In an internationally coordinated operation, the server infrastructure of the illegal darknet marketplace “Kingdom Market”, which is spread across several countries, has been seized since December 16, 2023 and thus shut down.
The illegal marketplace was an English-language darknet platform that had been accessible via the Tor network and the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) since at least March 2021. It was geared towards the trade in illegal narcotics. The platform was also used to profitably advertise malware, criminal services and forged documents.
Most recently, over 42,000 products were offered on the marketplace, including around 3,600 products from Germany. Tens of thousands of customer accounts and several hundred seller accounts were registered on the marketplace. The cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero and Zcash were used as means of payment. The operators received a three percent commission for processing the illegal sales of goods processed via the platform.
Note: The operation of criminal platforms on the Internet on which illegal goods and services are traded is now a criminal offense in Germany with the newly created Section 127 StGB. It is therefore sufficient to make such a platform available in the first place to be liable to prosecution. The Federal Court of Justice has already commented on this.
As is usual after such successful investigations, further criminal proceedings can be expected. In fact, experience in the field of cybercrime shows that cybercriminals are particularly fond of storing data and that encryption is rarely as convincing as previously advertised. It remains to be seen whether the current search success is also related to the cyber bunker procedure.
The question is then often whether to wait passively or seek legal assistance in good time – this is a question of the individual case (and your wallet). Depending on your own role and sensible activity, a tactic developed at an early stage can certainly lead to a house search and arrest being avoided, for example – at least if there was still room for maneuver. The situation is always ungrateful for those affected.
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