Dec 19

Silk Road Judge’s Finding Narrows the Case Against Indicted Site’s Mastermind

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. <<

Ross_UlbrichtThe trial of the founder of Silkroad is scheduled to begin next month and federal prosecutors are likely to use narcotics sales carried out by the website as evidence against Ross Ulbricht. They may also present his fake IDs and emails related to murder-for-hire allegations. However, they cannot present each one of the illegal activities allegedly carried out by him on the website, according to the ruling given by a federal judge at a hearing this Wednesday. In fact, the findings of Katherine Forrest, a U.S. District Judge, narrow down the government’s case against the alleged Silkroad founder.

bitcoin_2848002bAccording to the indictment, the website Silkroad allegedly involved in anonymous, difficult-to-trace Bitcoin transactions and facilitated sales of hundreds of kilograms of not only illegal drugs, but also other illicit goods as well as services to more than hundred thousand buyers around the world. Additionally, prosecutors are of the belief that Dread Pirate Roberts is the pseudonym of the website’s owner.

In the final Silkroad pre-trail conference, Forrest said that the prosecutors are conspiring to provide too much evidence against Ulbricht. She added that the prosecutors’ theory is troubling and extraordinarily broad as the indictment presents a large number of wares under the same allegation.

Joshua Dratel, the lawyer representing the alleged Silkroad founder, had raised an objection to this aspect of the case as well and argued that this proved that Silkroad followed a hands-off approach when it came to what the website users sold. He compared the prosecution of the Silkroad to charging AT&T, or even landlords, for liaising with drug dealers using either their phones or living in the buildings owned by them.

Though Dratel has been successful in narrowing the scope of case against Ulbricht, he has been unsuccessful in barring some of the evidences against him that are more sensational. Forrest ruled that the fake IDs allegedly bought by Ulbricht on Silkroad make fair ground for trial and that evidence could be made use of to prove both his trial of a sampling of the goods and consciousness of guilt. However, the judge forbade both sides from making comments on the libertarian politics supposedly propounded by Ulbricht.

Dec 17

Silk Road Judge Has Allowed Prosecutors Not To Disclose Their Witnesses

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. <<

imagesThe trial of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 5, 2015, but the judge presiding over the Silk Road case, New York district court judge Katherine Forrest has decided to allow the prosecutors not to disclose the identities of their witnesses until January 2, 2015, the Friday before the scheduled start of the trial.

 

Forrest_Katherine_B.jpgAccording to the explanation provided by Judge Forrest, her reason for not allowing the disclosure of the witnesses is due to the fact that Mr. Ulbricht could arrange to have them harmed or murdered before the trial, if their identities are revealed. The move was a response to a request filed by the prosecution to have the names of the witnesses redacted; they cited FBI reports that Mr. Ulbricht had paid to have six people murdered. One of the people Mr. Ulbricht allegedly paid to have murdered was a former Silk Road employee, and he allegedly contracted an undercover DEA agent to do the job, paying him $80,000.

 

Mr. Ulbricht’s defense attorneys argued against the request to withhold the names of the witnesses, because it would make it more difficult for them to prepare for the case, and also because he has been in jail with limited contact with the outside world since he was arrested, and he also doesn’t have access to email, so it would be nearly impossible to do anything to the witnesses because of those reasons.

 

In response to the defense’s objections, Judge Forrest wrote that despite being imprisoned with limited access to the outside world, Mr. Ulbricht could still find a way to get in touch with contacts on the outside, that could harm the witnesses, because there have been many cases in the past, with defendants in similar situation that have been able to find ways to intimidate or harm people that were going to testify against them.

Dec 15

Alleged Silk Road Founder Charged With Murder-For-Hire Scheme

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. <<

ulbricht-thumbRoss Ulbricht, the alleged founder of the Silk Road, an online black market site known for selling illegal drugs was arrested and prosecuted for running the site, attempted to arrange the murders of at least six people. One of the six persons is his employee whom he believed had stolen bitcoins worth $350,000. Also, the prosecution believe that he solicited the murder of one “Friendly Chemist”, one of the vendors on the site who threatened to blackmail him by revealing the personal identities of the Silk Road customers and vendors. It is alleged that he demanded a $500,000 bribe or else he would publish the information.

To support the claims, the prosecutors intend to use one of the emails that Ulbricht sent which stated that Friendly Chemist was a liability and should be executed immediately. Despite the fact that these alleged murder-for-hire plots are not currently included in the government’s indictment, the federal prosecutors in New York as seeking to use them as evidence when his trial commences on January 5th. The government argues that Ross Ulbricht planned to use the murders to safeguard the criminal enterprise from the authorities.

curtis_green_silk_roadAnother case against him in Maryland charged him for hiring and paying an undercover federal agent $80,000 as payment to torture and murders a former leading administrator in the Silk Road drug emporium, Curtis Clark Green. The prosecutors in this case stated that federal agents indeed staged his murder and even took photos of the mock torture and murder. In fact, most of the images including some that showed a corpse were sent to Ulbricht as prove that the former administrator had been executed.

Even though the murders were not carried out, the prosecutors believe that Ross intended them to happen and would not hesitate to use violence to silence witnesses and protect his criminal activities. Electronic communication evidence that was retrieved from his laptop will be used as evidence once the case commences.

Dec 12

Number of Bidders Declines In Second US Marshals Bitcoin Auction

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 Silkroad 2.0. Silkroad 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

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

United States Marshals ServiceThe latest data released by United States Marshals Service (USMS) on the auction of 50,000 bitcoins (BTC) seized from alleged SilkRoad owner Ross Ulbricht states that there has been a decline in the total number of bidders in the second bitcoin auction held on December 4, 2014, compared to the first SilkRoad auction held in June. This data was distributed via email by USMS since it is the agency entrusted with administering sale of confiscated property from federal law enforcement agencies.

bitcoinsA total of 45 registered bidders placing up to 63 bids is what the first Silkroad bitcoin auction experienced apart from the widespread coverage by the US media, which experts depict had a considerable effect on the bitcoin market. When you compare this to December 4th 50,000 BTC auction (roughly $18.6m), where only 11 registered bidders participated in the auction submitting just 27 bids, which was less than half what was submitted on the first auction. Registered bidders decreased by a massive 75% while the total number of bids went down by 57%.

Some of the experts have argued that the low turnout in the second Silkroad bitcoin auction was as a result of the lesser bidding window, which was six hours less (8 am – 2 pm) compared to the 12 hour period issued in June (6 am – 6 pm).

Bitcoin’s investment community earlier came forward to report that the interest in the SilkRoad BTC had declined among its members arguing that the general decrease in complexity when it comes to buying large blocks on open market may have contributed to the lack of interest.

Increased participation by companies in bitcoins bidder syndicates is also considered to be a possible reason for the decline with the December 4th auction having at least 2 syndicates take part. This was less from June’s bitcoin auction. The good news is that the USMS auction had little or no effect on bitcoin price, which went down by almost 1% on CoinDesk BPI. According to the USMS, there is an additional 94,000 Silkroad bitcoins to be auctioned in a few months’ time. The official date is yet to be released.

Dec 10

New Deep Web Site “Map Dealers” Launches Online

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. <<

FBI-Seized-Silk-Road-WebsiteAfter the emergence and shutdown of Silk Road, drug dealers don’t seem to want to leave the usage of the internet. They have taken onlineto advertisetheir whereabouts and services. This is more likely to interest the law enforcement agencies. A site calling itself “Map Dealers Legalise World” has recently appeared and is giving users a chance to advertise their drug businesses online.

The site works just like a Google Maps interface where users can willingly add themselves to it. They can also include information on the kind of businesses they are dealing with along with the contact information. The site show the exact areas in which their businesses are located so that buyers around such areas can easily access them. For now, everything seems to be working on the side of the law. Unlike Silk Road which had transactions taking place, this site has no transaction taking place. This site looks like a new part of the deep web where criminal activities used to occur.

online_drugsIt claims to list sellers who only deal with cannabis, which has become legal in several parts of the world. However, there are some listings appearing with some other offers of drugs. Some dealers on this new site have been singing praises for the kind of products they sell. One user is quoted saying, “This product is grown under the African sun in the deep mountains of Swaziland. Outdoor grown weed is known to have some deep color”.

The question that people ask themselves is whether the site will last for long. The users of Silk Road lost some bitcoins when the site was shut down. However, online drug dealers may find the introductory nature of this site more suiting. Will authorities find who is behind it and shut it down? Only time can tell the legit of this new site.

Dec 08

Mother Of Alleged Silk Road Mastermind Blasts US Drug War And The Growing Scope Of Online Surveillance

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_road01If you have been paying attention at all to the darker fringes of the internet, there is a good chance that you have heard of the Silk Road. This website hidden in an anonymous area of the web has caused quite the stir recently, including a rather high profile bust by US authorities.

 

19-DREAD-JP3-articleLargeLyn Ulbricht’s Son Ross was arrested in San Francisco in 2013 for allegedly being the mastermind behind the Silk Road. The site according to some was a bastion for private drug deals and even hiring hit men. It used the virtual currency bitcointo make transactions difficult to trace. Needless to say a site like this will attract the attention of the authorities.

Lyn has had a lot to say about the recent events that include her son. She was recently at a gathering of interested people to discuss the dark web, including sites like the Silk Road, and the increasing scope of government spying and surveillance. She defended her son claiming that prosecutors were making unfounded allegations of murder against her son. She said that they have effectively “poisoned the trial”.

She was also critical of the US Governments controversial War on Drugs. She discussed wondering if it has simply been a great excuse to expand the prison systems, referring to it as a “prison industrial complex”. She added that if this was the goal they have been successful at achieving it.

Her blasting of the US Authorities included delving into online surveillance and privacy. She accused the FBI of using illegal methods of gaining entry to the servers that ran the Silk Road, including hacking their way in. Overall, the conversation showed how law enforcement’s tries to police a borderless online realm and called the US Authorities out for continuing to increase the areas that it places under its blanket of surveillance.

Dec 05

Alleged Silk Road Moderator Faces Life In Prison

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. <<

0Peter Philip Nash who is alleged to have conspired to sell substantial quantities of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in the seized dark net bazaar, Silkroad, is being held in a New York jail awaiting trial. The 41 year old Australian was handed over to the US authority in late November 2014 and faces the possibility of life imprisonment in an American jail system if found guilty of the charges.

 
 
 

generic-australian-federal-police-dataNash who is a former behavioral scientist at Wacol Prison in Queensland allegedly used the online pseudonyms “Same same but different” and ”Batman73 while operating Silkroad. He was arrested in December 2013 by the Australian Federal Police following an indictment released by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ wanted Mr. Nash for conspiracy to launder money, narcotics trafficking and computer hacking.

The Brisbane man is being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, awaiting his court appearance early December 2014. He is accused of being the Silkroad primary moderator and earned between US$50000 and US$75000 for his troubles according to his charge sheets.

The alleged former Silkroad moderator faces charges of narcotics conspiracy which carry a compulsory minimum of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. He also faces a count each of conspiracy to launder money and commit computer hacking. These two charges carry maximum jail terms of twenty years and five years respectively.

A leading New York prosecutor announced the unsealing of Mr. Nash’s indictment in 2013 along with those of Silkroad other conspirators Andrew Jones of Virginia and Gary Davis of Ireland. Away from providing a dark net platform for individuals who dealt in drugs, Silkroad also provided an avenue for the sale of hacking software including key loggers, password stealers as well as remote access tools.

Nash’s court documents say that during the time he oversaw the running of Silkroad, the bazaar offered an avenue for thousands of drug dealers to traffic in illicit drugs.

Dec 03

Familiar Participants Will Be Taking Part Once Again In The Second US Marshals Bitcoin Auction

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. <<

1108_bitcoins-2_650x4551-e1416250211967The US government’s planned second auction to liquidate 50000 bitcoins its agencies seized from the alleged mastermind of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, seems to draw a parallel with the initial auction. This follow up action is attracting the same buyers who took part in the initial offer of 30000 bitcoins, also seized from the alleged dark net bazaar.

Some of the noteworthy participants who took part in the initial sale and are expected to make another dash in the sophomore auction include Bitcoin Investment Trust, Binary Financial, Pantera Capital, Bitcoins Reserve, Mirror and American venture capitalist Timothy Cook, known in the bitcoin circles as Tim Draper. It appears the two overwhelming reasons for participation are financial strategy and media attention though many bidders admit the auction may receive a little less of the latter as compared to past sales.

ii0woatEbvSkStrategy is still important considering the interest bitcoins continue to generate as a preferred investment opportunity. Bitcoin’s maturing market however makes auctions less and less advantageous and this is even more so now that the currency’s customer base has slightly gone down.

The 50000 Silk Road bitcoins to be offered in this second auction is only about a third of what was seized from Ulbricht. The US Marshals Service confirms it will sell the remaining in days to come though it has not set a date. Despite the auction, the liquid proceeds are still a subject of courtroom contests as the alleged Silk Road mastermind says he obtained the currency through lawful means.

About five bitcoin powerhouses are on record with public announcements alluding to their participation in this second auction. Tim Draper’s reasons for his interest in Silk Road’s heist are attractive market price coupled with the currency’s potential as a distortive technology. One participant in the summer auction who would prefer to stay away from this second offer citing important other important reasons as the cause, is Bitcoin Shop.

Dec 01

How Coinalytics May Have Mapped Silk Road Transactions

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-logoThe Silk Road was a famous, or infamous, online business that allowed people to buy illegal drugs. Some people saw it as a place of freedom, while others saw it as a lawless gutter. Whatever the views that people had of it, it was riding the front wave of private shopping online. One way it allowed for privacy was the use of the crypto currency bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a form of online currency that prides itself in security and privacy for its users and transactions. This made it a perfect fit for a place like the Silk Road. However, it appears that there are ways of actually mapping out transactions and one company, Coinalytics, claims to have done just that with supposed Silkroad transactions. Not only can they map out transactions, there are claims of associating people with these transactions.

coinalytics-4-638They do this by using the way that bitcoin tracks transactions. In essence, there is something called the Block chain with bitcoin. This is a transaction database that also contains a hash of the previous block of transactions. Using this information and some sophisticated analytical software it is possible to track transactions from start to finish claims Coinalytics. They claim they can also build identifiable profiles.

This does not stop at simply gathering a list of transactions according to Coinalytics. Using a starting Bitcoin address, they claim to have mapped out an entire supposed Silkroad transaction. They analyzed the starting address and found a cluster of related transactions and the address of the other participant. With simply a starting address they could be able to track any number of transactions that are involved with that address.

To people who take their online shopping privacy seriously, this could be some bad news. If Coinalytics claims are accurate, then any transaction that was done with the Silk Road using bitcoin may be able to be mapped.

Nov 27

Many Of The Darknet Sites Seized In Operation Onymous Were Clone Sites

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 Silkroad 2.0. Silkroad 3.0 is ALREADY live and there will be more info about it here soon.

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

Laptop-computer-with-crime-scene-tape-across-it-via-shutterstock-800x430-300x161After law enforcement took down the original Silkroad, the Dark Web made a vengeful comeback through the establishment of Silkroad 2.0 and a bunch of other Dark Web websites. However, several of these sites have also been taken down in a joint operation between the FBI and Europol a few weeks ago. However, it is emerging that a large number of the 414 sites involved in this operation were ‘clones’. The grim realization has forced Europol to admit that it has seized only about two dozen sites, including Silkroad 2.0. This means that the actual black market sites remain operational while their clones fell into the hands of the law enforcers.

How did this happen?

Unlike in the past, law enforcement authorities targeted servers hosting Tor hidden sites rather than targeting specific sites and then trying to determine their identity as was the case with Silkroad. Luckily, this operation helped nab several sites. However, it seems that a bot called “Onion Cloner” targeting Dark Web sites would make clones of actual black market sites in an attempt to steal passwords and intercept Bitcoin transactions. Consequently, the FBI ended up seizing these clone sites instead of the actual sites. It is possible that all Onion Cloner sites were affected by this operation. Operation Onymous was however, able to seize about $1m in bitcoins, gold, silver, narcotics, and 180,000 Euros in cash.

Conclusion

photo-mainThe Dark Web is notorious for its spirited comebacks after every significant sting operation, as evidenced by the establishment of Silkroad 2.0. However, this time it seems that the online black market has dodged the greatest attempt to cripple its operations since the original Silkroad was taken off the web, and the presence of clone sites created by a bot in an attempt to steal from users of Tor hidden sites. Although Silkroad 2.0 has been taken down, the online black market remains largely unaffected.