Case Study: Hydra—Russia’s Largest Dark Market

The packages will be buried (“прикоп”), magnetized to something (“магнит”), or otherwise hidden in an inconspicuous location (“тайник”). Sellers create “kлад” or “treasures”, which is a package of an illicit good hidden in a physical location. A buyer can purchase an instant order and will immediately receive the coordinates or address of the “kлад”, where the package is hidden. Hydra works differently. How Purchases Work The way most darknet markets operate is that physical goods are shipped from the seller to the buyer through the post.

Neither buyer, seller nor courier ever cross paths in person. https://hydraurzxpne4af.com There are two types of purchases: instant orders and pre-orders. The buyer then goes to the location to pick up the purchase. With a pre-order, the buyer and seller will agree on the details of the purchase, such as the amount, and the seller will then hide the product and send the buyer the location. These services, coupled with Hydra’s reputation, make the dark market an attractive option for criminals operating in the region.

Other than drugs and fake identification documents, Hydra offers cash-out services that allow users to swap crypto for gift cards, prepaid debit cards or even cash . Hydra Dark Market and Ransomware Attacks It is common for some criminals to use dark markets rather than regulated exchanges as fiat off-ramps. Cryptomarket participants have been shown to have a minimal reaction, or one that is temporary, to overtly large shows of force and to have the ability to adapt through displacement techniques.

Police crackdowns, as is the case for traditional drug markets, are not effective measures to lower the volume of sales on online illicit drug markets. MEGA has a wide range of illicit drug offerings in their market catalog including items ranging from marijuana to opiates with delivery across the Eastern Slavic language countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. MEGA features a hidden service layout very similar to RAMP, with over 200 links to unique vendor shops from the landing page and many of the same drug vendors that once traded on RAMP also advertise on MEGA.

Similar to other anonymous centralized markets, MEGA also supports vendors selling digital goods such as databases, carding and counterfeit related products, and ready to use hacking software. In a way, it is a gambling feature integrated directly into the purchase of goods on the market. Presumably, the way it works is if a buyer wants to purchase a product, they can risk a smaller amount of money (rather than pay full price) to have a random chance at either wining and receiving the product for the amount risked or losing and the market keeps the amount of money risked.

Roulette Feature Another unique aspect of Hydra is its roulette feature. In the Spring 2020 CAML Report, CipherTrace reported to have discovered that 86.8% of all criminal BTC received by Russian exchanges came from Hydra.

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