Authorities Shut Down Second Largest Dark Web Market, Arrest Alleged Operators

Technology > Security

Law enforcement units seized Wall Street Market (WSM), the second biggest Dark Web market, and arrested three of its alleged operators in Germany / Photo by: ResoneTIC via Pixabay

 

Law enforcement units seized Wall Street Market (WSM), the second biggest Dark Web market, and arrested three of its alleged operators in Germany.

TechRepublic reports that the arrests are the most recent development in a series of chaotic events involving the now-closed WSM, in which unidentified individuals who operate the site conducted an "exit scam" that was found to make more than $12.4 million in Bitcoins from the digital market's merchants.

The exit scam pushed a WSM moderator to blackmail the site's users, threatening them to expose their physical addresses, as well as leak evidence of illegal orders. Later on, that same moderator released WSM server information and backdoor admin credentials to the Dark Web. This led the police to take down the site and arrest three people who were believed to be the site's operators.

With the WSM's shut down, which came just a month following the announced takedown of another major Dark Web enterprise Dream Market, there is only one major player in the illegal online market scene: Tochka Market, as ZDNet points out.

TechRepublic says that in recent years, some other Dark Web markets have either vanished or have been shut down by authorities. These include Silk Road, Alpha Bay, and Hansa Market—well-known Dark Web markets.

The shutdown of WSM and other similar events are "good for business," the tech news site notes since it means a decrease in the number of stolen records that could be distributed and sold online.

However, the gradual death of the Dark Web doesn't necessarily mean businesses are safe from cybercriminals seeking to sell stolen data for a profit.

Recorded Future's director of data science Garth Griffin said keeping an eye on the Dark Web should be part of an organization's strategy to ensure security.

"Stolen data turns up in all kinds of places, some of which are Tor sites, but many of which also exist on the surface web," Griffin explained. "The wise threat intelligence team takes advantage of as much breadth of coverage as they can get their hands on to ensure they're covering all vectors, with Dark Web content being just one part of that picture."