German authorities shut down illegal data center in former NATO bunker

(Image credit: Pixabay)

German authorities have shut down a data center set up inside a former NATO bunker which was used to host sites dealing in drugs and other illegal activities.

Seven people were arrested in a recent raid but the main suspect of the long-running investigation is a 59-year-old Dutchman who is believed to have acquired the former military bunker located in the town of Traben-Trarbach in western Germany back in 2013.

After acquiring the bunker, the suspect turned it into a very large and heavily secured data center which he maid available to clients to use for illegal purposes. According to regional criminal police chief Johannes Kunz, he had links to organized crime and spent most of his time at the bunker despite being registered as having moved to Singapore.

In total, thirteen people aged 20 to 59 are under investigation, including three German and seven Dutch citizens. German authorities have arrested seven people involved in the illegal data who they believe may be a flight risk.

Illegal data center

The data center within the former NATO bunker was set up as a “bulletproof hoster” meant to conceal illicit activities from the eyes of the authorities according to investigators on the scene.

A number of illegal online platforms were hosted from the data center including the drug-dealing portal, Cannabis Road, the world's largest online criminal marketplace for drugs, hacking tools and financial malware, Wall Street Market and sites dealing in synthetic drugs such as Orange Chemicals.

A botnet attack which disabled 1m Deutsche Telekom customer routers in late 2016 also appears to have originated from the illegal data center.

Regional criminal police chief Johannes Kunz explained that the raid on the complex was a huge success for the authorities, saying:

“I think it’s a huge success ... that we were able at all to get police forces into the bunker complex, which is still secured at the highest military level. We had to overcome not only real, or analog, protections; we also cracked the digital protections of the data center.”

Via AP News

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.