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21 July 2017, 12:40 | Kristen Gross
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Comparatively, Silk Road, the largest dark webmarketplace before Alpha Bay, which was seized in November 2013, had reportedly approximately 14,000 listings for illicit goods and services at the time of seizure, the department said.
The AlphaBay and Hansa websites had been used to trade illegal drugs, firearms, malware, stolen and fraudulent identity documents and more.
"With the help of Bitdefender, an internet security company advising Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Europol provided Dutch authorities with an investigation lead into Hansa in 2016".
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.
This allowed Dutch police to monitor the activity of users without their knowledge. Similar to Cazes' fate, the found of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested after law enforcement traced one of his accounts to a public email address. Frequent AlphaBay users were concerned that the shutdown was an "exit scam", in which a market owner takes the money and runs.
"By acting together on a global basis the law enforcement community has sent a clear message that we have the means to identify criminality and strike back, even in areas of the dark web". "We will find and prosecute drug traffickers who set up shop there".
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.
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U.S. and European investigators collaborated for months on the takedown, which saw AlphaBay and Hansa - together responsible for more than 350,000 "illicit commodities" - first infiltrated and then taken offline.
During the press conference, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein echoed these sentiments and warned prospective dark net customers and traders that Tor would not necessarily shield their identities. He was later found dead in his cell; officials said it was an apparent suicide. Another darknet marketplace, called Hansa, was shut down Thursday as part of the worldwide operation. He confirmed that the site's administrators were arrested as part of the takedown, who attempted to use "anonymizing techniques" to try and hide their identities and locations, and revealing that required additional assistance from other law enforcement agencies.
The way that the police operation was rolled out appeared created to give police as many new leads as possible.
Dark net markets enable large-scale trading in chiefly illegal goods, such as drugs, weapons, child pornography, and ransom software.
Prosecutors said AlphaBay didn't disguise the fact that its activities violated many laws. "Some 10 000 foreign addresses of Hansa market buyers were passed on to Europol".
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