The Downfall Of Dark Web Marketplaces

Internet today is a vital part our daily lives and when we talk about the internet, our brain only thinks about the day-to-day activities — from watching a video to checking the news to booking a vacation online to killing time on social media. However, under the surface lies a dark corner of the web where terrorists, criminals, and whistleblowers lurk — the Dark Web.

Understanding The Web

The web is divided into three parts: Surface Web, Deep Web, and Dark Web. There was a lot of misconception regarding these terms. However, with time, as cybersecurity evolved, these terms have come to light.

Surface Web

Surface web is basically the things that we surf on the internet on a day-to-day basis or you can also say the websites that are indexed by the search engines. In the surface web, anyone can go to any website and grab information. Understanding the surface web is not a difficult task.

The most interesting thing here is that the surface web is consist of billions of websites, however, it is not more than 10% of the entire web. The internet is a massive place and there are places that many of us don’t know.

Deep Web

The second layer of the Web is the Deep web. It is that part of the internet, which is not visible to normal users. The websites and web pages on the deep web are not indexed by search engines, and these can only be accessed with prior permission from the authorized bodies. For example, cloud storages, personal data, and military data etc.

Dark Web

This layer I considered to be the most mysterious and dangerous. Dark web is basically home to all criminal and illegal activities on the internet — from drug dealing with arms dealing with hiring hitman. The Dark web can only be accessed using the onion routing or the TOR browser. However, it is always advised to stay away from the dark web as the activities there is shadowy and dangerous beyond imagination.

The Downfall Of The Dark Web

There was a time when Dark Web was creating a lot of nuisance. Criminals were having a strong hand on the dark web. Whether it’s about drugs or arms or murders, everything had links with the dark web. However, with time and as legal bodies started to intervene, things have come down normal and pushing dark web towards its downfall.

Here Are The Three Top Dark Web Marketplaces That Has Been Taken Down:

Silk Road

Silk Road is one of the most well know marketplace on the dark web. It was basically the internet’s haven for drug dealers, gun runners, and document forgers. Founded by a young libertarian, Ross Ulbricht, the bustling black market for drugs was also a crypto anarchist’s dream — a trusted trading ground on the Internet.

The marketplace was operated under a Tor hidden service. So, the communication on the website was completely anonymous. Also, in order to maintain anonymity,  every transaction on the Silk Road was done using bitcoin.

On 2 October 2013, Ulbricht’s dream of an online libertarian paradise came to an end as FBI arrested him in Glen Park Library, a branch of the San Francisco Public Library. At the time of his arrest, Ulbricht’s was logged into Silk Road as an administrator. Also, the FBI seized 26,000 bitcoins from accounts on Silk Road, worth approximately $3.6 million. And just a few hours after his arrest, Silk Road’s domain was seized, and the marketplace was shut down.

AlphaBay

AlphaBay is another shady dark web marketplace that offered weapons, drugs, and stolen identities and it was operating on the Tor network. The marketplace was initially launched in September 2014 and was gained good traction. AlphaBay was even placed as a top-tier market on the website of Gwern Branwen, writer & independent researcher. That is not all, it was even recognized as the largest online darknet market in October 2015. And by July 2017, AlphaBay was ten times the size of world-famous dark web marketplace, Silk Road.

But, in just like Silk Road, even AlphaBay faced the wrath. Following a “landmark” investigation involving law enforcement from around the world, the world’s largest markets on the dark web were shut down. Alexandre Cazes, who was believed to be the mastermind behind AlphaBay was arrested on July 5 in Thailand. And a week later, Cazes was found dead in a Thai jail.

When Cazes was arrested in Thailand, he was found performing an administrative reboot on an AlphaBay server using his laptop. Also, his laptop was completely unencrypted and contained a net worth statement mapping all global assets, which was later seized.

Hansa

Hansa was another well know dark web marketplace for all the vice. After the AlphaBay shut down, there were talks that Hansa would become the leading market. However, that didn’t happen as it was also been taken down.

On  July 20, 2017, the Dutch Police revealed that it had been compromised by law enforcement and had taken control of Hansa Market in June. The Dutch nation police also said that they had been operating the market since then, in order to track and monitor the vendors and customers. The interesting thing here is, in 2016, security shop Bitdefender tipped off the Dutch national police that is hosted in the Netherlands, and since then they started their investigation and found that two individuals were running the site as German nationals. They were also arrested in Germany and were accused of operating an illegal marketplace.

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