The agency assigned the arrest of Hydra to an extensive investigation operation overseen by its Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) in partnership with U.S. law enforcement authorities that had been underway since August 2021.
Hydra was launched in 2015, a Russian-language darknet marketplace that launched as a competitor to the now-defunct Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP), generally known for its high-traffic narcotics market, before lengthening its focus to peddling forged documents and stolen credit cards.
As per the reports, Cybercriminals are now utilizing it to conduct unlawful sales of stolen credit cards, SIM cards, and counterfeit documents and IDs, among other offerings, to confuse their own digital transactions through regional exchanges and elongated money laundering tactics.
Hydra’s annual transaction volumes were evaluated to have crossed $1.6 billion by the end of 2021, marking a lurch rise from a mere $6.6 million in 2016. Around 17 million customer accounts and over 19,000 seller accounts were recorded on the marketplace.
The dark webshop, which is supposed to have a turnover of $424.2 million for the first 3 months of the current year, also featured a Bitcoin Bank Mixer, which obscures all digital transactions that occurred on the platform, thereby making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track the cryptocurrency trails.
Companies to the marketplace website are now greeted by a captured banner that says that the platform and the criminal content have been snatched by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office in Frankfurt am Main in charge of an international coordinated law enforcement operation.
The expiry of Hydra follows a wave of recent law enforcement actions against criminal marketplaces since the beginning of the year, including that of UniCC, Canadian HeadQuarters, and 4 Russian carding shops named Forum Shop, Sky-Fraud, Trump’s Dumps, and UAS that are specialized in the sales of stolen credit cards.