What’s next for online black markets?
Show of hands: Who likes to buy illegal drugs online? How about weapons, or malware, or lists of credit-card numbers?
We’re sorry to inform you, but your nefarious desires just got harder to satisfy.
With the takedown of two of the dark web’s major marketplaces—AlphaBay and Hansa—this week, buyers and sellers of illicit materials are wondering where to go next and which—if any—dark-web marketplaces are safe from government watchdogs.
European and U.S. officials announced the closures of the two marketplaces on Thursday, dealing a major blow to online black markets.
According to Emily Wilson, director of analysis at dark-web intelligence firm Terbium Labs, vendors and buyers are in shock. “One of the things that continues to pop up is the concern that these aren’t the only markets that have been compromised,” she said.
Thursday’s announcement was the biggest dark-web marketplace interdiction since the infamous Silk Road case in 2013 — and these two sites had far more to offer. According to the Justice Department, AlphaBay was almost 10 times the size of Silk Road, with 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals, and over 100,000 listings for other things including stolen identification documents and hacking tools.