A global fight between law enforcement and Darknet marketplace operators is taking place right now. Operation Hyperion, one of the largest anti-deep web campaigns in operation right now, successfully shut down a few marketplaces. Residing on Tor to conduct business is become more and more difficult with the increased attention by government officials.
Operation Hyperion Shuts Down More Tor Markets
Things have not been going swell for darknet vendors and marketplaces in 2016. German officials have arrested several people in recent weeks. The new global offensive against illegal darknet activity took place between October 22 and 28. Said joint venture, called Operation Hyperion, was a collaboration between the US, UK, Europe, and other countries.
During this large-scale attack against the Tor marketplaces, several deep web platforms were shut down. Most of these platforms sold drugs, hacking services, weapons, and stolen identities. No specific numbers were released at the time of writing, but all parties involved seem pleased with the outcome.
We do know quite a few arrests were made in The Netherlands. Government officials are all too aware of active vendors across the Dark markets, and several of them have been arrested already. They also posted a small list of darknet buyers, whom they have allegedly identified. Moreover, they also revealed where these customers are active, as a scaring tactic.
It is evident law enforcement agencies all over the world want to step up their darknet market presence. Shutting down these marketplaces is their primary objective, even though operating such a platform is not illegal. If the administrators allow for illegal trades and do nothing about it, that situation changes dramatically.
One thing to keep in mind is how Tor is not to blame for deep web activity. It is still up to individual user behavior, which is not influenced by the technology itself. Tor gives greater possibilities, but people are the ones abusing the opportunity. Unfortunately, the reports related to Tor-based criminal activity far outweigh the positive use cases right now.
This news highlights alternative solutions have to be found. People who want to use Tor are a constant target, even if they rely on it for legitimate reasons. Those running a darknet marketplace may want to think twice before relying solely on Tor these days. It appears law enforcement agencies know all too well how to identify deep web users.
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