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German Authorities Take Down ‘Crimemarket’ Cybercrime Website

With over 180,000 users, Crimemarket was a trading hub for narcotics, cybercrime tools, and crimeware guides.

Authorities in Germany last week announced the takedown of the cybercrime marketplace ‘Crimemarket’ and the arrest of six people believed to be linked with its operations.

Crimemarket, authorities say, was the “biggest illegal, German-speaking online trading platform”, enabling miscreants to trade narcotics, weapons, cybercrime tools, and illegal services (including money laundering, cybercrime, and guides for criminal activities).

Available both on the dark web and the surface web, the marketplace had roughly 180,000 registered users when law enforcement seized its domain.

According to the Dusseldorf police, the investigation into Crimemarket and the whereabouts of its operators has been ongoing for several years, and culminated on February 29 with the execution of 102 search warrants, mainly in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.

Three individuals were arrested in North Rhine-Westphalia, including a 23-years old individual believed to be the mastermind behind Crimemarket. Three other suspects were arrested in other regions, the police announced.

During the searches, law enforcement seized evidence such as mobile phones and IT equipment, as well as narcotics and roughly €600,000 (~$650,000) in cash and movable assets.

German police have started studying the seized evidence and data as its investigation stretches beyond Crimemarket’s administrators, to include the portal’s traders and users.

Likely to collect further information, police left Crimemarket’s surface web landing page accessible and prompting visitors to log in.

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Crimemarket’s takedown comes only two months after German authorities announced the seizure of servers supporting Kingdom Market, another marketplace for narcotics, malware, fake documents, and criminal services that had hundreds of sellers and tens of thousands of user accounts.

Related: US Says 19 People Charged Following 2019 Takedown of xDedic Cybercrime Marketplace

Related: US Announces Takedown of Card-Checking Service, Charges Against Russian Operator

Related: US Announces IPStorm Botnet Takedown and Its Creator’s Guilty Plea

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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