German police said Friday they had busted a network hosting so-called Darknet platforms illegally trading drugs, stolen data and child pornography online on servers hidden in a former NATO bunker.
Seven suspects were arrested in a series of raids Thursday targeting the operators of the “Bulletproof Hoster” service located in what was dubbed the “Cyber Bunker”, police and prosecutors said.
The servers hosted, or provided the internet architecture for, illegal websites that also peddled stolen data and forged documents, and from which large-scale cyber attacks have been carried out.
Thirteen suspected members — 12 men and one woman, aged from 20 to 59 — allegedly set up and ran the powerful servers inside a former NATO bunker in the town of Traben-Trarbach in Rhineland-Palatinate state.
Those kept in custody were four Dutch citizens, two Germans and one Bulgarian.
Several hundred police were involved in raids in Germany and other European countries that netted some 200 servers, numerous data carriers and mobile phones and a large sum of cash.
The websites included what was once the world’s second largest Darknet marketplace for drugs, the e-commerce platform ‘Wall Street Market’, which was brought down by investigators earlier this year.
An online attack that affected 1.25 million routers of German provider Deutsche Telekom in November 2016 was also controlled via a server located in the cyber bunker, the regional public prosecutor’s office said.
Other illicit websites hosted on the servers included “Fraudsters”, “lifestylepharma” and “Cannabis Road.”