German Authorities Shut Down Dark Web Marketplace Kingdom Market

In a significant move against cybercrime, the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has successfully taken down the notorious dark web marketplace, Kingdom Market, with the support of international law enforcement agencies. The marketplace, established in March 2021, facilitated the trade of drugs, malware, stolen data, and forged documents.

German Authorities Shut Down Dark Web Marketplace Kingdom Market

The Kingdom Market boasted around 42,000 products, with approximately 3,600 originating from Germany. The BKA, in a press statement, revealed that the platform had hundreds of seller accounts and tens of thousands of registered customers.

Customers on the darknet platform conducted transactions using various cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Zcash, Monero, and Bitcoin. Sellers received a commission of three percent for processing sales through the platform.

A significant breakthrough in the operation came on December 15, with the arrest of Alan Bill, also known as “Vend0r” or “KingdomOfficial,” suspected to be the administrator of Kingdom Market by US law enforcement officials. The arrest revealed that cryptocurrency addresses associated with the dark web marketplace were tracked to specific transactions linked to Bill’s name.

The investigation also found that an IP address used to access a Kingdom Reddit account was also employed to access Bill’s email address, cryptocurrency accounts, and ESTA application. Moreover, Bill made unexplained Euro deposits exceeding €189,000 into his Slovakian bank accounts between November 2021 and April 2023, primarily through cash transactions.

Although Kingdom Market has been taken offline, reports indicate that other dark web forums are likely to emerge as replacements. This development comes closely after the FBI’s seizure of the AlphV/Blackcat ransomware gang’s website earlier in the week. Affiliates of AlphV/Blackcat had infiltrated over 1,000 organizations, receiving nearly $300 million in ransom payments.

The successful dismantling of Kingdom Market highlights the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies worldwide to combat illegal activities on the dark web. As authorities continue to crack down on such platforms, the challenge persists with the emergence of new forums seeking to fill the void left by these takedowns.

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