The AlphaBay founder was caught by a rookie error


The person in charge of the biggest black market of the Internet deep used his personal email account in the emails of welcome to the service of purchase and sale of illegal products.

The US Department of Justice has announced the dismantling of the black market AlphaBay, the largest drug-selling platform, stolen credit card numbers or online service accounts . Dutch authorities also succeeded in ending Hansa, another market that operated on the Deep Internet or Deep Web.

AlphaBay had listed more than 350,000 illegal products, 200,000 consumers and 40,000 sellers, estimates Europol, who has collaborated in the operation. It is the biggest blow to a market of this type in history since the Silk road operation.

The Deep Web is the set of web pages that are not indexed by search engines such as Google or Bing. It is all that is not seen under the tip of the iceberg. The criminals have found there the ideal place to carry out their operations of buying and selling drugs, weapons, credit cards, etc.

Access to these markets is done through the Tor network, in which the sending of information does not reveal the identity of the issuer, its IP address. It is a network of innumerable layers very difficult to penetrate by security forces, who have to rely on social engineering routinely to detect criminals. Payments are made using crypto-coins such as Bitcoin or Montero to make things more difficult for authorities.

Alexandre Cazes, 26, was in command of AlphaBay until he was arrested in Thailand on July 5 on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, identity theft, fraud and money laundering. He committed suicide in his cell a week later by hanging himself with a towel.

Several errors facilitated the investigation

The Canadian national made multiple and serious mistakes by hiding his trail, the research reveals. A Hotmail email address ( was found in the header of the welcome and password recovery emails that were used until late 2014 on AlphaBay.

AlphaBay bonnet left multiple traces from your email account

The Canadian authorities were able to confirm that this account was registered to the name of Alexandre Cazes born on October 19, 1991. In addition, they managed to discover that that email account was used to write answers in a computer forum, which he signed with his name really.

The suit stipulates that at the time of being arrested by the Thai police, the Cazes laptop was open, unencrypted and was operating on AlphaBay with administrator permissions. Thanks to these facilities, the FBI and the DEA found numerous unprotected text documents that contained passwords and key phrases from the AlphaBay web site and servers.

Hansa, the ‘narcos’

While the DEA and the FBI surrounded Caze, Europol helped the Dutch authorities find and arrest the two black market administrators Hansa, which had its infrastructure located in Holland, Germany, and Lithuania. The Dutch police and Europol seized control of the portal on June 20 through judicial permission to track the criminal activities of all narcotics dealers who were no longer able to carry out their activities at AlphaBay and who saw Hansa as the ideal alternative.

Thus, without realizing it, all orders and directions for buying and selling drugs were being tracked at all times in the hope of giving the final blow to the two black markets.

“In recent weeks, the Dutch police have collected valuable information from high-profile targets and shipping addresses for numerous commissions that will be investigated,” Europol said in a statement. “It’s an extraordinary success.”

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