German Police Shut Down Hydra, the World's Largest Dark Web Marketplace

Colin Thierry
Colin Thierry Writer
Colin Thierry Colin Thierry Writer

Germany’s Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) announced on Tuesday the shutdown of Hydra, one of the world’s most notorious Russian dark web marketplaces.

Since emerging in 2015, the underground marketplace is said to have had around 17 million customers and over 19,000 registered seller accounts. It sold everything from narcotics, forged documents, and hoards of stolen data to hacking services, amounting to at least 1.23 billion euros in sales in 2020.

“Hydra Market was probably the illegal marketplace with the highest turnover worldwide,” the law enforcement agency said in its press release. “In particular, the Bitcoin Bank Mixer, a service for obfuscating digital transactions provided by the platform, made crypto investigations extremely difficult for law enforcement agencies.”

Following the shutdown of the platform, German police also seized 543 bitcoins, worth around 23 million euros. Investigators offered no additional information on any arrests of Hydra operators.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced on Tuesday in response that it has sanctioned Hydra and Russian cryptocurrency exchange Garantex. The US is also working to identify over 100 cryptocurrency addresses with ties to the underground marketplace.

“Our actions send a message today to criminals that you cannot hide on the darknet or their forums, and you cannot hide in Russia or anywhere else in the world,” said Secretary of Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “In coordination with allies and partners, like Germany and Estonia, we will continue to disrupt these networks.”

The dark web is home to many similar underground marketplaces specializing in selling stolen personal information, credit cards, and other compromised data.

About the Author

About the Author

Colin Thierry is a former cybersecurity researcher and journalist for SafetyDetectives who has written a wide variety of content for the web over the past 2 years. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, watching sports, and playing video games.