'Black Hand' Darknet Forum Seized by Police


An investigation led by the French National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations ended with the seizure of a darknet forum known as the “Black Hand.”

According to the announcement, four suspects landed in custody; through one of the suspects, the police managed to access the forum’s database and download information about all of the site’s 3,000 users.

Press Release

Here is the translated press release. Edited for clarity:

On June 12, 2018, after a complex investigation by the National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations (DNRED) dedicated to the fight against Internet fraud led to the dismantling of the forum known as “Black Hand,” one of the largest illegal platforms active in France on the darkweb. This very active site, for more than two years, sold many illicit products and services (narcotics, weapons, forged documents, stolen bank details, etc.).

“First of its kind in France”

This exceptional operation, the first of its kind in France, took place simultaneously in several cities in France and has mobilized more than forty DNRED agents, Customs officers, and several technical experts.

The main administrator of the site and several other people were arrested. Numerous pieces of computer equipment have been discovered as well as several fake identity documents. Nearly 4,000 euros in cash and around 25,000 euros in various virtual currencies have also been seized. Lastly, the investigators were able to access the contents of the “Black Hand” sever and proceed with the massive data extraction. At the end of the customs detention, the arrested suspects were handed over to the investigators of the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ). The preliminary forensic investigations have already shown that more than 3,000 people were registered on the Black Hand forum, confirming how active this French darknet forum was.

Timeline

After a detention of more than 48 hours, four suspects were sent to the magistrates of the inter-regional specialized jurisdiction of the Public prosecutor of Lille. The investigations will continue and be entrusted to the Central Office of the fight against the crime related to the technologies of the information and the communication (OCLCTIC). Gérald Darmanin said: “I congratulate the DNRED agents for this extraordinary operation. The dismantling of this platform is a first at the national level and illustrates the mobilization of the customs and in particular the DNRED in the fight against the new forms of cybercrime.”