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German police shut down dark web marketplace Kingdom Market | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

The German Federal Criminal Police Office, with support from various international law enforcement agencies, has seized Kingdom Market, a dark web marketplace that was selling drugs, malware, stolen data and forged documents.

Founded in 2021, Kingdom Market was primarily used to trade illegal narcotics. The site had over 42,000 listings as of the time it was taken down, with hundreds of sellers and tens of thousands of customers registered as users.

Users on the darknet marketplace used cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero and Zcash to pay for illicit goods, with the operators receiving a 3% commission payment for processing sales via the platform. According to a press release from German police, the operators of Kingdom Market are accused of operating a criminal trading platform on the internet and of illicit trafficking of narcotics.

Helping in the operation were law enforcement authorities from the U.S., Switzerland, Moldova and Ukraine. U.S. authorities assisting include the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation agency, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Bleeping Computer reported today that there is one arrest confirmed as part of the takedown, that of Alan Bill, a Slovakian national who held an administrator role on Kingdom Market under the user names of “KingdomOfficial” and “Vend0r.” Bill was charged on Dec. 14 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on charges of drug trafficking, identity theft and money laundering conspiracies.

Although the Kingdom Market dark web marketplace has been taken offline, other forums will take its place. It’s also conceivable that the takedown may only be temporary: Similar forums have risen from the dead before after supposedly being taken offline in law enforcement operations.

“While we should applaud this cross-border and multiagency operation, the modern-day disruption of cybercrime’s infrastructure and even arrests of some identifiable cyber gang’s members is rarely sufficient,” Dr. Ilia Kolochenko, chief executive officer and chief architect at security company ImmuniWeb SA and adjunct professor of cybersecurity and cyber law at Capital Technology University, told SiliconANGLE.

“For example, a considerable number of seized hacking forums or marketplaces resurrect almost intact a few weeks after the seizure under a similar or new identity,” Kolochenko explained. “Illicit trade continues, while new admins and operators of underground resources take even better precautions to hinder investigations by law enforcement.”

Kolochenko added that amid the global geopolitical uncertainty, many cybercrime groups safely operate with impunity from jurisdictions from which they can’t be extradited. “Without a global convention against cybercrime that would be ratified by the vast majority of United Nations member states, for example, battle against organized cybercrime will resemble fighting a hydra: You cut off one head, two grow back in its place,” he said.

Image: German police/Kingdom Market

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