News broke yesterday that two major law enforcement operations, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Dutch National Police, with the support of Europol, have shut down the infrastructure of an underground criminal economy responsible for the trading of over 350,000 illicit commodities including drugs, firearms and cybercrime malware.
The coordinated law enforcement action in Europe and the US ranks as one of the most sophisticated takedown operations ever seen in the fight against criminal activities online. Lee Musnon, Security Researcher at comparitech.com commented below.
Lee Musnon, Security Researcher at comparitech.com:
“The taking down of AlphaBay and Hansa raises several points, both good and bad.
On the positive side, it demonstrates a great deal of co-operation, not only between Dutch law enforcement and Europol, but also various agencies within the US too, the latter of which is not so common.
Also, the shutting down of a site trading in illicit goods will undoubtedly save lives, both through the reduction in offensive weapons being sold and in the decrease of hard-core drugs finding their way to vulnerable people.
Lastly, the fact that the sites were monitored by the authorities for a month should lead to several arrests and further disruption to the type of business being done.
On the flip side, the fact that young teenagers could navigate their way to the dark web to buy drugs with which they later overdosed should serve as a reminder that the internet is not without its dangers.”