- Finnish Customs, with the support of Europol, Eurojust, and international partners, has successfully taken down the infamous PIILOPUOTI dark web marketplace.
- PIILOPUOTI was a Finnish-language platform known for selling/smuggling narcotics, paraphernalia, and other illegal commodities in large quantities.
- The marketplace was operating sneakily via the encrypted TOR network and was used to perform illegal drug trade anonymously.
- Finnish authorities started an investigation in collaboration with law enforcement agencies from Lithuania and Germany. The criminal investigation against this platform will continue.
Finnish Customs (Tuli), with the support of Europol, Eurojust, and international partners, has successfully taken down the infamous PIILOPUOTI dark web marketplace. This platform was popular among cybercriminals and was involved in illegal drug sales since 18 May 2022. The marketplace’s servers and contents have been seized, but it is unclear whether any arrests were made.
The seizure has taken place just before the annual Dark Web Conference that will take place on 4 and 5 October at Europol headquarters. At this event, more than 180 investigators from all over the world will come together to discuss the latest developments and criminal activity trends on the dark web.
Europol stated in its press release that this is a “significant victory” against dark web platforms. Drugs were smuggled into Finland and other parts of the world from this marketplace.
It was a Finnish-language platform known for selling/smuggling narcotics, paraphernalia, and other illegal commodities in large quantities. Cybersecurity firm Bitdefender cooperated with the authorities in seizing the marketplace.
“This successful action by the Finnish Customs was supported, among others, by the German Federal Criminal Office (Bundeskriminalamt) and the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau (Lietuvos kriminalinės policijos biuras). Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre coordinated the international activity and provided operational support and technical expertise,” Europol informed in its press release.
Finnish authorities stated that the website was operating sneakily via the encrypted TOR network and was used to perform illegal drug trade anonymously. They started an investigation in collaboration with law enforcement agencies from Lithuania and Germany. The marketplace name (PIILOPUOTI) is a Finnish language term, which, in English, means “the hidden shop.” Finnish police said that criminal investigation against this platform will continue.
Bitdefender’s senior director of the Investigation and Forensics Unit, Alexandru Catalin Cosoi, stated that this operation shows that collaborative efforts can help disrupt well-organized illegal platforms like PIILOPUOTI, and the seizure serves as a warning for other criminals who believe they can evade the law by operating anonymously.
It is worth noting that international law enforcement agencies have been hunting down dark web marketplaces for a long time, and the efforts seem to have intensified lately. In 2020, authorities managed to seize the Finnish language market Sipulimarket. At that time, Sipulimarket was the only Finnish language marketplace on the dark web.
In February of this year, Genesis Market’s clear net domain was seized; however, its dark web domain was operational and offered for sale in July 2023. Nevertheless, despite authorities’ efforts to take down dark web markets and their criminal empires, new ones like the Styx market, which specializes in money laundering and identity theft, continue to emerge.