There is a close correlation between cybercrime and Bitcoins (which has been weakening of late). Cryptocurrencies, thanks to their anonymous nature and privacy focused technologies, have attracted criminals from all over the world to use them for transactions - making them untraceable on the internet. Over 100,000 Bitcoins were recently seized from Sergey Medvedev, the owner of InFraud online marketplace on the dark web.
The InFraud Kingpin was caught in Thailand, where he was raided by a group of heavily armed police forces. InFraud has been one of the biggest illegal marketplaces on the dark web. The website offers everything from stolen identities and stolen credit card information to drugs, weapons, protected animals, as well as a number of other such illegal items.
The Russian cyber-crime mastermind has been hiding in Thailand for six years, where he owns several properties. He was caught from one of his apartments in the island nation. He was arrested by the Thailand police force on the request of US authorities. 30 CSD officers went on this mission to raid Medvedev, who was caught along with a notebook computer, as well as a number of documents.
This is one of the biggest, high-profile raids in the history of Thailand. Over 100,000 Bitcoins are estimated to be held by the InFraud Kingpin. The value of just these Bitcoins would be close to $850,000,000 as per today’s rates. Medvedev will now be extradited to the US where he would face prosecution. His arrest now makes it 13 out of 36 people being arrested with regards to InFraud. Suspects in the InFraud case have been caught from various countries including the US, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Kosovo, and Serbia - and now, Thailand.
The main servers of InFraud have now been traced in Paris. They have been seized as well. Thailand Police claims that their officials had been tracking these suspects, including Medvedev for years. Police Maj. Nathapol Ratanamongkolsak, a CSD inspector, said: Mr Medvedev is the head of a criminal organization which has affected the global economy and public in general. He concealed his identity in cyberspace and traded in illicit items using digital currency to avoid arrest.
With over 100,000 Bitcoins in possession of just Medvedev, the allegations behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fuelling cyber-crime will only increase. This has been one of the biggest fears of international governments which are still sceptical on adopting cryptocurrencies. Of late, owing to the high fees as well as network congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain, a number of dark web users are now turning to Litecoin and DASH as viable alternatives.
The arrest of the InFraud Kingpin is a clear statement from global governments that the days of the dark net and of those hiding behind cryptocurrencies are limited!