In the aftermath of the shuttering of the notorious black market Silk Road, the race has been on to fill the multi-million dollar hole left in the underground online drug trade. One of the most established of these sites is Black Market Reloaded, where thousands of users trade drugs anonymously—they think. But here's some bad news for Black Market buyers and sellers: Black Market Reloaded has experienced a serious security breach, which allowed BBC journalists to easily identity a number of buyers and sellers on the site.
It's a dark time on the Dark Net. This Tuesday the FBI shuttered Silk Road, a drug market that operated for more than two years with impunity. The Silk Road helped popularize the Dark Net as the Mall of Anarcho-Capitalism, where illegal drugs, stolen credit cards, child porn and weapons are traded openly. But a series of high-profile busts has seriously undermined the premise of the Dark Net.
The notorious drug market Silk Road was shut down Tuesday by the FBI and its alleged owner arrested, but for some reason the site's active forums remain intact. Since yesterday's news, they've been been filled with commiserating and frantic organizing by dealers headed to safer passage. It's like the last day of camp, only with more felony charges. One post stood out: The teary farewell of Silk Road employee named Libertas.
The owner of the underground drug market Silk Road was a 29-year-old Libertarian engineer living in San Francisco raking in over $80 million in 2 years, according to the indictment revealed today. Who is the man behind the biggest underground drug market, and how did he get caught? The indictment lays out a detailed account of how Silk Road grew and how FBI agent Christopher Tarbell took it down.
The FBI says it's unmasked the man behind the notorious underground online drug market Silk Road. 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht has been charged with running Silk Road under the moniker "Dread Pirate Roberts," according to a complaint released today. According to the complaint, Silk Road was a massive business, doing in total $1.2 billion in sales and leading to $80 million in commissions. Ulbricht has been hit with conspiracy charges related to possession with intent to distribute drugs, hacking and money laundering.
These days, everyone has a social media guy. It's a crucial component of marketing for any modern business, no matter what's being sold: books, cars, food, journalism. Illegal drugs. Since the online illegal drug market Atlantis Marketplace launched six months ago, it's set itself apart with brazen marketing tactics. But it abruptly shut down this week. Now that he's got some free time on his hands, the freelance online marketing expert who was Atlantis' main PR guy was willing to talk to me about hustling drugs in the social media era.
It just became a little harder to buy drugs online. After launching this past April, the drug market Atlantis became one of the most popular places to buy and sell illegal drugs on the Dark Net. Today Atlantis announced it's shutting down because of "security reasons," which should freak out a lot of inhabitants of the shadier places of the internet.
On Sunday afternoon, large swaths of the so-called "dark net"—the network of web sites accessible only to people using the anonymity-enabling Tor software—went even darker than normal. The widespread blackout appears to be the result of an FBI sting, targeted at the trade of kiddie porn on the Tor Network. One cybersecurity researcher was watching the entire time, and offered Gawker a peek into one of the biggest attacks on the dark net in history.
The Tor Network is a vibrant shadow web used by people who want to hide their tracks online. But even this so-called "dark net" has vulnerabilities. This weekend, the dark net was rocked when its biggest hosting company was shut down, the alleged founder arrested on child porn charges, and the identities of many users who believed they were anonymous apparently harvested by authorities.
Just over a year ago, we broke the story of Silk Road, the underground online market that's like an eBay for illegal drugs. It's been thriving ever since. But as the summer drags on, Silk Road users are becoming increasingly paranoid over a series of unexplained disappearances. And the Drug Enforcement Agency has now revealed it's investigating the site. Is Silk Road really as invincible as it seems?
We're fascinated by the Tor Network, an online anonymizing technology that is often referred to by the much more sexy nickname "the dark net." The dark net is a shadow internet where people can do what they please with little fear of being tracked down and identified. Activists in oppressive regimes use the dark net, but so do drug dealers, gun dealers and pedophiles.
A general principle to keep in mind when dealing with hackers is: If a gang of hackers announces the exact date, time and targets of an upcoming hack, it is not going to happen. So we'd bet 800 bitcoins that this attack on "46 major companies around the world" planned for 4pm today by a hacking group associated with Anonymous is not going to come off.