A joint law enforcement operation has managed to seize hundreds of Dark Web domains that have been associated with over a dozen black market websites. On top of taking and shutting domains, various products such as computers, drugs, weapons, and gold were seized.
The operation was revealed on Thursday, which involved the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Europol, and the Department of Homeland Security. Called Operation Onymous, the joint venture resulted in the arrest of 17 people that included Silk Road 2’s alleged operator, Blake Benthall, in San Francisco. Benthall is accused of running the new Silk Road under the handle “Defcon” for the past year after the original Silk Road website was taken down by the FBI.
“Blake Benthall’s arrest ends his status as the alleged administrator of a website that allows illicit black-market activities to evolve and expand, and provides a safe haven for illegal vices,” said HSI Executive Associate Director Peter Edge. “HSI will continue to work in partnership with its federal and international law enforcement partners around the world to hold criminals who use anonymous Internet software for illegal activities who seek to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to carry out illegal activities accountable for their actions.”
Aside from the arrests, 414 .onion domains, which are web addresses used by Tor software that provides anonymity to Internet users, were taken down which includes drug sites such as Cloud 9 and Hydra. The task force also took down contraband markets like Cannabis Road, Black Market, Pandora, and Blue Sky. Money laundering sites were also scooped up that includes Cash Machine Golden Nugget, and Fast Cash. According to reports, over $1 million in Bitcoin and $250,000 in cash along with computers, gold, silver, drugs, and weapons were seized from criminal suspects.
However, despite the takedown of so many sites, only half of the most popular Tor-based sites were taken down. Agora, Evolution, and Andromeda are still online and active for the sellers and buyers to relocate to and continue selling mostly illegal items and services.
(Image Source: iCLIPART)