More than 400 dark net websites fall in Operation Onymous

Europol have cracked down on the dark web by shutting down more than 400 illegal websites.

Europol and US law enforcement have shutdown a huge number of illegal websites in one of the biggest cybercrime operations in history.

Initially it was thought that illegal goods trading website Silk Road 2.0 was the main target of the Operation Onymous, but todays statements from both Europal and the NCA suggest that the operation as significantly larger.

It is believed that 414 websites operating under the anonymous Tor network have been shutdown, in addition to the seizure of Bitcoin and cash worth over £700,000, plus drugs, gold and silver.

Europe's statement claims 17 individuals have been arrested in connection with running Silk Road 2.0, and the National Crime Agency added that six of those arrestees are from the UK.

Tor used to be safe haven for cybercriminals to hide their online activities from law enforcement, but this huge sting suggests that the authorities might be taking the upper-hand.

Hackers and cybercriminals use Tor because it allows them to disguise their online activity by sending their connections around a large number of relays.

In recent times criminals have latched onto Tor and exploited it for their own gain but it hasn't always been this way.

It was originally developed by the US Navy for military means, and also so those living in countries like China and Iran can access the web without having their every search and keystroke monitored by their respective governments.

Troels Oerting, head of Europol's European cybercrime centre, said of the operation's success: "Today we have demonstrated that, together, we are able to efficiently remove vital criminal infrastructures that are supporting serious organised crime.

He continued: "And we are not 'just' removing these services from the open internet; this time we have also hit services on the dark net using Tor where, for a long time, criminals have considered themselves beyond reach.”