US sanctions Russia-based darknet market

The Treasury Department on Tuesday sanctioned Russia’s largest and “most prominent” darknet market, Hydra Market, in a coordinated resolution intended to disrupt malicious cyber crime services, the selling of drugs and other illegal activities. 

The coordinated resolution in the U.S. follows a decision made by German authorities to shut down Hydra’s servers in Germany and seize $25 million worth of bitcoin. 

“The global threat of cybercrime and ransomware that originates in Russia, and the ability of criminal leaders to operate there with impunity, is deeply concerning to the United States,” said Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen in a statement.

“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,” she added.

According to the Treasury Department, Hydra, which launched in 2015, is involved in ransomware, hacking, identity theft, counterfeit currency and illicit drugs. 

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said it identified about $8 million in ransomware proceeds that went through Hydra’s virtual currency accounts. The department also said Hydra’s revenue significantly rose from under $10 million in 2016 to more than $1.3 billion in 2020.

The coordinated resolution also included other U.S. federal agencies, including the Justice Department, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS.

Tags Cybercrime Darknet Janet Yellen Russia Treasury Department

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