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German authorities take down dark web Kingdom Market

A major dark web marketplace has been taken down as part of a sting headed by German law enforcement.

user icon Daniel Croft
Fri, 22 Dec 2023
German authorities take down dark web Kingdom Market
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Kingdom Market was a dark web marketplace launched in 2021, which allowed users to buy and sell malware, drugs, cyber criminal services, stolen data and more, with transactions all being done using cryptocurrency.

The market was taken down by the German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), also known as the Federal Criminal Police Office, with assistance from the Frankfurt Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) as well as enforcement agencies from around the world, including Ukraine, Moldova, Switzerland and the US.

When the marketplace was taken down, German authorities sent messages to registered members of Kingdom Market, informing them of the incident:

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“Residents of the kingdom,

“We proudly announce that the kingdom has fallen!

“Thank you for your cooperation.

“To be continued…”

Members originally believed that the admins of the marketplace were simply exit scamming; however, the BKA later confirmed to be responsible for the incident.

According to a press release issued by the BKA, the marketplace was widely used, with over 40,000 products listed.

Recently, over 42,000 products were offered on the marketplace, of which about 3,600 products from Germany,” said the BKA.

“Tens of thousands of customers and several hundred seller accounts were registered on the marketplace.”

At the time of writing, one admin for the marketplace has been arrested in the US. Alan Bill, a Slovakian man who went by “Vend0r” or “KingdomOfficial”, was arrested on 15 December 2023, according to court documents.

The BKA and its allies have also confirmed that an investigation into the marketplace has been launched, with the goal of tracking down those who ran it. The marketplace’s server infrastructure is currently being analysed.

Following the incident, members of Kingdom Market have reportedly flocked to alternate dark web marketplaces, such as Dread.

Several Dread users have claimed to be “refugees” of the Kingdom Market takedown and have claimed to have lost money it had on the former marketplace.

Operators of other markets, such as Drughub and Cypher, have invited Kingdom Market sellers to join their marketplaces, making the most of the takedown.

It is unlikely that Kingdom Market will return following its takedown and the seizure of its server infrastructure.

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