Europol and the FBI recently joined forces against over 400 underground markets, but a new report clams the crackdown has been less successful than previously believed.
Early last month, the two intelligence bodies announced the formation of ‘Operation Onymous’. The law enforcement bodies moved to put an end to hundreds of underground markets, operating on such anonymous networks as Tor. The websites concerned were trading illegal goods such as hacker tools, drugs, and weapons.
The investigation, which took place over six months, saw 17 vendors arrested and over 410 anonymous services taken down, as well as around £640,000 in Bitcoins captured. They also found silver, gold and drugs.
A recent report, however, has little faith in the effectiveness of the actions taken, with most of the illegal traders involved, as well as buyers and advertisers, moving into new marketplaces.
The report, as quoted by SC Magazine, states:
“It appears that these take-downs have not really achieved anything-long term; the majority of users have carried on business as usual.
“The two biggest marketplaces, Evolution and Agora, absorbed most of the trade from the closures, causing minimal disruption for both buyers and sellers.”
Underground trading is a concern, as is all cyber crime. Legitimate businesses can do little when it comes to illegal competition, and are forced to leave it to governments to take action. However, when it comes to their own operations, they can at least increase their online security. Filling cyber security jobs with knowledgeable and talented personnel would certainly be a responsible step in the right direction.
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