1.4.18 Darkweb and Cybercrime Roundup

Reddit Just Banned /R/DarkNetmarkets – Biggest Darknet Subreddit

As the result of an abrupt rule change, Reddit users found themselves without access to the /r/darknetmarkets subreddit. Reddit unexpectedly banned roughly 20 darknet market subreddits and another 20 unrelated subreddits. Reddit admins, in the past, reminded subreddit moderators about the rules before banning a subreddit. They gave the mods an opportunity to clean up the sub. This time, though, mods received no warning whatsoever.

Not only did Reddit kill the primary darknet subreddit, but they also knocked off several subreddits specific to individual darknet markets. They have banned market subreddits in the past, but nothing nearly as drastic as the most recent wave of bans. The new rule states that “users may not use Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving […] drugs or any controlled substances.” Many refugees have moved to a darknet discussion platform called Dread.

The /r/Darknetmarkets replacement: Dread

After Reddit killed the majority of the darknet subreddits worth visiting (and even more subreddits not worth visiting), many former Reddit users flocked to Dread. Dead is a hidden service discussion platform in somewhat of a “Reddit setting.” The site was created by HugBunter, a security researcher known for disclosing vulnerabilities in many (now former) darknet markets.

Using Dread is just as simple as using Reddit. The same mods from /r/darknetmarkets are there. Many marketplaces have the Dread equivalent of their own subreddit. Even though the site fits the needs of the Reddit refugees, HugBunter created Dread long before Reddit banned /r/darknetmarkets. (Reddit has been on a banning streak lately, though.) Dread is still in development but it currently serves as the replacement for a large percentage of the subreddit’s users.

Girlfriend of Alphabay Vendor ‘Courvoisier’ Faces Fraud Charge

Not long ago, we wrote about a guilty plea entered by a former Alphabay fraud vendor named Grant West. He used the name ‘Courvoisier’ on darknet markets. Southwark Crown Court heard how Grant hacked the websites of various shops on the internet and then sold the collected data on the darknet. Now, not long after Grant pleaded guilty, the same court charged his girlfriend with conspiracy to commit fraud.

The court accused the girlfriend of working with Grant in a case involving food delivery website ‘Just Eat’. Grant hacked the site and stole customer payment information. He combined the information with data from other sources and sold the so-called “fullz” on Alphabay. His girlfriend’s role in the scheme was not spelled out clearly. If nothing else, she was complicit in the crime and benefited from the money Grant made as a darknet vendor.

German Darknet Forum Owner Free While Waiting for Trial

Lucky aka “Luckyspax” cashed out some of his collected luck at a pre-trial detention hearing. The court, in an unprecedented and unexpected move, allowed the alleged owner of Germany’s largest darknet forum to leave jail and fight his case from the outside world. 31 year old Alexander U. allegedly owned and operated “Germany in the Deep Web,” a darknet forum taken down by German authorities in 2017. The forum hit the police’s radar after investigators found that the Munich gunman had purchased his murder weapon from a vendor on one of the site’s ‘for sale’ threads.

Authorities have compared this decision to a fictional decision by U.S. courts that would have allowed Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht to roam free while facing life in prison. German authorities fear the decision may set a precedent where suspected internet criminals get treated differently than those who committed the same crimes ‘in real life’. Members of the public who used the site have argued that Lucky never violated weapons laws by running the forum; the site functioned primarily as a discussion forum but some darknet vendors were allowed to sell their products on virtually unmoderated parts of the forum.

Darknet Vendor Arrested for Selling Fentanyl Nasal Spray

Wisconsin resident Michael S. Schoenmann sold a fentanyl nasal spray on the darknet, federal authorities claimed in documents filed at a Wisconsin District Court. The 30-year-old checked his tracking numbers from an I.P. address that USPIS investigators connected to Schoenmann’s house, records revealed.

The entire case began in Florida and resembled the case against former Alphabay and Dream vendor EtiKing. A man in Florida received a package of “nasal spray” in the mail and told his fiancee that he needed it for a mold problem. Minutes later, the man had died. Florida law enforcement then launched an investigation into the vendor behind “Alpha Prescription Strength Nasal Cleaner and Decongestant.” After working with Wisconsin authorities and the U.S. Postal Service, investigators identified Schoenmann as the creator and darknet vendor now legally responsible for the Florida man’s overdose.