Latest in Gear

Image credit:

US charges three Germans over massive dark web marketplace

Wall Street Market easily eclipsed other digital black markets.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 3, 2019
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

weiXx via Getty Images

The US just made a dark web bust that makes AlphaBay's 400,000-user peak seem modest by comparison. Federal prosecutors have charged three unnamed Germans for allegedly operating Wall Street Market, a dark web marketplace that sold drugs, counterfeits and hacking software to more than 1.15 million customers. The trio reportedly maintained the site, including transactional chats, forums and financial transactions.

A fourth man, Brazilian citizen Marcos Paulo De Oliveira-Annibale, has also been charged for serving as a moderator who settled vendor disputes and served as the public representative (albeit anonymously). Germany has filed its own set of charges against its three residents.

The arrests came through a combination of slip-ups and the operators effectively forcing authorities' hands. One defendant's anonymizing VPN connection failed, for instance, helping law enforcement pinpoint his whereabouts. Also, WSM's overseers apparently perpetrated an "exit scam" in April by funneling all of the marketplace's money (about $11 million) to their own accounts. Vendors discovered that they couldn't access their funds on April 16th, leading German police to conduct a string of arrests and search warrants.

This might not deter other dark web store operators. Sites like AlphaBay and Silk Road 2.0 were created in response to the shutdowns of earlier outlets, after all. It's still a big coup, though, and it's a reminder that the anonymity of the dark web doesn't prevent investigators from discovering bootleg stores.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
Xiaomi unveils a ridiculous see-through TV

Xiaomi unveils a ridiculous see-through TV

View
The last Blockbuster is hosting an Airbnb sleepover in September

The last Blockbuster is hosting an Airbnb sleepover in September

View
‘Red Dead Online’ is so broken it’s hilarious

‘Red Dead Online’ is so broken it’s hilarious

View
Will QLC SSDs make hard drives extinct?

Will QLC SSDs make hard drives extinct?

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr