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Germany closes Russian darknet market Hydra

April 5, 2022

Federal police say they have shut down the German servers for the darknet hub, which saw its sales skyrocket during the pandemic.

The back of an internet server
Image: Marijan Murat/dpa/picture alliance

Investigators said on Tuesday that they had shut down the German servers for Hydra, a Russian darknet marketplace that was used to sell drugs, forged documents, intercepted data, and other illegal digital services.

They also seized bitcoin worth €23 million ($25 million).

Unknown individuals are also being investigated for "operating criminal trading platforms on the internet on a commercial basis," selling narcotics, among other things, federal police said in a statement.

What is 'Hydra?'

According to prosecutors, Hydra had some 19,000 registered vendors and 17 million customer accounts. The platform had sales of at least 1.23 billion euros in 2020.

Cyber security publication CPO magazine reported that Hydra saw an astonishing 634% growth from 2018 to 2020, coming to account for 75% of illegal transactions made online.

It has also attracted "high-profile cybercriminals, including the DarkSide gang responsible for the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack," in the United States.

The pandemic saw Hydra's business boom as more illegal transactions moved online.

Last year, a German-led police sting also last year took down the notorious darknet marketplace DarkMarket, which had nearly 500,000 users and more than 2,400 vendors worldwide.

Drug trafficking dominates the darknet

es/wmr (AP, AFP)

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