Dark Web Site Wall Street Market Shut Down in Multinational Investigation
Wall Street Market (WSM), a dark web marketplace, was shut down as the result of a multinational investigation. Four cyber criminals were arrested. Cybercrime investigators from the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands announced the arrest of three Germans and a Brazilian man. Wall Street Market is one of the world’s largest dark web sites. The site facilitates the sale of hacked data, illegal drugs, weapons, malware, and counterfeit goods.
Wall Street Market is the darknet marketplace successor to German Plaza 2.0 which launched in 2015. Its administrators charged a two six percent commission on each transaction. Users paid in Bitcoin or other crypto currencies to avoid detection.
Three German residents were arrested and detained by German police. The three defendants were charged by the United States for felony counts of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and distribution and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. They also face charges in Germany. Arrested were a 23-year-old resident of Kleve, Germany; a 31-year-old resident of Wurzburg, Germany; and a 29-year-old resident of Stuttgart, Germany.
Marcos Paulo De Oliveira-Annibale, 29, of Sao Paulo, Brazil faces US Federal drug distribution and money laundering charges. He was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, California. Oliviera-Annibale mediated disputes between vendors and their customers and acted as a public relations agent for Wall Street Market.
The three men also planned an exit strategy which is common with darknet marketplaces. Site operators pre-plan a way to extract money from accounts in the event of police action. Prosecutors believe approximately $11 million of crypto currency held in escrow by Wall Street Market as well as money in user accounts was funneled to the three men’s own accounts. According to Krebs on Security, a Wall Street Market administer is also attempting to extort money from former buyers and sellers. The scammer threatens to publicly disclose transaction details unless the account holder pays a fee.
What is the Wall Street Market?
Wall Street Market, sometimes referred to as WSM, was a three-year online marketplace operating on the dark web. Wall Street Market was available in six languages with about 5,400 sellers and 1.15 million buyers. The site specializes in digital goods including hacked data and malware. However, the site also sold fake documents, illegal drugs, and weapons.
What is the Dark Web?
The dark web is a term used to describe websites not known to or easily accessible by the general public. The internet and websites that the public uses daily are referred to as the surface web. This includes commonly known, legitimate websites, apps, and shopping sites belonging to reputable businesses. Commonly known dark web marketplaces are Sil Road and AplhaBay.
How Do You Access the Dark Web?
The dark web, also called darknet, are accessible only through browsers such as Tor browser. People commonly use virtual private networks or VPNs for anonymity. Darknet websites and marketplaces are not illegal to access. However, most of them are dealing with stolen data, drugs, weapons, and illegal goods or services. So, while it is not illegal to access the dark web, it is illegal to carry out criminal activity.
Dark Web Markets
Dark web or darknet markets are e-commerce websites located on hidden services. While shopping websites the general public is familiar with are located on what is termed the visible or surface web, e-commerce websites like Wall Street market are hidden from public view on the dark web also called the darknet. To access these dark web sites, buyers and sellers must be aware of their existence and also have some technical knowledge and computer applications to connect to them. Many users use VPNs to connect in order to conceal their identity.
Web Site Wall Street is the latest dark web e-commerce site to be taken down by authorities. AlphaBay was shut down in 2017. The most well-known dark web site was Silk Road which operated from 2011 to 2013. The operator, Ross Ulbricht, was convicted and sentenced to two life terms.
Top Five Dark Web Markets Seized by Law Enforcement
- Valhalla Market
- Silk Road 2.0 (the successor is Silk Road 3.0)
- Wall Street Market
- The Pirate Market
- AlphaBay Market