CRTC investigation targets Dark Web marketplace vendors and administrator

The CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer today announced penalties totalling $300,000 to four Canadians for their involvement in the Dark Web marketplace Canadian HeadQuarters (also known as CanadianHQ). The marketplace was taken offline following the execution of warrants by CRTC staff.

Before shutting down, CanadianHQ was one of the largest Dark Web marketplaces in the world and significantly contributed to harmful cyber activity in Canada. It specialized in the sale of goods and services, including spamming services, phishing kits, stolen credentials and access to compromised computers, which were used by purchasers to engage in a variety of malicious activities.

The CRTC’s investigation focused on four individuals who allegedly sent emails mimicking well-known brands in order to obtain personal data including credit card numbers, banking credentials and other sensitive information. The following individuals have been issued penalties for sending commercial electronic messages without consent in violation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL):

  • Chris Tyrone Dracos (a.k.a. Poseidon) – $150,000
  • Marc Anthony Younes (a.k.a CASHOUT00 and Masteratm) – $50,000
  • Souial Amarak (a.k.a Wealtyman and Supreme) – $50,000
  • Moustapha Sabir (a.k.a La3sa) – $50,000

As the creator and administrator of the marketplace, a higher penalty is being issued to Mr. Dracos for allegedly aiding in the commission of numerous violations of CASL by the platform’s vendors and customers.

As part of this investigation, a number of other vendors have been identified and enforcement actions will be taken against them in the near future.

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