German Police Takes Down Hydra, the World’s Largest Underground Marketplace

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Germany’s Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) announced the shutdown on April 5 of Hydra, one of the world’s most notorious Russian dark web marketplaces.

Since its emergence in 2015, the illegal marketplace is said to have had around 17 million customers and over 19,000 registered seller accounts. It sold everything from narcotics, forged documents and troves of stolen data to hacking services, amounting to at least 1.23 billion euros in sales in 2020.

“Hydra Market was probably the illegal marketplace with the highest turnover worldwide,” the law enforcement agency said in a press release. “In particular, the Bitcoin Bank Mixer, a service for obfuscating digital transactions provided by the platform, made crypto investigations extremely difficult for law enforcement agencies.”

Hydra Marketplace Homepage (Source BKA)

Following the takedown of the platform, German police also seized 543 bitcoins, worth about 23 million euros. Investigators offered no additional information on any arrests of Hydra operators.

The dark web is home to similar underground marketplaces specialized in selling stolen personal information, credit cards and other compromised data.

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