Dark net markets AlphaBay and Hansa shut after huge global police sting

Justice Department announces takedown of AlphaBay, the largest dark web market

Justice Department announces takedown of AlphaBay, the largest dark web market

AlphaBay and Hansa - two of the largest "dark web" marketplaces for illegal and illicit items such as drugs and guns - have been shut down, the US Justice Department said on Thursday.

"We know of several Americans who were killed by drugs on AlphaBay", Sessions said.

AlphaBay had 200,000 members and 40,000 vendors who posted over 100,000 listings for stolen identification documents, access devices, and hacking tools, along with 250,000 listings for illegal drugs.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the action was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA ), with law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and the Europol participating in the operation.

He said: "We are keenly aware there will be another Alpha Bay, but with each investigation we learn more".

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The dark web, or dark net, is part of the internet only accessible using special software, servers, and authorizations. "The Silk Road used to be the biggest dark web market place, then it got shutdown".

U.S. security officials claimed a major victory on Thursday as two of the so-called dark web's largest marketplaces were shut down.

Police identified the physical-world location of the Hansa marketplace on 20 June, and have been working covertly for a month to collect information about the marketplace's users before shutting it down on Thursday.

He also confirmed that the intelligence collected through the monitoring of Hansa has given law enforcement new insight into the criminal activity of the dark net, including many of its many leading figures. "You can not hide. We will find you".

The suspect - Alexandre Cazes (25) - was arrested in Thailand earlier this month, and is reported to have died in custody the same day AlphaBay "went dark". "We will find and prosecute drug traffickers who set up shop there, and this case is a great example of our commitment to doing exactly that".

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In this instance, users of AlphaBay took to online forums like 4chan to discuss potential alternative dark web marketplaces, when Hansa's name was mentioned.

AlphaBay went offline around the same time as the arrest. "We face many challenges and require global assistance to overcome those challenges".

With Hansa also shuttered as of Thursday, the dark web looks substantially diminished from just a few short weeks ago-and its denizens shaken by law enforcement's deep intrusion into their underground economy.

Users of such marketplaces use digital currencies like bitcoin and monero to buy and sell anonymously, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in its announcement that it had seized "millions of dollars' worth of cryptocurrencies" from the site.

Researchers based their report on investigations into 18 websites that operate on the dark web, the portion of the web not indexed by search engines and meant to be accessed with specialized software that makes it hard to identify their operators and visitors.

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