FBI, Israeli Police Shut Down Bitcoin-Supported Darknet Listings Site
Israeli authorities and the U.S. Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) have detained at least two people and implicated others in a knockdown of a Bitcoin-supported dark web ecommerce site, as per two formal tweets by Israeli police on May 7. Two Israelis were detained on suspicion of establishing a “dark” website that facilitates purchase of guns, narcotics and robbed credit cards, according to Israeli authorities.
Police disclosed that a cross-border inquiry effectively identified many perpetrators who supposedly established and operated a darknet site — recognized in local press releases as Deep Dot Web — which was supposedly a resource to find illegal dark web marketplaces. Such listed locations offer illegal products, such as medicines, arms or stolen loan cards, suspected officers.
In a second tweet, the announcement continued to outline that:
“The owners of the site raked in millions of dollars through an ‘affiliate marketing’ method, thereby earning from every sale done through them. The payment for the transactions was carried out using bitcoin. The 2 suspects arrested in Israel will be brought before a judge for a hearing regarding their potential detention extension.”
During a joint operation by the FBI and Israel’s cyber-crime department, the suspects in their mid-30s were detained in domestic cities of Tel Aviv and Ashdod. More such arrests were produced by cross-border researchers in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Brazil, according to Israeli journal JPost and Tech Crunch. As stated, darknet marketplaces are viewed using facilities such as the Tor browser, which utilizes so-called onion routing — a technique for anonymous data sharing — to facilitate people to hide and bypass censorship by concealing their IP address.
“The suspects were arrested after setting up an Internet site that was in the’ dark’,” cops said in a communique. “The dark internet site was used for illegal activities and crimes. The site had been active for a long period of time and millions of dollars of transactions had been made on the site.”
Police pointed out that the site directed people to other investigated locations used for illegal operations and offenses.
“The sites worked together covering each other and marketing illegal actions and transactions,” authorities said, adding that payments were created using Bitcoin. The two perpetrators will be presented before a Tel Aviv tribunal.
The Deep Dot Web detention followed last week’s joint effort by German authorities and Europol to bring down Wall Street Market, a dark web marketplace. The operation ended in seizure of cash worth millions of dollars, cryptos valued in six figures, and other assets as well as detention of three Germans.
A fourth person supposedly acting as third-party intermediate and promoter was arrested in Brazil. While cryptocurrency and its legacy of use in darknet transactions came to limelight after the shutdown of the illicit marketplace Silk Road, a two-year research of the dark web ecosystem— released in February 2018 — stated that Bitcoin might lose its global appeal as the number one currency on darknet exchanges, allegedly owing to user anxieties with network congestion and transaction charges.