Darknet Marketplace Incognito’s Owner Arrested for Hacking

On May 18th in New York there was arrested the alleged owner and operator of the darknet marketplace Incognito, which specialized in the sale of prohibited substances.

The Marketplace has been operating since October 2020 and was closed on March 23, 2024 by law enforcement agencies. During this time, it is now reported that 23-year-old Rui-Siang Lin, also known as Ruisiang Lin, Pharoah and Faro, controlled all Incognito activities, including the work of its employees (including two administrators), as well as activity of sellers and buyers.

Advertisement

According to the US Department of Justice, in total, more than $100 million worth of drugs were sold through this marketplace, including: more than 1,000 kg of illegal drugs, including 295 kg of methamphetamines, 364 kg of cocaine, 112 kg of amphetamine and 92 kg of ecstasy.

Incognito until closing

Authorities believe Lin “had the authority to make final decisions on any aspect of the multimillion-dollar operations” of the marketplace.

“Lin had complete control over more than a thousand vendors (those who sold drugs on Incognito), more than 200,000 customers (those who bought drugs on Incognito) and at least one employee who helped him operate the site,” it reads. closing indictment. “Once registered, customers could choose which drugs to purchase from which seller and pay for them using cryptocurrency in transactions carried out through a payment platform that Incognito described as a ‘bank’.”

According to court documents, in July 2022 and August 2023, law enforcement obtained search warrants that helped them gain access to three servers used to operate the marketplace.

One of the servers was used to host the DDoS attack protection system, the other stored internal marketplace data (including all completed transactions), and the third served as a bank and was used to process cryptocurrency transactions.

Advertisement

Law enforcement officers discovered dozens of databases on these servers containing information about 1,312 seller accounts, 255,519 customer accounts and 224,791 order-related transactions.

Investigators calculated that during its operation, the marketplace generated revenue of $83,624,577, of which Lin allegedly received at least $4,181,228 (his five percent commission).

Sales growth on Incognito

Recall that in March 2024, Lin suddenly closed Incognito, refusing to return funds to sellers and buyers, and also threatened to publish the history of all transactions if users did not pay him a ransom.

“As a result of this brazen operation, Rui-Xiang Lin illegally sold more than $100 million worth of drugs, including mislabeled drugs that were later found to contain the deadly drug fentanyl,” law enforcement said. “The defendant’s greed and disregard for others was clearly demonstrated during the extortion attempt he made in the final days of the platform’s operation.”

If convicted, Lin could face a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison (for operating a criminal enterprise). In addition, he faces penalties of up to life in prison for conspiracy to sell drugs, up to 20 years in prison for money laundering and up to 5 years for conspiracy to sell counterfeit and mislabeled drugs.

Advertisement