European Law Enforcement Takes Down 235 Dark Web Money Counterfeiters
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  • Over 300 houses were raided in 13 countries by European law enforcement as part of a massive Dark Web takedown for selling counterfeit money.
  • All arrests made were linked to a case handled by the Austrian police in June 2018.
  • One of the suspects failed to protect business transaction data, allowing the police to crack down on the operatives.

While the Dark Web offers perfect cover for criminals, not being careful enough when engaging in criminal activity can lead to a lot of trouble. 235 arrests were made as part of a massive crackdown by law enforcement in Europe spanning across 13 countries. Over 300 houses were raided following a data leak by one of the operatives who did not have proper security measures in place to hide transaction data.

Counterfeit Euros
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A Dark Web portal was shut down earlier this year in June by the Austrian police and law enforcement was able to break into financial data of the arrested individuals, leading to the recent arrest. There was no proper encryption in place, making it easy for law enforcement to find out all connected individuals in the counterfeit money racket. The arrested used cryptocurrency to receive payments but kept a list of mailing addresses of all customers.

Not only past customers of the Dark Web racket arrested, the euro printing shop in Leoben, Austria was also shut down. The machinery found in the factory was capable of printing 10,20, and 50-euro banknotes. Authorities revealed that over 10,000 of these notes were shipped prior to the arrest. Over 1,500 of the banknotes have been recovered. During the house arrests, authorities were also able to find drugs, weapons, cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency mining tools, and even a cannabis plantation.

Counterfeit Euros
Image Courtesy of ZDNet

Europol promised to crack down on illegal Dark Web activities earlier this year. While weapons and drugs are two of the most prevalent products on the platform, cryptocurrency is quite popular as well, and there are plenty of sellers out there. The Austrian police have been instrumental in taking down illegal traders, and there have been two major takedowns so far in February 2017 and September 2018.

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