The administrator of the sinister dark web site has been arrested as well.
In a joint operation, authorities have shut down DarkScandals, an infamous website that was available on the dark web as well as on the normal web – Its domain has been seized and administrator “Mr. Dark” has been arrested as well.
DarkScandals was home to videos showing child abuse, rape and real-life blackmailing forcing underage and adults into performing sexual activities for online audiences through Skype and other such platforms.
Reportedly, there were more than 2,000 videos and images advertised as “real blackmail, rape and forced videos of girls all around the world.”
DarkScandals modus operandi was to offer customers two methods to get their hands on the content such as sending files via email to download, a practice the site’s users called “packs.” Another method was to upload new videos and get free content. A look at the site’s cache revealed that it advised users to upload videos through Anonfile, MEGA, and WeTransfer.
However, the heydays of the notorious website are over for good, thanks to Europol who announced on March 12th, 2020) that DarkScandals has been taken down and its administrator, a Dutch national has been arrested from the Netherlands.
It is yet unclear if the administrator is also the owner of the website or not. However, according to the IRS, Mr.Dark made around $2 million through the sinister website. Those visiting the website can now see a homepage uploaded by authorities displaying the following message:
This site has been seized – This operation is a coordinated effort by law enforcement authorities from The Netherlands and the United States of America, in cooperation with Europol, aimed at the takedown of “Dark Scandals”.
A full preview of the homepage is available below:
According to Europol’s press release, on March 9th, Dutch authorities raided a house in Barendrecht, the Netherlands and arrested the site’s administrator. The raid was a result of intelligence sharing by Europol.
Specific rules for the video uploads to the sites included “real rape/forced” content, and stated a preference for “own made material.” The site specifically forbade “fake, amateur…or acted movies,” rejecting content if it did not portray real sexual violence. The arrested administrator allegedly received almost 2 million dollars from selling this obscene and illicit content,” wrote Europol.
The administrator whose name is Michael R. M. aka Mr. Dark, 32, has also been indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia, the USA for his operation of DarkScandals.
Furthermore, Michael was also charged with various counts of Distribution of Child Abuse, Production and Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution, Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter, and Laundering of Monetary Instruments.
In a press release, Don Fort, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation said that,
“The types of crimes described in this indictment are the most disgusting I’ve encountered in 30 years of law enforcement. It is a special kind of evil to prey on and profit from the pain of others. Criminals should know if you leave a digital footprint, we will find you. If you exploit our children, we will put you behind bars. If you thought you were anonymous, think again. The dark web is not quite as dark today due to the hard work of IRS-CI and our partner agencies.”
Authorities who took part in the operation included Europol, the Dutch Police (Politie), the Dutch Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD), Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office (Openbaar Ministerie), US authorities (Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Justice), the German Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt).
This is not the first time when authorities have seized a dark web site as sinister as DarkSecrets. In October last year, during a global operation, dark web’s largest child abuse marketplace was seized and its South Korean native operator Jong-Woo Son was arrested.
The site hosted 8 terabytes of child abuse content. Apart from the operator, 337 suspected pedophiles from 23 US States, the District of Columbia and eleven different countries were also arrested. Moreover, 23 minors were also rescued by the feds during the operation; the children belonged to the US, the UK, and Spain and were being actively abused by the site users.