Strategic Insights Series: EUROPOL Executive Director Robert Wainwright

Takedown of Dark Web Market Giants AlphaBay and Hansa

July 25, 2017

On July 20, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Dutch National Police, and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) jointly announced their coordinated takedown of the Dark Web market giants AlphaBay and Hansa — respectively, the largest and third-biggest criminal sites on the dark side of the Internet, which is password-protected, and where special software designed to mask its users is required for access.

 The Dark Web is where criminal actors meet and transact, and where the black market in drugs, weapons, and other illicit goods & services thrives. The two sites that were seized in this case sold, among other things, illegal drugs, malware, and counterfeit documents; and provided illegal services. AlphaBay alone is estimated to have generated $1 billion (USD) in transactions since its inception in 2014. At takedown, there were over 350,000 listings for illegal drugs, goods, and services on AlphaBay. By comparison, the Silk Road (Dark Web) marketplace seized in 2013 had just 14,000 listings.

In order to learn more about this global law enforcement success, place it in broader context, and explore the lessons and implications for the future of cyber-policing, the Director of the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security, Frank Cilluffo, spoke with Europol’s Executive Director Robert Wainwright.

Link to Full Report (PDF)