European and US authorities have conducted raids over the weekend, seizing 27 websites and arresting 16 people in an order to target illegal black market servicing websites.
US authorities claim that this global project was the largest law enforcement action completed targeted directly at what is known as the “Tor network” – a scheme which gives users anonymity in the form of masking IP addresses. Originally created by the US Navy, Tor has since been utilized by black market specialists, human rights activists and other criminals for various projects at their will.
The total haul is said by Europol to include $1 million USD worth of Bitcoin, €180,000 in cash, silver, gold and narcotics and span a total of 18 countries. The original reports claimed that a total of 410 websites were seized, but was later confirmed to be a total of 27 URLs including services for child pornography, illegal arms and mercenaries.
All of this news has come to light just one day after New York prosecutors charged 26-year-old Blake Benthall – the alleged owner of Silk Road 2.0. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering and other smaller criminal claims.
This operation has been said by Torels Oerting, the head of Europol’s cyber crime center, to be a major blow to the online black market. He explained that the raids have proven that these criminals are not totally anonymous or untouchable, hinting that Europol will be carrying out similar procedures in the near future.
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