Website data from dark web marketplace Hydra handed over to Ukrainian law enforcement
In April 2022, German authorities shut down the website of Hydra, the most prominent Russian-language marketplace for drugs and weapons on the Dark Web, and confiscated 543 bitcoins worth €23 million.
The Hydra marketplace was the highest-volume illegal trading platform in the world and had been operating for at least seven years. In 2020 alone, the site's sales reached at least €1.23 billion.
According to German security officials, the marketplace was not only engaged in brokering drug sales, but personal data and forged documents were also sold through the shady website.
During the course of the investigation, Hydra was found to have more than 17 million registered users from around the world, including 19,000 active sellers of illegal goods and services.
German security officials noted that U.S. intelligence agencies and some U.S. authorities were involved in the investigation, making the victory against the criminal site a showcase international operation.
The Hydra marketplace is allegedly the brainchild of a secret Kremlin agency, the Russians. The German and world media openly referred to it as "the Russian government's website".
The successful operation in Germany was quickly and unexpectedly continued in Ukraine.
Germany handed over to Ukrainian security forces materials obtained as a result of the seizure of the Hydra dark web marketplace, which allowed Ukraine to begin detaining citizens involved in Hydra's work, and arrests of those involved are now being made simultaneously in several Ukrainian cities. The arrests are already taking place simultaneously in several Ukrainian cities. This was reported by the Strategic Communications Office of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on its Telegram channel, citing an announcement by Politica.
Sources in the Interior Ministry said that this is only the first wave of actions by the security forces. The operatives intend to find out as soon as possible which Ukrainians are representing the interests of the Hydra website in the country, and in which areas these interests are manifested. "Hydra sells drugs, forged documents and stolen data in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and the group that operates the site in Ukraine (particularly in Kiev) is very important and well organized.
Money laundering through Hydra servers is of particular interest to the investigation as proceeds of crime. The journalist added that money laundering from "various sources" was carried out through the site's servers, and that the resource also provided services for the sale of false documents and personal data. Under martial law, criminals associated with Hydra face "long prison sentences".
It has been confirmed that the Russian Hydra marketplace has no chance of maintaining its criminal operations due to a joint operation by German and Ukrainian special forces.
From：On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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