Dutch authorities appear to have used Microsoft Excel files with embedded trackers to pierce the anonymity of a major criminal market, according to The Daily Beast, which obtained a copy of one of the Excel files.
Officials seem to have used the files to expose the vendors on the Hansa market.
Hansa was one of the criminal markets using the Tor network’s ability to conceal identities to protect buyers and sellers of everything from drugs to hacking services. Dutch law enforcement took over the site on June 20, observing the site’s goings on for month before closing it down.
During that time, officials appear to have altered the way Hansa provided its vendors with a record of transactions, shifting it from text files to tainted Excel files.