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

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

AlphaBay was about 10 times the size of Silk Road, the infamous dark web marketplace that United States authorities shut down in 2013 after arresting its creator, who was later convicted and given two life sentences.

Authorities say the operation, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Dutch police, shut down infrastructure belonging to the networks AlphaBay and Hansa, according to a press release from Europol.

The US Department of Justice announced on Thursday that AlphaBay, the world's largest online black market, was seized and shut down after its creator was arrested in Thailand on July 5.

"This case, pursued by dedicated agents and prosecutors, says you are not safe", Sessions said at a press conference announcing the takedown. "You can not hide. We will find you, dismantle your organization and network, and we will prosecute you", he said.

Both Sessions and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ducked those questions, instead focusing on the bust.

Wainwright said the investigation had resulted in the identification of numerous organized crime figures and that intelligence leads have been distributed to law enforcement in 37 countries around the world. Dark net users assume Tor will protect their ID but that's not always true, he said.

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.

"Hundreds of sites on the network still enable a vast amount of criminal activity". In recent years, as police have shuttered one market, another has popped up to take its place.

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He said: "We have learned a lot over the years about taking down global criminal syndicates, and that same experience applies to organizations that are facilitated on the dark net". "What we have seen in the past is that people move around". "There is always a new player waiting in the wings ready to fill those shoes".

Dark web users, meanwhile, were rattled by the sting, advising each other to change their passwords as soon as possible, and spreading paranoid warnings of a possible "backdoor" into dark net markets.

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

"The so-called anonymity of the dark web is illusory", said Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg of the DEA.

"There are more of these operations to come", a Europol official stated.

Law enforcement leaders called security practices of Cazes sloppy, which led to his arrest. But what no one knew is Hansa, one of two major cryptomarkets users fled to after AlphaBay went down on July 4, has been secretly under the control of the Dutch government since June.

Hansa was frequently mentioned, meaning that the authorities were likely able to uncover new criminal activity on Hansa as users migrated to it from AlphaBay.

On the now defunct AlphaBay, for instance, researchers found 414 arms-related advertisements among the website's almost 37,000 listings during a one-week span last September, making it the most popular dark web marketplace in terms of gun ads before it abruptly shuttered July 4.



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