Nov 24

Charged Silk Road 2.0 Mastermind Seems To Be Sending Tweets From His Jail Cell

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

SilkRoadDudeThe Silk Road 2.0 mastermind, Blake Benthall, denied responsibility of the tweets coming from his account. He had been arrested in San Francisco but plans are underway to move him to New York where the case will be handled. Blake Benthall is a computer genius and a known church goer by day. He had made over $8 million in a month on transactions alone through the Silk Road website according to the feds. The post recently reported 0.1244 Bitcoins being raised on an account that was posted on Blake’s Twitter feed with the message, ‘Donate Bitcoin’. There have been several jeer from the social media but few people have contributed an approximate of $50. However, Benthall has denied responsibility and claims his account was hacked.

2014-11-06-image-10According to his lawyer Jean-Jacques Cabou, Benthall remains in prison and cannot be tweeting from jail. He claims no family member or friends authorized the tweet or requested it. He says they had taken proper measures days ago to report the account had been compromised and any tweets coming out are unauthorized. They even don’t know the owner of the Bitcoin address that was posted together with the tweet. Claims of soliciting for money from people can put Benthall in more trouble but it still remains a mystery that sent the tweet. Hacking of accounts in twitter is not a new thing with several cases having taken place.

Benthall is alleged to have helped in the revival of the Silk Road 2.0 after the original Silkroad was shut down in 2013. How the feds managed to track down Benthall is unclear since the Tor program meant to protect user identity has never been cracked. People have even created several theories on the de-cloaking of Silk Road 2.0. It is hard to tell if Benthall sent the tweets since he still remains in jail. He might be a victim of hacking but we have to wait and see how his case goes.

Nov 21

The Server Of Silk Road 2.0 Was Located At Lithuania

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silkroad 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

Silk Road 2.0 arrestsIn early November, 2014, the US federal agents in conjunction with law enforcement agencies from other countries across the globe carried out an operation that led to the seizure of Silkroad 2.0 among other dark net bazaars. Reports emerging after the worldwide law enforcement sting named’ Operation Onymous’ now reveal that the core server that hosted Silkroad 2.0 was located in Lithuania. The FBI says they came across this information through their undercover agent who had infiltrated Silkroad and served in the site’s core management ranks since its inception in October 2013.

fbiThe FBI further says this information became apparent in May 2014. From then, the agency asked the Lithuanian authorities to make copies of the data available in the server to be used in forensic investigations. To successfully clone a copy of the available data, the Lithuanian law enforcement agencies had to take down the servers. Silkroad 2.0’s administrator is said to have panicked as a result of this anomaly. While communicating with the Internet service provider on how to rectify the situation, he did provide information that revealed the server’s name along with other important information.

The FBI equated the data the Lithuanian law enforcement agents sent to a ‘gold mine’. This information included private encryption keys for Silkroad 2.0 as well as private communication between the website administrator ‘Defcon’ and the site’s former administrator Dead Pirate Roberts 2. The private conversations centered on administrative issues like profit sharing schemes from Silkroad 2.0 commissions among the key conspirators as well as prior arrests of past moderators of the website.

Aside from Silkroad 2.0, this burst also led to the closure of three other online drug bazaars as well as a suspected scam site. Other countries that were involved in this operation included Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Latvia, Ireland, Romania, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Nov 19

Deepnet Experts Look For Clues On How Dark Net Sites Were Uncovered

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

Tor-users-IP-address-can-be-identified-with-routersThe anonymity that Tor brings had made it very popular with criminals who used it effectively to conduct their businesses online. Tor was a program created to create anonymity to sites online. Tor routes a person surfing in the internet through several computers making the location of sites hidden. Criminal elements have used it effectively with Silk Road been one major site. This was used by drug dealers to transact their drug businesses and avoid the face to face transactions that usually led to gun fights. However, there has been seizure of several high profile sites in the past week. There have also been 17 arrests associated with the sites leading people to wonder how the sites were uncovered.

tor-networkDeepnet experts are looking for clues to uncover how the law enforcement agencies were able to decloak these hidden sites. This was even a surprise to the Tor project team. This for now remains hidden and people have to wait for explanation in court where we hope the prosecutors will explain how the people became suspects. However, views from experts claim Tor has not been cracked yet. Dr. Steven Murdoch from the University College in London claims there are still several high profile hidden markets in operation. If they had cracked Tor, they probably could have seized all the hidden markets.

The shutdown of these hidden services was named ‘Operation Onymous’ and closed down 400 pages that were owned by 27 people. Most of these sites engaged in the sale of drugs, stolen credit cards and some illegal paraphernalia. The most high-profile closure was the Silk Road 2.0website majored in selling drugs after the shutdown of the original Silk Road last year.

Possible clues on how the dark net sites were uncovered

Poor operational security

This is one major failing in running websites where owners fail in minor security details. On the Silk Road 2.0 case, it was noted that the use of email address in the site led to the owner been identified. The email address code on the email led officers to Blake Benthall who was running the site.

Bugs in web applications

Elements with a page hidden by Tor can be vulnerable to exploits and bugs. This is just like in the open internet where we have interactive features and video players which could have been quickly coded.

Bitcoin ‘deanonymization’

All those operating illegal sites must have a way through which people can pay for the services or goods offered. Bitcoin is usually the virtual currency that such people use to receive payments. The use of normal payment is much easier to trace than Bitcoins but this does not mean Bitcoin is fully safe. It does not remain anonymous with some recent research showing ways through which Bitcoins can be linked to the user’s location

Denial of service attack (DoS)

This is very theoretical but there are chances that authorities could have used it. In this method, a site is flooded with several visits with the aim of forcing traffic to get into Tor owned computers which are usually monitored by the authorities.

It will always be difficult to know how exactly the authorities were able to decloak these sites and it is very unlikely that they will share the information. This is because they could want to use it again to arrest further criminal elements using hidden sites like the emergence of Silk Road 3.0.

Nov 17

Accused Silk Road 2.0 Admin Worked As Contract Software Developer For Former Googler’s Secret Startup

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

blake_is_blakeBlake Benthall who was arrested for allegedly running the Silk Road 2.0, an illegal online narcotics bazaar, was a contract software developer at Close. There isn’t much known about Close but the company’s CEO, Falson Fatemi describes it as stealth start-up founded by ex-Googlers and supported by New Enterprise Associates, Felicis Ventures and notable personalities like Dave McClure and Mark Cuban among others. Based on the CEO’s descriptions, Close it seems, is seeking to develop software plug-in that helps people make the most of their social network connections.

alleged-silk-road-2-0-owner-arrested-in-san-francisco-v1Close came to light after Benthall’s arrest. The company makes a brief but dramatic appearance in the Silk Road 2.0 charging documents. These documents state that he hosted his alleged dark web drug bazaar’s server on one of the subdomains of an Internet address belonging to Close. The documents further reveal that this address was being used by Close up till November 6, 2014. Federal investigators managed to snag this server sometime in May 2014 and where able to identify its physical location in a data center outside the US. Federal investigators got their hands on it anyway, took the computer offline and copied its contents to aid them in forensic investigations.

It is during this brief take-over that the site’s administrator ‘Defcon’ who federal agents allege is Benthall, went into a brief panic attack. It is said that his internet service provider put out several messages warning of the Silk Road 2.0 server’s offline status. The documents allege that ‘Defcon’ instructed the internet service provider not to reboot srv2.close.co server as there were critical processes that needed to be watched. Benthall’s former colleagues at Close including the CEO however seem not to be aware that the Silk Road 2.0 server was running on the company’s Close.co domain. The CEO responded on Twitter saying she could not believe the allegations. She further said she had worked with Blake in the past and to her, these allegations seemed out of character.

Nov 14

SILK ROAD 2.0 And Other Black Market Sites Were Shut Down As Part Of Operation Onymous

If you want to visit Silkroad 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

2014-11-07-image-16Judicial agencies and law enforcement around the world undertook a joint action against Silkroad 2.0 and other black market sites running as hidden services on the Tor network. Sixteen European countries (United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Romania, Germany, France, Latvia, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland), alongside counterparts from the U.S, brought down several darknet marketplaces as part of an integrated international action called Operation Onymous, from the operational coordination center of Europol that is located in the Hague. The international action aimed to put an end to the sale, promotion and distribution of harmful and illegal items, including drugs and weapons, which were being sold on the online black markets.

Laptop-computer-with-crime-scene-tape-across-it-via-shutterstock-800x430Operation Onymous was coordinated by the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Europol’s European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3), Eurojust and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and it resulted in 17 arrests of administrators and vendors running these online marketplaces and seizure of 414 dark web domains. All of the darknet marketplaces in question were accessible through the Tor network, which according to those who took part in the investigation was compromised by means of an as yet undisclosed mechanism or tool. Additionally, bitcoins worth approximately USD 1 million, EUR 180,000 euro in cash, drugs, silver and gold were seized. Silkroad 2.0 was taken down and its alleged operator, 26-year-old Blake Benthall was arrested.

The alleged operator of Silkroad 2.0 was arrested due to what seem to be a series of obvious mistakes he made including, failing to mask his IP address when contacting the Silkroad 2.0 service providers and using an e-mail address (blake@benthall.net) that included his name to register the Silkroad 2.0 servers. He also tweeted references to the Silkroad and to making bitcoin payments. He has been charged in court and if he’s convicted, he faces life in prison on drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges.

Operation Onymous is the second major operation that has been carried out against online darknet marketplaces. The first Silkroad, which had been launched in 2011, was shut down in October of 2013, and its alleged operator Ross Ulbricht was arrested. Silkroad 2.0 was launched a month later, and Blake Benthall is supposedly to have taken over the running of Silkroad in December of 2013.

It isn’t clear whether the operators of the other online darknet marketplaces that were shut down in the raid have been arrested, and if so, where their operations were located, but law enforcement is calling its action a clear victory.

Nov 12

Silk Road 3.0 Already Live

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

silk-road-genericSilk Road 2.0 was previously shut down by the FBI together with other online drug markets. Several people were also arrested with the shutdown which was a really blow to the drug industry. However, Silk Road 3.0 is already in the market predicting that other Silkroads will follow. According to Kate Gibbs writing on Gizmodo Australia, there are three things in life you can count to happen: death, taxes and people buying and selling drugs online. This does not come as a surprise considering the success that was with Silkroad 2.0. The business insider was the first to report news about its release which was later shared on Reddit.

Gizmodo contains the address for the new crypto market but one will not be able to access it without using the Tor software. Just like Silkroad 2.0 and other illegal websites online, Silk Road 3.0won’t work unless one is using Tor. This is a Tor hidden service.

screen_shot_2014-11-07_at_11_25_25.pngSilk Road 3.0 is not a new market as most may have thinking. It already existed in the market and has just been re-branded to cater for the demand that was left when Silkroad 2.0 was shut down. The service was initially called Diabolus market which only specialized with cannabis. According to Daily Dot reports, the market was peaceful and simple but run professionally by experts on development. There are unverified claims that they are currently working with some members of Silkroad 2.0. This might be difficult to confirm as there are no ways one van confirm this.

One thing for sure is that the service is less sophisticated compared to the previous one leading to doubts if it will stay. Only time will tell if this is a public stunt or just something that will stay for long in the market. This marketplace is not decentralized which makes one doubt if most drug leader could use it as they prefer decentralized marketplaces.

Nov 11

Federal Agents Arrest Alleged Operator Of Silk Road 2.0

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014 and the alleged operator “Defcon” has been arrested. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0. Silk Road 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace <<

silk-road-two-shut-down-mike-power-203-body-image-1415379630The Federal Bureau of Investigations on November 6, 2014 announced the arrest of Blake Benthall who it claimed is also known as ‘Defcon’ for allegedly owning and operating the Silk Road 2.0 website. Silkroad 2.0 was a hidden website that allowed users to buy or sell illegal drugs as well as many other forbidden goods and services without being detected by the authorities. Mr. Benthall was arrested in San Francisco and charged with conspiracy to traffic in illicit drugs, money laundering and computer hacking among other crimes. The Silk Road 2.0 had about 150,000 users who transacted about $8 million worth of drugs and contrabands each month.

silk-road-head-640x353According to the FBI, an undercover agent of the Homeland Security Investigations managed to infiltrate the website’s support staff. The agent as a result gained access to the website’s private sections and even communicated with ‘Defcon’ on a regular basis. The bureau has been investigating Silk Road 2.0 since it popped up late 2013 to replace the original website that was also taken down by the US authorities. The said undercover agent had been instrumental in running Silk Road 2.0 acting as one of its central organizing figures right from the beginning when the site came alive.

The Silkroad 2.0 website made basic operational security mistakes. It is alleged that Blake used his personal email address, blake@benthall.net, to register the servers that run the illegal drugs website. As a result of these breaches, the US government agents were able to identify the physical location of the computers that run the website. This discovery was made in May 2014 after which the government agents continued to monitor everything that happened in the website. The agents were also able to locate the foreign server that hosted the website despite it being masked by a Tor network. The records obtained from the server’s hosting provider identified Mr. Benthall as the administrator of the Silk Road 2.0.

The arrest of Mr. Benthall greatly mirrors that of Mr. Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind of the original Silkroad website. Mr. Ulbricht, who is alleged to be ‘Dead Pirate Roberts’, allegedly operated a criminal enterprise that is very similar to the Silk Road 2.0 in many fronts. Like the predecessor, the Silk Road 2.0 used the tor network to mask its illegal dealings that mainly involved sale of illegal goods and services. The hottest items on sale in the website included illicit drugs like psychedelics, cannabis, ecstasy and opioids. The website had more than 13,000 listings just before it was brought down. The authorities also allege that Mr. Benthall used the moniker, ‘Dead pirate Roberts’ when he first launched the site before allegedly switching to the pseudonym, ‘Defcon’. And like Mr. Ulbricht, Mr. Benthall was also arrested in San Francisco.

Mr. Benthall’s arrest as well as the Silk Road 2.0’s takedown comes in the wake of a worldwide swoop on ‘dark net’ sites. Some 16 masterminds of such sites have been arrested in an exercise that also took down more than 400 ‘dark net’ websites and servers. These efforts are expected to continue so as to arrest even more perpetrators in a bid to rid the Internet of illicit trade and contrabands. The entire exercise is estimated to have affected some 18 countries netting digital currency worth over $1 million, over $250,000 in cash as well as silver, gold and narcotics.

Nov 06

Silk Road 2.0 BUSTED!

If you want to visit Silk Road 2.0 then you will want to know that the owner was arrested and it was shut down by the feds on 5th November 2014. The best alternative is Agora Marketplace, it actually has more listings than Silk Road 2.0 but is just not as famous.

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

Silk Road Seizure Screen

Benthall, the alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0, is being charged with a ton of charges including conspiring to traffic in fraudulent identification documents, money laundering, conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking and conspiring to commit computer hacking. With these charges, he could face a life sentence, which will be very tough for this 26 year old tech whiz.

Silk Road 2.0 has been operating since just after the closure of the original Silk Road back in October 2013. After the closure of the original Silk Road a swarm of new black market websites sprung up including the Silk Road 2.0, some of the other biggest markets are Agora Marketplace and Evolution Marketplace with Agora Marketplace offering the best feedback and also posting more listing than Silk Road 2.0.

Even though Silk Road 2.0 has been shut down there are tons of other black market websites that do exactly the same thing, this is just one fish in an ocean. By making this bust, law enforcement look like they have had a win to the public but I think it will not even make a dent in the new way of black markets. There will probably be a Silk Road 3.0 within weeks just like there was a Silk Road 2.0 within weeks of the original Silk Road being shut down.

I know that Law Enforcement cannot simply look the other way and do nothing about these black market websites, mainly due to all of the pressure from above about their “War on drugs” that has done nothing but fail, but they may need to soon ask themselves some questions that Law Enforcement probably don’t want to answer.

40-years-of-the-war-on-drugs

“What happens if they did shut down all of the black market websites and those drug deals all went back to the streets?”

“Is it safer for those deals to be done over the internet and via the post or in a dark alley or ghetto and running the risk of being assaulted or killed over a substance abuse problem?”

The real way forward should be to thing about treating the problem as a health issue and not a criminal one. If you treat the addiction and take away the demand, or at least drastically reduce it, then there will not be the problem we have today. Can you imagine if they spent all of the money they do today on the “War on drugs” and spent it on treatment?

>> Click here to find the best alternative: Agora Marketplace. <<

pharma

Nov 05

Silk Road 2.0 – Buying Is Every Bit As Safe

>> Click here to find the Silkroad URL and know how to get to the Silkroad 2.0 <<

131106102157-silk-road-black-market-2-620xaWhen the original Silk Road was shuttered down last year, most people thought that drug dealing on the Dark Net would finally cease to a halt, or at least, slow down for a while. But of course, they were wrong. Just a month after it was shutdown, Silk Road 2.0 came into being, supported by previous admins of the original marketplace and headed by a new “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

Now, the new site holds 5% more listings than its predecessor during the time it was busted by the FBI. Among the Dark Net marketplaces that sprouted up after the shutdown of the first Silk Road, it is one of the most popular, with more than 13,000 listings.

The Allure of the Dark Web’s Largest Drug Marketplace

web_gq_04Feb13_pr_b_642x390It’s not the anonymity that attracts most people to Silk Road 2.0, but the familiarity. The site, instead of looking like a shady Web 1.0 website, has a look and interface that is reminiscent of popular “legal” online marketplaces like EBay. It even has a cart and ratings system that seeks to make new buyers feel even more at home with the site.

Since the sellers on the site heavily depend on their ratings to stand out from the competition, they usually go above and beyond the usual buy-and-sell routine and would often offer discounts, specials, and free package delivery to their customers. This is something that you wouldn’t find in traditional drug deals on the street. Positive feedback is the oil that keeps the whole community going.

Making the Drug Market Safe

Researchers from the University of Montreal and the University of Manchester have also pointed out that marketplace on Silk Road 2.0 is free from the complications and violence that often accompany drug markets in real life. Cutting the traditional middlemen and transplanting the drug industry online seems to have put a positive spin on the whole marketplace and made it “safe” than doing a street deal.

At any rate, Silk Road 2.0 shows absolutely no signs of stopping at this point.

>> Click here to find the Silkroad URL and know how to get to the Silkroad 2.0 <<

Nov 05

US Senator Has Called For A Crackdown On The Dark Web

>> Click here to find the Silkroad URL and know how to get to the Silkroad 2.0 <<

Charles_Schumer_official_portraitRecently, United States Senator Charles Schumer, New York, called for a major crackdown on the dark web. Since the original Silkroad shutdown, he has been concerned about the presence of illicit marketplaces on the internet. Even though the government shut down Silkroad, there’s still a need to regulate the internet.

Charles Schumer wrote an open letter to the Attorney General Eric Holder. On 27th October, the letter was published by the Senator’s office. In the letter, Charles Schumer pledged to both continue the demand for increasing oversight on various technologies facilitating illicit activities, and secure extra funding for anti-dark web policies.

The letter mentioned that Bitcoin and Tor network work as the primary mechanisms used by anti-social elements, hackers and criminals to conceal drug trade around the world. In another statement, Schumer reported that he expects the United States Justice Department to make more efforts against illegal drug trade. He emphasized the need for additional funds.

Until now, the Senator from New York has sent some mixed messages about the digital currency industry. For instance, Charles Schumer has openly voice his opinions against Bitcoin. He even called this technology the primary tool for money launderers. However, about a year ago, Schumer tweeted about the promising future of the digital currency. In recent times, Schumer has refrained himself from giving any direct comments to the Press.

Schumer Voices Opinion Against the Dark Web

In the open letter to the Attorney General, the United States Senator reported that advanced encryption methods have allowed illicit marketplaces to easily function even after the Silkroad shutdown. In recent years, the number of websites like Silkroad offering illicit drug sales and purchases has grown substantially. The research was conducted after the Silkroad shutdown.

Schumer had some strong opinions about the dark web, and wanted the Attorney General to take strong action against the culprits. He even claimed that law enforcement agencies in both the United States and other countries weren’t doing enough to completely stop the threat. He said there weren’t enough people in authorities to target these illicit websites.

In a statement released to the Press, Schumer’s office said that the funding would go toward hiring a lot more cybercrime experts. They will be assigned specific positions at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department. These experts will also be assigned to jobs in various agencies in New York. Schumer called the situation a chronic staffing issue. He says such issues encourage drug traffickers using marketplaces like Silkroad.

Drug Markets like Silkroad Could Continue Rising

Dark webIt’s worth mentioning that the Senator’s letter didn’t outline any steps beyond asking for more funding to fight of the dark web. However, the New York Senator accepted that there were too many complications associated with the process of investigating any drug related crime. He even accepted that Federal authorities lack a lot of resources required to effectively address the issues.

According to Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Macquarie University, James Martin, there has been significant growth in dark web markets. In fact, the pattern is quite similar to general technological growth. Thus, Martin believes that online drug markets like Silkroad will continue to rise in future.

>> Click here to find the Silkroad URL and know how to get to the Silkroad 2.0 <<