Authorities admit closing Alphabay and Hansa Market was a mistake

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Vendors sellers Alphabay Hansa market moved to dream market

Alphabay & Hansa

Online drug sellers who were forced to leave dark web market sites such as Hansa Market and Alphabay at the end of June when the police took over their servers, start popping up on different market sites.

Authorities are now starting to admit that their actions only forced vendors to different websites. 3/4th of the information they acquired when taking over the websites servers is information about buyers not the sellers. According to police in the Netherlands it’s not worth their time and money to chase the buyers.

Active

Twelve vendors who were active on the illegal online market Hansa have now been spotted  on a new dark web marketplace using their original name. They offer their products on ‘Dream Market’. This information is acquired by research conducted by TNO, and of which a local newspaper showed some results this Monday morning.

Investigation

In July, the Dutch Police High Tech Crime Team announced that it had taken over the servers of the illegal market site Hansa for almost a month. The two German administrators were already arrested at the time. Together with Europol, the police collected 10,000 addresses of people who had been buying drugs through the site. Investigations against suspects are currently running, however only four people have been arrested so far. At the same time, the FBI closed the similar dark web marketplace ‘Alphabay’.

This video shows footage of the suspected Alphabay marketplace founder Alexandre Cazos. Alexandre Cazos was arrested in Thailand on July 5th and was found dead in his prison cell a week later.

Panic

Research Institute TNO did research into the effects of these police actions. They conclude that as a result vendors on these markets initially started to panick. Of all sellers that were active on Alphabay and Hansa market that went over to dream market, at least 20 percent changed their sales name. 14 percent of them tried to stay under the radar by changing only their PGP key, the unique code that allowed encrypted communication. “Sellers do not usually change their PGP key or sales name. They only do this if they really believe it should be done,” said the TNO researchers.

Moved

Nearly one hundred vendors now appear to be active under their original sales name from Alphabay and Hansa Market on Dream Market. While only twelve vendors switched from Hansa under their old vendor name and with the same PGP key. TNO announces that dropping of these types of sites will only lead to a small dent in sales volume for a short amount of time. As soon as buyers and sellers find a new market sales will go back up again. Dream Market is currently seeing a daily increase of at least 20 new users.

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