenz Public Prosecutor's Office took over the darknet page and shut down the servers.
Whoever approached the site on the Darknet that part of the Internet where you can move anonymously on Tuesday saw only a confiscation banner of the prosecutor's office in this case in turn with a message to the criminals: On the right side of the banner, the investigators placed a fly clapper hitting a purple-black fly. The fly was the logo of the darknet marketplace, which offered drugs, counterfeit money, stolen or fake credit card details, anonymous sim cards and malware. Greeting from the police to the customers of the darknet marketplace: The fly that is being smashed here was the logo of the platform "Darkmarket".
The opinion of the National Central Office Cybercrime of the Prosecutor General's Office in Koblenz is somewhat more sober. She speaks of a "great investigative success" in the fight against illegal markets on the darknet. Darkmarket was "probably the largest such site on the net." At least 320,000 transactions were handled through the darknet marketplace, more than 4650 bitcoin and 12,800 Monero both of which are digital currencies had changed hands. This equates to a sum of around 140 million euros at current prices.
The culprit was the cyber bunker where investigators found the darkmarket data
As is so often the case, a broad international coalition of prosecutors has cooperated in the Darkmarket investigation. In addition to authorities from the USA and Australia, the police in Denmark, the Netherlands, Moldova and Ukraine were also involved. In the two Eastern European countries, it appears that part of the criminals' server infrastructure was located. It was seized by investigators. This is not good news for hundreds of thousands of customers and about 2400 sellers of the platform.
At the discussion forum on the Darkweb, customers discuss whether they need to worry. Jörg Angerer, public prosecutor in charge of the national central office Cybercrime, says: Yes. "If we have the data, and this is the case here, then we have a chance to find buyers as well. Unless the buyers have not made a single mistake." This is extremely rare, as the history of the darknet markets teaches. However, the prosecutor's office still has a lot of work to do, Angerer says. The data on the servers must first be decrypted, which takes a lot of time.
The public prosecutor's office had been investigating since mid-May 2020. The reference to the illegal darknet marketplace came from a different procedure. Darkmarket had temporarily stored its data at the so-called cyber bunker in Traben-Trarbach. The operators of the former NATO bunker were arrested in September 2019 and are currently on trial in Trier.
In a darknet forum, meanwhile, many regret the end for Darkmarket. In a post that reads like a death notice, condolences gather. One wrote: "We will not forget you, thank you for everything."