[Interactive Timeline] Policing the Darknet: Key Cyber Operations

August 12, 2022

In our previous post, Policing the Darknet: Leading Cybercrime Agencies Go Dark, we took a high-level look at some of the most active law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the globe who police the darknet through targeted cyber operations.

Now, we’re taking a look at which key darknet-related cases these agencies have participated in throughout the years. It is important to note that many other organizations – such as local and regional task forces – have been key to supporting the investigative and tactical efforts in most of these operations. In fact, the coordination between these groups, which often occurs on a global scale, has proven to be key to successfully policing the darknet.

Timeline: Key Darknet Cyber Policing Operations

In recent years, there have been several elaborate ‘operations’ carried out by multi-agency international task forces, resulting in the ‘take-downs’ and seizures of prominent darknet marketplaces, forums, and criminal enterprises. Many of the operations shift the landscape, with hundreds of domains knocked offline. Others have sparked a community-wide state of panic where key threat actors go quiet or shift into even more shadowy corners of the dark web. This timeline reviews some of the key operations with the most significant impact.

This timeline is interactive. To navigate, use arrows to move right or left, pinch to zoom. Use the key at the bottom to organize by specific law enforcement groups from our chart (below). Click on any event to see more details.

As the darknet continues to be a haven for criminal activity, the importance of these intelligence and policing efforts remain critical. Many agencies conduct their investigative efforts by relying on tools such as DarkOwl Vision to search and monitor the darknet for evidence to build their cases, without having to access the darknet directly.

Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) on the Darknet

LEA Acronym
or Common Name

ATFAlcohol, Tobacco & FirearmsUSA
ACICAustralian Criminal Intelligence CommissionAustralia
BundeskriminalamtAustrian Federal Investigation BureauAustria
NISBulgarian National Investigation ServiceBulgaria
BKABundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office)Germany
RCMP/MountiesRoyal Canadian Mounted PoliceCanada
CIACentral Intelligence Agency USA
CIBCriminal Investigation BureauInternational
Αστυνομία ΚύπρουCyprus PoliceCyprus
DHSDepartment of Homeland Security USA
DOJ Department of Justice USA
EC3European Cybercrime CentreEuropean Union
FBIFederal Bureau of InvestigationUSA
FSBFederal Security Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti ФСБ) Russia
FinCENFinancial Crimes Enforcement Network USA
GDCOCGeneral Directorate Combating Organized CrimeBulgaria
GCHQGovernment Communications HeadquartersUK
HSIHomeland Security Investigations USA
IRS:CIInternal Revenue Service, Criminal InvestigationUSA
IDFIsrael Defense Force Israel
JCODEJoint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (DOJ) USA
GRUMain Intelligence Directorate Russia
NCANational Crime Agency UK
NCJITFNational Cyber Joint Investigative Task Force USA
DNREDNational Directorate of Intelligence and Customs InvestigationsFrance
NSANational Security AgencyUSA
NCISNaval Criminal Investigative ServiceUSA
KLPDNetherland’s National PoliceNetherlands
OFACOffice of Foreign Assets Control USA
PSNIPolice Service of Northern Ireland Ireland
PFPolicia Federal Mexico
NPBPolisen Swedish Police Sweden
PJPortuguese Judicial Police (Polícia Judiciária)Portugal
SBUSecurity Service of Ukraine (СБУ) Ukraine
Europol European Union Agency for Law Enforcement CooperationEuropean Union
InterpolInternational Criminal Police OrganizationInternational
CBPU.S. Customs and Border Protection USA
ICEU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement USA
USDT United States Department of the Treasury USA
USPISUnited States Postal Inspection ServiceUSA
USSSUnited States Secret Service USA
DODUnited States Department of DefenseUSA
DEAUnited States Drug Enforcement AgencyUSA

Learn more about how DarkOwl’s data tools can support law enforcement and national intelligence efforts here.

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