German Authorities Dismantle Dark Web Hub ‘Kingdom Market’ in Global Operation

Cyber Security

Dec 21, 2023NewsroomDark Web / Cybercrime

German law enforcement has announced the disruption of a dark web platform called Kingdom Market that specialized in the sales of narcotics and malware to “tens of thousands of users.”

The exercise, which involved collaboration from authorities from the U.S., Switzerland, Moldova, and Ukraine, began on December 16, 2023, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said.

Kingdom Market is said to have been accessible over the TOR and Invisible Internet Project (I2P) anonymization networks since at least March 2021, trafficking in illegal narcotics as well as advertising malware, criminal services, and forged documents.

As many as 42,000 products have been sold via several hundred seller accounts on the English language platform prior to its takedown, with 3,600 of them originating from Germany.

Transactions on the Kingdom Market were facilitated through cryptocurrency payments in the form of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, and Zcash, with the website operators receiving a 3% commission for processing the sales of the illicit goods.

“The operators of ‘Kingdom Market’ are suspected of commercially operating a criminal trading platform on the Internet and of illicit trafficking in narcotics,” the BKA said, adding an investigation into the seized server infrastructure is ongoing.

In addition to the seizure, one person connected to the running of Kingdom Market has been charged in the U.S. with identity theft and money laundering. Alan Bill, who also goes by the aliases Vend0r and KingdomOfficial, has been described as a Slovakian national.

The development comes days after another coordinated law enforcement effort saw the dismantling of the BlackCat ransomware’s dark web infrastructure, prompting the group to respond to the seizure of its data leak site by wresting control of the page, claiming they had “unseized” it.

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