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Finland, Europol take down PIILOPUOTI dark web marketplace

Law enforcement officials in Finland worked with Europol and a cybersecurity firm to take down a dark web marketplace called PIILOPUOTI.

The platform had operated on the Tor Network since May 2022 as a way for people to smuggle and sell drugs as well as paraphernalia into Finland, according to a statement from Finnish Customs.

“The criminal investigation is still underway. At this point, Finnish Customs and our international cooperation partners will not provide any further information on the matter,” they said.

BD_Finnish_Dark_Web_Screen3.PNG A screenshot from PIILOPUOTI while it was operational.

Finnish authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether arrests were made or whether other illegal operations were run through the platform.

Finnish Customs explained that the investigation was conducted in coordination with German and Lithuanian authorities as well as Europol, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), the authorities of other countries and various police units in Finland.

Cybersecurity firm Bitdefender said it was involved in the takedown and provided guidance to help law enforcement agencies in their investigation of the platform.

Alexandru Catalin Cosoi, senior director of investigation and forensics unit at Bitdefender, declined to flesh out the company’s role in the operation but told Recorded Future News that they “offered technical consulting to the entire investigation group and to all the involved countries.”

“We are happy to discover that our intel helped with the operation. This operation is a prime example of the public and private sector pooling resources and working together to disrupt illegal online activities,” Cosoi said.

“It should also serve as a wake-up call for criminals who falsely believe their infrastructures, anonymity and actions are fully protected by the dark web. They should understand if they are in the crosshairs of an international effort, they will eventually be brought to justice.”

This is the latest takedown of an internet platform used for nefarious purposes after U.S law enforcement agencies partnered with officials in Poland last month to dismantle the Lolek bulletproof hosting platform.

Genesis Market — which functioned as a one-stop-shop for criminals, selling both stolen credentials and the tools to weaponize that data — was seized in an FBI-led operation involving more than a dozen international partners in April.

BD_Seized_Dark_Market_Image.jpg

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.