Operation Onymous, the joint attack against dark markets in Tor

Pierluigi Paganini November 07, 2014

Operation Onymous – Law enforcement and judicial agencies around the globe conducted a joint action against dark markets on Tor networks.

This morning I have reported the news of the seizure for the underground black market Silk Road 2.0 and the arrest of its alleged manager, Defcon” Benthall. In reality, the shutdown of Silk Road 2.0 is just a part of a larger operation, dubbed the operation Onymous, conducted by law enforcement around the globe that has targeted dozens of underground marketplaces, which facilitate the sale of illegal goods and services like drugs and weapons.

The Operation Onymous is considerable a milestone in the fight against the underground black markets as explained by Troels Oerting, Head of the Europen Cybercrime Center (EC3).

“Today we have demonstrated that, together, we are able to efficiently remove vital criminal infrastructures that are supporting serious organised crime. And we are not ‘just’ removing these services from the open Internet; this time we have also hit services on the Darknet using Tor where, for a long time, criminals have considered themselves beyond reach. We can now show that they are neither invisible nor untouchable. The criminals can run but they can’t hide. And our work continues….”, says Troels Oerting.

The 6th of November 2014 will be remembered in the security community as one the shining days in the contrast to the cybercrime.

Operation Onymous

The seized marketplaces were operating on the “Dark Web” exploiting hidden services in the TOR network. The joint effort of Police in 17 countries allowed the arrest at least 17 marketplaces operators, administrators and sellers.

“The action aimed to stop the sale, distribution and promotion of illegal and harmful items, including weapons and drugs, which were being sold on online ‘dark’ marketplaces. Operation Onymous, coordinated by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the FBI, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Eurojust, resulted in 17 arrests of vendors and administrators running these online marketplaces and more than 410 hidden services being taken down. In addition, bitcoins worth approximately USD 1 million, EUR 180 000 euro in cash, drugs, gold and silver were seized.” reports the Europol. 

The Europol has coordinated the activities of Law enforcement agencies from Europe, the US and Canada, the cyber experts have seized the servers used by the criminal organizations to operate the illegal black markets. According first data on the operation, more than 400 .onion domains were targeted by the authorities that knocked offline popular services like Black Market, Blue Sky, Cannabis Road, Cloud Nine, Golden Nugget, Hidden Empire, Hydra, Pandora, RepAAA and  SR2.

Police also seized cash, bitcoin, drugs, gold and silver, in time I’m writing on the website targeted by law enforcement it is visible the following legal notice from the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security Investigations and European law enforcement agencies.

“This hidden site has been seized,”

Pierluigi Paganini

Security Affairs –  (operation Onymous, cybercrime)

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