The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday it had shut down the dark web marketplace AlphaBay. The reason is working with international partners to knock offline the site accused of allowing a global trade in drugs, firearms, computer hacking tools and other illicit goods.
The authorities said that this law enforcement action was one of the largest ever taken against criminals on the dark web, part of the internet that is accessible only through certain software and typically used anonymously.
Read More: German WWII Enigma machine found in flea market!
Alphabay was considered a dark web bazaar because it allowed users to sell and buy opioids, including fentanyl and heroin, contributing to a rising drug epidemic in the United States. The information was revealed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a news briefing in Washington, D.C. to announce the action.
The authorities said, “The dark net is not a place to hide. This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year – taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history.”
The move struck to blow international drug trade has rigorously increased and moved online in recent years.
“The takedown of AlphaBay is significant, but it’s a bit of a whack-a-mole,” said Frank Cilluffo, director of the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University. He further said, “Criminals are going to flock to other places.”
AlphaBay enigmatically went offline earlier this month, prompting speculation among its users that authorities had seized the site. It was widely considered the biggest online black market for drugs.
Similarly, Hansa market in Netherlands was also shut down by law enforcement department of Netherland. It is reported that both AlphaBay and Hansa market were two of the top three criminal marketplaces on the dark web.