Nine suspects have been arrested in a major police operation against operators and users of illegal platforms on Internet.
Who is investigation directed against?
Investigators target suspected operators and users of various German-language Internet forums of so-called underground economy (UE, literally: underground economy). Investigation was conducted by Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) and Federal Criminal Police Office. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, a total of 69 apartments and company premises were searched at home and abroad and nine suspects were arrested.
Where do the suspects come from?
Focus of investigation is in Germany,as confirmed by Frankfurt Chief Prosecutor Alexander Badle. The raid took place almost nationwide in twelve German states. However, it was also investigated abroad, namely in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Switzerland, France,Netherlands, Lithuania and Russia. Eight of nine arrests were made in Germany. However, suspected main operator of a total of three UE forums is a 27-year-old Bosnian national who was arrested in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
What are the operators accused of?
The forums traded weapons and drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy. However, it also appeared to be fake IDs, counterfeit money and spied data on offer, including credit card and online banking data and "hacked" access to various internet services. In addition, forums offered criminal services, such as infection of computers with malware, instructions on how to commit crimes and illegal streaming services.
What is the "Darknet" and accessing the dark web?
The Internet and World Wide Web are actually designed as open services where anyone can exchange data with anyone. In "Darknet" (Dark Net) as in a kind of parallel universe, shielded connections are made, which cannot be easily accessed from outside. You usually need an invitation to accessing the dark web.
How did the Darknet develop?
Traditionally, there is a close link between illegal exchanges and accessing the dark web. Today, stolen access to video services such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as stolen credit card numbers or PayPalaccesses, are also offered there. However, current raid also shows that in remote corner of Internet, serious crimes such as illegal drug or arms trade are also at stake.
How does this technically work?
Many users use "Tor" network to access "net of darkness". However, "Tor" is also used by those who have a perfectly legitimate interest in protected communication, such as human rights activists or users in unjust states. "Tor" stands for "The Onion Router" and is offered as free open software, with which one can search a winding path through thousands of computers of volunteers. The data is encased by one encryption after another and freed again, hence name comparison with onion (onion). Monitors can hardly reconstruct where call to a particular website came from.