An Israeli national was sentenced to 97 months in prison in connection with operating the DeepDotWeb (DDW) clearnet website, nearly a year after the individual pleaded guilty to the charges.
Tal Prihar, 37, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, is said to have played the role of an administrator of DDW since the website became functional in October 2013. He pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in March 2021 and agreed to forfeit the illegally amassed profits.
DDW, until its seizure in May 2019, ostensibly served as a “news” website that connected internet users with underground marketplaces on the dark web that operate via darknets such as Tor, enabling the purchase of illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit materials.
Prihar, acting in cohorts with co-defendant Michael Phan, 34, of Israel, provided direct links to illegal marketplaces and in return for advertising these links, reaped substantial profits by receiving kickbacks from the operators of the marketplaces in the form of virtual currency amounting to 8,155 bitcoins (worth $8.4 million at the time of the transactions).
“To conceal the nature and source of these illegal kickback payments, Prihar transferred the payments from his DDW bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and to bank accounts he controlled in the names of shell companies,” the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a release last week.
Separately, the DoJ also publicized the sentencing of an associate of the Dark Overlord hacking group for his role in possessing and selling more than 1,700 stolen identities, including social security numbers, on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay.
Slava Dmitriev, a 29-year-old Canadian citizen who was apprehended in Greece in September 2020 and extradited to the U.S. in January 2021, was awarded a jail term of three years after he pleaded guilty in August 2021 to fraud charges.
“From May 2016 through July 2017, Dmitriev sold 1,764 items on AlphaBay for approximately $100,000,” the DoJ said in a press statement. “The vast majority of these items were stolen identities, including names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and other personally identifiable information.”
In related news, law enforcement authorities in Canada seized and shut down Canadian HeadQuarters (aka CanadianHQ), a darknet marketplace that specialized in the purchase and sale of spam services, phishing kits, stolen credential data dumps, and access to compromised machines, which were used by purchasers to engage in a variety of malicious activities.
The development also follows the Europol-led takedown of VPNLab.net, a VPN provider that was used by malicious actors to deploy ransomware against more than 100 businesses and facilitate other cybercrimes, earlier this month.