Popular Marketplace Canadian HQ is Closed – Who’s Next?
The CRTC (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) shut down the renowned Canadian HeadQuarters dark web marketplace on Wednesday January 26, 2022, and fined four of its operators.
In a statement, CRTC chief compliance and enforcement officer Steven Harroun said Canada HQ was “one of the largest Dark Web marketplaces in the world and significantly contributed to harmful cyber activity in Canada.”
Canada HQ marketplace allowed users to sell hacking and spamming services, phishing tutorials, cracking tools, and stolen credentials. CRTC explained that since the country passed anti-phishing laws, they have issued penalties totalling more than $1.4 million.
Canada HQ isn’t the first dark web marketplace we’ve seen closing in recent months. Other popular illegal markets like ToRRez, Cannazon and White House Market have recently closed. Just like Canada HQ, the closure took place after the market had been down and out of service for long months.
Which dark web marketplace will be next to close down?
Having analyzed previous cases and the lifecycle of dark web marketplaces, we believe that the lack of activity in marketplaces that are down for months can be an early indication that they are being shut, whether by law enforcement or after an exit scam. As our cyber team continues to monitor marketplaces that have been down for several months now. Some of the next marketplaces that could shut down are Monopoly, Cartel and Hydra which have been down for a while now.
Our team has also discovered (and added to our coverage) a new Canadian darknet marketplace called WeTheNorth, which is a play on the Toronto Raptors basketball team slogan. We believe it was likely created to replace the Canadian HQ. A possible link we found that proves that is that WeTheNorth was first spotted in discussions about new marketplaces on the web in July 2021, the same month activity on Canadian HQ ceased.
The new market resembles the past markets that were closed, such as Empire market, White House Market, and Torrez, and it offers a variety of illegal goods and services for sale. WeTheNorth is unique in how it protects both Canadian buyers and sellers, creating a relatively safe marketplace.
Their mission statement is “to provide a safe environment so that Canadians are able to purchase safely, scam-free and away from the street violence, drugs and other items that are more potent, cleaner and safer to use.”
We’ll continue to keep an eye on dark web marketplaces, whether they close or renew their activities.