Canadian authorities take down one of the largest dark web marketplaces, CanadianHQ, and issue a fine of $300,000.
The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) officials said that they have taken down a dark web marketplace on Wednesday known as Canadian HeadQuarters and have fined four people who were involved with the platform.
In a statement, Steven Harroun, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer at CRTC, said that CanadianHQ was “one of the largest Dark Web marketplaces in the world and significantly contributed to harmful cyber activity in Canada.”
In a statement, the regulators said that the site has been taken down by the administrator.
CRTC executed warrants through 2020-2021 in Montreal that finally led to the dark web marketplace being shut down and taken offline. A total of $300,000 was fined to the group with a $150,000 fine to Chris Tyrone Dracos, and Moustapha Sabir, Anthony Younes, and Souial Amarak were fined $50,000.
According to CRTC, Chris Tyrone Dracos was fined higher as compared to other members because he is the alleged “creator and administrator” of CandianHQ. Dracos, Amarak, Sabir, and Younes are accused of sending phishing emails to victims, thus violating the anti-spam legislation of Canada.
“Some Canadians are being drawn into maliciuos cyber activity, lured by the potential for easy money and social recognition among their peers. This case shows that anonymity is not absolute online and there are real-world consequences when engaging in these activities” said Harroun.
Harroun said that this case was one of the most complex ones that his team has handled. CRTC provided further information about the marketplace, saying it allowed people to sell stolen credit cards, sell phishing kits, spamming services, and access to compromised devices and computers.
After the investigation, the officials were able to uncover several other cybercriminal service vendors, and they said more actions are planned for the future as well. Since the passing of anti-phishing laws, Canadian officials have issued penalties of over $1.4 million.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice revealed that Canadian Slava Dimitriev was sentenced to three years in prison. Dimitriev is guilty of selling more than 1700 stolen identities on the dark web. He was extradited to the US in 2021 and was arrested while on vacation in Greece.
Dimitriev’s alias on the dark web was “GoldenAce,” and he sold approximately 1764 items on AlphaBay for over $100,000. The information sold included stolen names, social security numbers, email addresses, and other personally identifiable information.
“Dimitriev stole the identities of hard-working citizens of the United States and thought he was safe from the prosecution while overseas,” said Phil Wislar, Special Agent in charge of FBI Atlanta.
The Dark Web is a concealed part of the internet with multiple marketplaces such as CanadianHQ. Authorities are doing everything in their power to crack down on these illicit marketplaces, but it is very hard to trace activities on the Dark Web. A few days back, the world’s leading marketplace for stolen credit cards and information shut down after raking in more than $358 million in crypto.