Italian police shutter Dark Web marketplace

Italian police have shut down a Dark Web marketplace offering illegal goods ranging from child pornography to forged luncheon vouchers, and seized 11,000 bitcoin wallets worth about 1 million euros, authorities said Friday.

Officials compared the marketplace discovered by "Operation Babylon" to the Silk Road online black market that was taken down by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2013.

More than 14,000 people had signed up to the illegal community, which was allegedly run by an Italian living near Naples. There was evidence of 170,000 transaction messages on the Tor platform, which provided 12 kinds of hidden services, police said. These ranged from pornographic images to arms, drugs, false identity papers, hacker kits and credit card codes.

The site hosted around 210 drug dealers, including a notorious operator who uses the pseudonym "Pablo Escobar" after the late Colombian drug lord.

"The virtual world of the Dark Web has its own hierarchies and severe rules on access and affiliation. Getting into such a closed community was extremely difficult," Michele Prestipino, a public prosecutor who coordinated the investigation, told a press conference in Rome.

Dark Web sites do not show up on normal search engines, and the Italian site provided detailed instructions to help users screen their identities.

Police officers working undercover succeeded in penetrating the illegal community in a two-year operation that began as an investigation into the online exchange of child pornography.

Italian investigators have been cooperating with Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, and the FBI, to identify customers and sellers who connected on the Italian-operated platform.

Prestipino said the inquiry had been a new experience for Italian law enforcement, revealing the existence of an "incredible criminal world, parallel to Internet, which paradoxically represents only a small part of the communications taking place over the Web," he said. "For us this investigation is just a point of departure."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags CriminalEuropollegalinternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Philip Willan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?