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Czech Police Seized a Tor-Based Social Network

Czech law enforcement seized Atlayo, a so-called “Tor social network,” as part of an investigation into darkweb drug traffickers in Denmark. A seizure banner on the site’s homepage credits law enforcement in Denmark as well as in the Czech Republic with the investigation that resulted in the seizure of the Atlayo domain.

Atlayo, according to the author of a blog post on Secrets of the Dark, is “a social media site on Tor which emphasizes free speech and anonymity.”

Its UI looks a lot like Facebook’s, which isn’t uncommon with these Tor social networks. Like Facebook, it has a chat feature, groups, pages, etc. The main difference is that most people don’t use their real names, and people’s interests seem to center around certain things: hacking, coding, anarchy, and sometimes things like self-harm.

Users could access Atlayo over Tor using the onion address atlayofke5rqhsma.onion or through atlayo.com. Additionally, Atlayo operated its own search engine at xvwhmrw3sgwwmkko.onion. Both onion services are offline and atlayo.com has little to no function beyond displaying a seizure banner.

A picture of The Atlayo seizure banner

The Atlayo seizure banner

Some Atlayo users, according to the Copenhagen Police, created Facebook-like groups that functioned as storefronts for various drug vendors.

A picture of A screenshot of the Atlayo user interface

A screenshot of the Atlayo user interface

According to an inspector with a special investigative unit of the Copenhagen Police, drug users purchased a total of 4.5 kilograms of cocaine, three kilograms of MDMA, five kilograms of methamphetamine, 3,500 ecstasy pills, and 40 kilograms of cannabis through the social network.

Authorities arrested two Roskilde residents—a 23-year-old and a 29-year-old—in connection with the investigation into Atlayo. Both men have been accused of creating and operating the social network. A police inspector revealed, during a hearing for the two suspects in police custody, that the Copenhagen Police had identified one more suspect. It appears as if the police have not yet arrested the third suspect and his role in the administration of Atlayo is currently unknown.

Copenhagen Police led the investigation in Denmark and the National Drug Headquarters assisted in the Czech Republic. According to Berlingske, a Danish newspaper and media outlet, Atlayo was hosted on servers in Czechia (and is currently hosted at Wedos, one of the largest webhosts and domain registrars in the country). The A record for atlayo.com changed on June 5, 2020—the date authorities took control of the site. The full extent of the National Drug Headquarters’ involvement is unknown.

“I don’t know how much money they got out of it or if that is necessarily the motive. In this environment you meet many kinds of people who have different motives,” Deputy Police Inspector Torben Henriksen with the Copenhagen Police told Berlingske.

The Atlayo case is notably the first of its kind for Danish police; it is the first drug-related onion service shut down by law enforcement in Denmark. They have taken other onions offline, though, including sites promoting child sexual exploitation.

Authorities in Denmark have been arresting suspected users of Atlayo (for alleged drug crimes) for several months now. They arrested seven suspected users since February 2020. And an investigation into the social network’s users is ongoing.

Captain Cook
fbbf9ba0 Thu, Jul 9, 2020

"Both men have been accused of creating and operating a social network." So it has come to this...

032f7d00 Thu, Jul 9, 2020

where can i find these based sites? darknetlive and darkfail dont show many sites

6087dfb0 Thu, Jul 9, 2020

Why its illigal to create a social media site on TOR? Why they arrest the admins becouse people create shops there? Should they arrest Mark Zuckenberg if someone tries to sell drugs on Facebook?

8256a480 Thu, Jul 9, 2020


d52ed0f0 Fri, Jul 10, 2020

Captain CookThu, Jul 9, 2020
“Both men have been accused of creating and operating a social network.” So it has come to this…

my exact thought, things are getting crazy. at what point do people say this is not okay and we have some civil involvement

4a0e2e30 Fri, Jul 10, 2020


3bb163f0 Sun, Jul 12, 2020

@DPR, Should they arrest Mark Zuckerberg if someone tries to sell drugs on Facebook?
No; MZ didn’t create Facebook for the express purpose of people buying and selling drugs on it. That’s the difference between this site being taken down and these admins arrested vs Facebook continuing to operate and their admins remaining free: intent. FB has in place very stringent Community Guidelines by which the users agree to abide (or at the very least, agree to not blatantly disregard); guidelines which FB has a well-documented history of removing users for violating. Such guidelines show evidence of intent to any authorities which might come looking, and their record of removing noncompliant users provides the legal standing they would need to remain operational should any agency attempt to shut them down. And last, lest we forget, FB is willing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in every jurisdiction in which they operate.
Alternatively, by running a social media platform on Tor instead of the clearnet, it is understood that the admins running the site from this article wished to bypass any legal repurcussions for both their own actions as well as those of their site’s userbase. Furthermore, even if they did not originally intend to facilitate the buying and selling of illegal goods on their platform, neither did they put in place any roadblocks that might have prevented their users from doing so. Nor did they, upon vendor stores being created, ever remove those stores or the users that created them, further indicating at best an apathy toward their users’ criminal activities and worst implicating themselves as active co-conspirators in such.

I’m not saying that they deserve to be in jail or that I necessarily agree with the law as it exists; I’m only answering your very valid question.

@CaptainCook, “at what point do people say this is not okay and we have some civil involvement”
Do you have any suggestions?

@HOLYSHIT, Please do shut up. Let’s leave the hysteria and the theatrics for Dread, shall we? No need to create pandemonium here with such irrelevant - not to mention likely inaccurate - drivel.

6cee3f20 Tue, Jul 14, 2020

Seems like LE (you) is explaining itself here. IMO that's good. But be honest: Wouldn't you like more to catch actual criminals ? Like Murders, Child Molesters, Human Traffickers, Fraudsters, Arms sellers ? Science has teached us already 10 years ago, that drugs aren't as bad as they are portrayed in media. Alcohol, the one drug that is legal, is worse than 90% of the illegal drugs. Please, come to your senses, and pursue the real criminals again. We appreciate your work, we REALLY do. Especially in times like this, with Corona. But we can't understand why you want to put Weed smokers in jail. They are the most harmless people in the world.

80a80600 Sat, Jul 18, 2020

Thats fucked up.

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