In the past six months, many high-profile darknet markets have shut down but Hydra was seemingly impervious to police attempts to stop it. The website launched in selling drugs, hacked materials, forged documents and illegal digital services such as Bitcoin-mixing - which cyber-criminals use to launder stolen or extorted digital coins.
The site was written in Russian, with sellers located in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and surrounding countries. Mr Zwiebel says the operation to close it down began with a tip-off which pointed to the possibility that the website infrastructure might be hosted in Germany. So we started in July or August last year to dig deeper and to investigate this field," he says. It took many months to locate which firm might be hosting Hydra in Germany. A bullet-proof hosting company is one that does not audit the websites or content it is hosting, and will happily host criminal websites and avoid police requests for information on customers.
Mr Zwiebel says his investigators then took their evidence to a German judge to get permission to approach the server company and issue a takedown notice. The company was forced to comply otherwise they too could have been arrested. Visitors to the site are now greeted with a police poster saying "the platform and the criminal content has been seized". They will probably try to build a new platform, and we will have to keep our eye on it.
The news comes during a turbulent time for darknet markets with the most prominent sites closing down in recent months, either voluntarily or as a result of police activity. Many of the closures have come from criminals choosing to gradually bring their operations to a close, and disappear with their riches.
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One of the oldest markets still in operation, Hydra is a Russia-based darknet market that has a notorious association with sellers and resellers of. Hydra Market, which was considered to be the world's largest and oldest darknet marketplace of illegal items and services, was seized and shut. Hydra was a Russian language dark web marketplace that facilitated trafficking of illegal drugs as well as financial services including cryptocurrency.