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Cyber Drug Dealer Exposed: His Website Resembled Legal E-commerce Platforms

SECURITYCyber Drug Dealer Exposed: His Website Resembled Legal E-commerce Platforms

A 23-year-old Taiwanese man, Rui-Siang Lin, has been arrested in New York and charged with operating Incognito Market, a platform on the dark web (a hard-to-access part of the internet often used for illegal activities) through which drugs were sold. The value of the illegal transactions conducted on this site could have reached up to $100 million.

The illegal platform was established in October 2020 and operated on the dark web until March of this year, serving as a forum for buying and selling goods, including heroin, cocaine, and other illegal substances.

It was very professionally designed and in terms of design and user features, it closely resembled popular, legal e-commerce sites. It offered verification and registration options for sellers, advertising, and customer service facilities, and it was distinguished by a user-friendly interface.

The operating mechanism also closely resembled legal sales platforms. Transactions on Incognito Market were conducted in cryptocurrencies, and the platform took a commission. Ultimately, the founder executed an “exit scam,” in which he stole cryptocurrency funds held for escrow transactions. He also intimidated his users, threatening both sellers and buyers that he would reveal their involvement in illegal drug transactions.

“Illegal online platforms often cunningly exploit technologies, mechanisms, and even design patterns known from official commerce. All this is to create a false sense of security for users. However, those who knowingly use such illegal sites and participate in illegal activities should not expect transparent and fair processes. Those who unknowingly come across illegal sites must remember to exercise extreme caution and skepticism when considering any digital transactions in unfamiliar places. This situation also clearly illustrates the immense work and effort required by law enforcement agencies worldwide to track down cybercriminals. It is a textbook example of how authorities use every mistake made by criminals to track them down. Now the very important task is to present evidence that will prove the guilt of the arrested individual,” comments Kamil Sadkowski, an analyst at ESET’s antivirus laboratory.

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