In a recent development, Finnish law enforcement, in partnership with Europol and cybersecurity firm Bitdefender, successfully dismantled the notorious dark web marketplace PIILOPUOTI. Finnish Customs states this illicit platform has been operating on the Tor Network since May 2022. It enabled the smuggling and selling of drugs and paraphernalia into Finland.
Finnish Customs issued a statement regarding the operation: “The criminal investigation is still underway. At this point, Finnish Customs and our international cooperation partners will not provide further information on the matter.”
Credit – screenshot when it was alive
Regarding the potential arrests, Finnish authorities have not responded to requests for comment.
Finnish Customs elaborated that the operation involved German and Lithuanian authorities, Europol, Eurojust (the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation). It also involved authorities from other nations and various police units within Finland.
Bitdefender, a prominent cybersecurity firm, played a crucial role in the takedown. Alexandru Catalin Cosoi, the Senior Director of the Investigation and Forensics Unit at Bitdefender, stated, “We offered technical consulting to the entire investigation group and all the involved countries.”
Cosoi expressed satisfaction with the outcome, remarking, “We are happy to discover that our intel helped with the operation. This operation is a prime example of the public and private sectors working together to disrupt illegal online activities. It should also be a wake-up call for criminals who falsely believe their infrastructures, anonymity, and actions are secure on the dark web. They should understand that if they are in an international effort’s crosshairs, they will eventually face justice.”
This operation follows a series of successful efforts to dismantle internet platforms used for illicit purposes. Just last month, U.S. law enforcement agencies joined forces with officials in Poland to dismantle the Lolek bulletproof hosting platform. In April, Genesis Market, a one-stop shop for criminals selling stolen credentials and tools for data exploitation, was seized. The operation was led by the FBI and had the involvement of more than a dozen international partners.