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Kingdom Market Shutdown: German Police Strike Darknet | #cybercrime | #infosec | #hacking | #aihp


German law enforcement agencies have successfully taken down Kingdom Market, a notorious darknet marketplace serving as a hub for illegal goods and services. The Kingdom Market shutdown, part of an internationally coordinated effort, saw the seizure of the marketplace’s server infrastructure spread across multiple countries.

Kingdom Market Shutdown: Operation Details and Server Seizure

The joint operation on Kingdom Market shutdown, led by the Frankfurt am Main Public Prosecutor’s Office – Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT) – and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), began on December 16, 2023.

Law enforcement authorities from the United States, Switzerland, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine collaborated closely with German agencies during the investigation.

Announcing the success of the Kingdom Market shutdown on social media, the BKA tweeted, “Strike against cybercriminals: The #BKA has shut down the darknet platform ‘Kingdom Market’ as part of an international operation. Over 42,000 criminal offers ranging from drugs to malware are no longer available.”

Source: Twitter

The Kingdom Market shutdown highlights the effectiveness of international coordination in combating organized cybercrime. The seized server infrastructure is currently under evaluation as authorities work to identify and apprehend those responsible for operating the illegal marketplace.

Kingdom Market: A Darknet Hub for Illicit Trade

Since March 2021, Kingdom Market has been in operation as an English-language platform accessible through the Tor network and the Invisible Internet Project (I2P). This marketplace featured an extensive range of illegal products, encompassing drugs, malware, counterfeit documents, and criminal services. German law enforcement disclosed that the platform hosted over 42,000 products, with around 3,600 originating from Germany.

The site had tens of thousands of customer accounts and several hundred seller accounts, underscoring the extensive scope of its illicit activities. The unlawful transactions on Kingdom Market were executed using various cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, and Zcash. The operators of this darknet marketplace imposed a 3% commission on the sales of illegal items, contributing to the overall profitability of their criminal enterprise.

Parallel Takedown: ALPHV/Blackcat Ransomware Gang

This takedown follows another significant operation earlier in the week when the FBI seized the website of the AlphV/Blackcat ransomware gang. The group’s affiliates had compromised over 1,000 organizations, extracting nearly US$300 million in ransom payments.

Despite the FBI’s intervention, doubts linger about the hackers’ claim of regaining control over the seized website, with cybersecurity experts suggesting that the apparent online revival could be attributed to the onion service nature of the site, accessible only through the Tor network.

The ongoing investigation into the seized server infrastructure of Kingdom Market highlights the commitment of law enforcement to combatting cybercriminal activities on a global scale.

Media Disclaimer: This report is based on internal and external research obtained through various means. The information provided is for reference purposes only, and users bear full responsibility for their reliance on it. The Cyber Express assumes no liability for the accuracy or consequences of using this information.

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