The United States Justice Department struck a blow for cyber security by shutting down the largest and oldest dark web marketplace, Hydra Market.
Hydra Market is sort of like an evil Amazon or eBay where crooks buy and sell stolen banking and credit card information, drugs, false identification documents, and other illegal items. Hydra operated mostly in Russian-speaking countries but the stolen information came from all over the world.
Transactions on Hydra were conducted in cryptocurrency and Hydra’s operators charged a commission for every transaction conducted on Hydra. According to the government, the marketplace took in over $5 billion over the past 7 years. Last year, it accounted for 80% of Dark Market transactions.
“The Hydra darknet site provided a platform for criminals who thought they were beyond the reaches of law enforcement to buy and sell illegal drugs and services,” said Chief Jim Lee of IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Our Cyber Crimes Unit once again used their cryptocurrency tracking expertise to help take down this site and identify the criminal behind it. Denying criminals a space to operate freely to conduct their nefarious activities is the first step in stopping this activity from happening altogether.”