The Russian dark web marketplace RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace) has been taken down by Russian law enforcement authorities. RAMP was allegedly one of the largest underground markets, believed to be the go-to place to purchase drugs.
Although Russian police shut down RAMP in July, the closure wasn't announced as authorities continued to investigate suspected criminal activities. RAMP's closure was revealed after a letter sent by Russian deputy interior minister Mikhail Vanichkin to a state Duma member Anton Gorelkind, was made public.
According to a report by Russian state media Tass, RAMP has been around since 2012 and was a popular drugs market. The site was only available in Russian and looked more like an underground forum than a regular dark web market, Bleeping Computer reported.
RAMP appeared to have been shut down around the same time that two other proliferate dark web markets Hansa and AlphaBay were taken down by Europol, Dutch and US authorities. Both Hansa and AlphaBay were also popular sites for selling drugs, weapons and other illegal goods.
Briefly after RAMP went mysteriously offline in July, leading users to fear a possible DdoS attack against the site, another site, calling itself RAMP 2.0 popped up, Bleeping Computer reported. The RAMP 2.0 site reportedly remained active for a few weeks before it was shut down.
At present, there are reportedly several fake RAMP sites, scamming users into paying an amount before providing access to the site. Several individual dark web markets also allegedly popped up after RAMP's closure, marketing drugs to Russian-speaking users.
Recently, yet another popular dark web marketplace called Dream Market experienced a prolonged outage, with some users reportedly complaining that their Bitcoin wallets were emptied out. Although users allegedly fear that the operators of Dream Market may have pulled an exit scam, according to a report by Motherboard, the IP address of Dream Market was left exposed by the cybercriminals operating it, while the site was under maintainance. This could suggest that the site may have been taken down by law enforcement agencies. The fate of Dream Market, however, still remains uncertain.
With international law enforcement agencies increasingly cracking down on dark web marketplaces, the underground cybercrime community appears to be shrinking.