French authorities dismantle Black Hand dark web market
The “Black Hand” forum, considered to be one of the most important illegal platforms of the dark web in France, has been dismantled by French law enforcement.
According to information shared by Gérald Darmanin, the French Minister of Public Action and Accounts, over 40 agents of the National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations (DNRED), customs handlers and technical experts were involved in coordinated raids in several French cities on June 12, 2018.
The operation resulted in the arrest of the site’s administrator (the original press release used the female form of the word, so it could be a woman) and several other suspects, the seizure of computer equipment, falsified identity documents, and nearly 4,000 euros in cash and around 25,000 euros in various virtual currencies.
What’s more, the investigators were able to access the contents of the “Black Hand” server. So far, it seems that the forum numbered over 3,000 registered users.
The forum was very active for the last couple of years, with users offering many illegal products for sale, including narcotics, weapons, false papers, stolen banking data, and so on.
The suspects were handed over to the over to the investigators of the sub-directorate for the fight against cybercrime of the Central Directorate of Judicial Police (DCPJ).
According to Journal du Geek, after 48 hours in custody they were brought before the magistrates of a court in Lille, where they were charged with “criminal conspiracy for the preparation of crime (putting into circulation counterfeit or falsified currency legal tender in France), offenses punishable by 10 years imprisonment (drug trafficking) and offenses punishable by five years’ imprisonment (false administrative documents, scams).” They have since been released.
The investigation continues and has been entrusted to the Central Office for the Fight Against Crime Linked to Information Technology and Communication (OCLCTIC).
There’s been no mention whether this news is in any way tied to last week’s announcement that a French coder had been arrested in Thailand.