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Germany shuts down servers for Russian darknet marketplace Hydra

Germany shuts down servers for Russian darknet marketplace Hydra

Germany's Federal Crime Police Office (BKA) announced Tuesday (via Bleeping Computer), German authorities shut down the server infrastructure for Russian darknet marketplace Hydra, costing €23 million (~$25.2 million USD) in the process. dollars) cost. USD) confiscated bitcoins.

Hydra is a large marketplace on the dark web that serves as a hub for drugs, stolen credit card information, counterfeit bills, counterfeit documents, and other illegal goods or services. The market mainly caters to criminals in Russia and surrounding countries. "Treasurers," or dealers attached to the site, hide drugs in geo-tagged pickup locations and push them across the area.

With the closure of the German-based server, authorities are now launching an investigation into the "unknown operators and administrators" of Hydra, whom they suspect to be involved in narcotics sales and money laundering. German officials say they have been investigating the market with the help of the US since August 2021. BKA told The Verge that no arrests have been made yet.

In response to the shutdown, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that it has approved Hydra and Russian cryptocurrency exchange Garantex. The US is also working to identify more than 100 cryptocurrency addresses linked to the illegal market.

"Our action today sends a message to criminals that you cannot hide on the Darknet or their forums, and you cannot hide in Russia or anywhere else in the world," Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said. “In coordination with allies and partners such as Germany and Estonia, we will continue to disrupt these networks.”

With nearly 17 million customer accounts and 19,000 vendors, Germany's BKA and the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) say Hydra's turnover rate is the highest of any illegal market in the world, estimated at approximately €1.23 billion (about €1.23 billion). approximately €1.23 billion). ~$1.35 million USD). ) alone in 2020. German authorities note that tracking cryptocurrency transactions on Hydra is particularly difficult due to a crypto-hidden service called Bitcoin Bank Mixer.

Last year, German authorities shut down darknet marketplace Darkmarket, which had about half a million users at the time. Authorities around the world have long been trying to crack down on illegal markets, shutting down the Silk Road, Wall Street Market and Alphabay for years.

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