Feb 25

Silk Road Closure Make Darknet Activities Harder To Track

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silkroad Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silkroad 2.0. The new site is called Silkroad Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silkroad Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silkroad 2.0.

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

Screen-shot-2013-10-24-at-9.58.19-PMIn October 2013, the FBI took down the original Silkroad site and proclaimed a huge breakthrough against the darknet illegal markets. But, only months after the closure of Silkroad, the number of such sites was higher than ever. It is being reported that the takedown of the online illegal drug marketplace Silkroad has made it harder to track criminals on the Dark Web.

According to a report published by the Global Commission on Internet Governance, increased scrutiny on the Tor network and higher monitoring of the internet is making criminals more careful in hiding their tracks warned by the epic SilkRoad shutdown.

0The seizure of Silkroad and the conviction of Silkroad mastermind, Ross Ulbricht, may make it harder for law enforcement agencies to track criminal activities on the dark web. These sites have operated with such indemnity for so long because their servers are running on non-standard protocols encrypting in and out of the website. That makes it extremely difficult to locate the servers physically, thereby making it hard to shut them down. Thus, these sites are having large amount of illegal drug market activities and transactions.

The authorities are trying to work out a way to bring these sites down. Those involved in the world of darknet will surely be attempting to figure out what happened already, what were the possible security flaws and how can they be patched up again. Thus, more darknet sites are re-appearing after Silkroad getting down, as the dark web experts began working out innovative ways to evade detection.

It would be to conclude that instead of putting a halt to the dark web activities, the Silkroad closure has led to a surprising acceleration of the same.

Feb 23

Third Bitcoin Auction Seized From Silk Road

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silk Road Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silk Road 2.0. The new site is called Silk Road Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silkroad Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silkroad 2.0.

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

Bitcoins SeizedOn Wednesday, the U.S. government said that it is planning to auction the bitcoins seized from Silk Road, the online black market, for the third time. The decision is to auction as much as 50,000 bitcoins. The auction to be conducted by the Marshals Service in the U.S. on March 5, 2015 is the third auction of the seized bitcoins. In an email statement, the Marshals Service said that the winners of the auction will be notified on the next day.

The auction of the seized bitcoins follows the February 4 criminal conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the Silk Road which according to prosecutors, allowed customers to buy as well as sell drugs and several other illegal goods without the knowledge of the law enforcement agencies. The federal jury in Manhattan found the 30-year old Ross Ulbricht, who ran the Silk Road under the false name “Dread Pirate Roberts”, guilty of enabling approximately $200 million worth of online narcotics dealings using bitcoins. Ulbricht’s website, the Silk Road, was closed down in October 2013.

indexFederal agents had seized 29,655 bitcoins at the time of closing down the Silk Road. The bitcoins seized from the server (buyers and sellers had stored the currency in the server) is worth approximately $7.2 million as of now. The government had seized as much as 144,336 bitcoins from Ulbricht’s computers. This is now valued at $35 million. In January, a judge had ordered that the bitcoins seized from Ulbricht be sold.

According to the Marshals Service, the bitcoins will be offered in blocks each of 2,000 and 3,000 bitcoins. Therefore, there will 10 blocks of 2,000 bitcoins and 10 blocks of 3,000 bitcoins. Bidders who want to participate in the auction must register by March 2, 2015.

The online virtual currency bitcoins has lost as much as 80% of its value after hitting a peak of $1,147.25 on December 4, 2013. On Thursday, the virtual currency was traded at $242 on bitcoin exchanges.

Feb 22

Meth Dealer Pleaded Guilty To Drug And Money Laundering

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silk Road Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silk Road 2.0. The new site is called Silk Road Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silk Road Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silk Road 2.0.

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

jason_weld_hagen_360_382_90Jason Weld Hagen, known by the name “hammertime” on the Silk Road, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to his role in selling 17 pounds of methamphetamine and money laundering conspiracy. The 40-year old man from Vancouver who holds a doctorate degree in philosophy from the Purdue University was charged along with three others from Washington in December 2013 for conspiring to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine apart from several counts of money laundering.

Hammertime was arrested two months after the Fed seized the servers of the Silk Road in Iceland and arrested the mastermind of the darknet marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, in October 2013. He and the other three had then pleaded not guilty. However, two weeks after the conviction of Ulbricht for creating the Silk Road, Hagen has pleaded guilty to 2 out of the 19 charges. For the first charge, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment with a minimum of 10 years of mandatory jail term and five years of supervised release. For the second charge, the maximum sentence is imprisonment for 20 years. According to Hagen, he has provided the affidavit in order to help the government seize the proceeds of his illegal activities.

BitcoinFurther, Hagen has explained in the affidavit that he used Tor for his communications with his customers and accepted payments in bitcoin for the meth he sold during the period from August 2012 to December 2013. He has also clarified that bitcoin was exchanged for dollars and money was distributed to his allies through PayPal and several bank accounts. As explained in the affidavit, they have made more than 3,000 sales worldwide including in the UK, Canada, Australia, Czech Republic and Italy.

By pleading guilty, Hagen forfeits as much as $712,916.12 to the government. This includes his earnings from drug sales and the money that the Feds seized when he was arrested. Hagen was to be tried one year ago. However, it got delayed and on February 4 he requested a plea hearing after Ulbricht’s conviction. The plea hearing was held on Tuesday. The judgment is to be pronounced on May 27, 2015.

Feb 18

What Is The Impact Of The Silk Road Trial On Bitcoin?

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silkroad Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silk Road 2.0. The new site is called Silk Road Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silkroad Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silkroad 2.0.

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

What Is The Impact Of The Silk Road Trial On Bitcoin?Popular culture has considered the crack-down on illicit darknet sites by the US government an indication that Bitcoin, the choice currency for transactions on online black market sites such as Silk Road, is open to exploitation by criminals looming in the dark recesses of the web. The logic for this conclusion is quite damaging to the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, and quite misleading.

It turns out that the Silkroad trial had a very small impact on bitcoin. If anything, it is the digital currency that had a significant impact on the Silk Road trial. After all, without this digital currency, the Silk Road would have essentially being a regular criminal trial about a marketplace that dealt in contraband and other illegal services. So, bitcoin made the trial more interesting.

BitcoinThe trial may have in fact helped bitcoin gain legitimacy. When Silkroad founder was nabbed and millions of bitcoins seized from him, it was demonstrated that bitcoin is not an easy way for online criminals to avoid the rule of law. Bitcoin can no longer be considered as a currency that favors criminals because of its alleged impenetrable anonymity. Bitcoin blockchains leave a trace, and this means that the identity of the users can ultimately be established.

Frankly, despite what most people think, the Silk Road has not ruined bitcoin’s public perception. The trial has proven that bitcoin is a legitimate currency that does not favor the sprouting of online criminal enterprises by offering perfect anonymity. Because of this trial, people now realize that bitcoin transactions can be traced, and this means that criminals can still face the law. Law enforcement authorities just have to learn the technicalities of this technology and eventually gain the skills required to enforce the rule of law where for crimes involving the use of bitcoins.

Feb 18

Programmer Wants To Auction User Details And Source Code

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silkroad Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silkroad 2.0. The new site is called Silkroad Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silkroad Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silkroad 2.0.

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

A man alleging to be the former chief programmer of Silkroad 2.0 has threatened to auction off user account details and source code of the now defunct site to “Darkleaks”, a new black market for buying and selling information. The man who goes by the name of SRDouglas has announced that the deal would take place via his anonymous account, and the highest bidder would walk away with the valuable data.

FBI-Seized-Silk-Road-WebsiteThis individual says that from Nov. 2013 till the day that FBI agents seized Silkroad 2.0 in 2014, he secretively oversaw the website’s operations from behind the curtains and also managed to decode its primary servers. SRDouglas claims that he was paid 1,200 BTC for the services rendered, based on a comment he left on virtual chat forum Bitcoin Talk.

The programmer expressed sentiments that he had been sitting on a massive database backup system consisting of valid usernames and hashed passwords of 476,122 active subscribers, 145,493 transaction records, 52,481 private messages, 51,490 depositing addresses, 13,280 brand listings and 7,756 plain-text passwords,including the entire Silkroad 2.0 source code.

silk-road-bitcoin-auction-1000x520To prove the validity of his Silkroad auction, the man has already leaked a basic text file which has the 476,122 account details even though passwords have not yet been provided for security purposes. Only hashes are available for those who may want to view this information. He’s also releasing 10/100 chunks at specific sections of the main sequence blockchain. SRDouglas is available for online comments or deals at the Reddit platform, plus at a fee he’s also willing to spilt-up information from the defunct Silkroad 2.0 website.

Initially the man wants to sell off database of all the available Silkroad usernames, and if that auction process goes on successfully other files would soon follow up. Before a client pays money for the Darkleaks file, a random collection of segments would be released having been specifically chosen by the block chain. This is done to determine whether the contents match with the leaker’s claims.

Feb 13

The Technologies That Led To The Demise Of Silk Road

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silk Road Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silkroad 2.0. The new site is called Silk Road Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silkroad Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silkroad 2.0.

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

It is a well-known fact that the greatest joint operation between various world governments to cripple the Internet underworld late last year, Operation Onymous, has done little to dampen darknet activity. This obviously brings up one important issue: what made Silkroad fall into the hands of law enforcers while its peers continued to elude relentless crackdown efforts by law enforcement authorities? More specifically, what technologies led to the Silk Road demise?

1. Digital Currency TechnologyindexThere is one reason why Bitcoin is the major currency in the Internet underworld – its anonymity. But, as it turns out, bitcoin can also leave a digital trail, which can sometimes be traced until it can reveal the identity of the sender or the receiver. Ross Ulbricht, thecreatorof Silkroad, had a difficult time denying that he was receiving payments in terms of bitcoins from the illicit site.

The government investigators were able to show that Ulbricht received millions of dollars in bitcoin payments from the Silk Road because the said payments could be traced back to his personal laptop. Verifying that the payments from Silkroad were indeed made to Ulbricht was not actually that hard. A simple comparison of Bitcoin wallet addresses from the site’s servers and the addresses from his computer helped make the irrefutable conclusion that the Silk Road payments were indeed made to him.

2. Tor Hidden Service Protocol Technology

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Although Tor is remarkable at hiding a site’s identity, including location and information related to people who partake in its construction, there are still loopholes that can be exploited, leading to closure or identification of private information behind Tor sites by law enforcement authorities. The same thing happened with the Silk Road crack down. The FBI was able to penetrate the anonymity barriers that Tor gave to the Silkroad site and identify the location of the Silk Road servers in Iceland. With Silk Road 2.0, the FBI was also able to take down the site by attacking Tor.

3. Centralized Server Technology

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Most sites, darknet or not, have centralized servers that hold information about them. This technology resulted in trouble for the Silk Road marketplace since the police were able to track the location of the servers and take the site down in addition to seizing the information needed to link it to its creator, Ross Ulbricht.

4. Email Technology

indexThis may come as a surprise, but Ulbricht’s email account had a lot to do with the seizure of Silkroad. Ross used his email address, rossulbricht at gmail dot com, to post on various forums under the alias of Dread Pirate Roberts. Unfortunately, the email address was also attached to a LinkedIn account and a Google Plus account, which lead to uncovering of Ulbricht’s true identity. The email had records of Ross buying a laptop on Amazon, the same laptop that was seized from him by FBI, and even a photo of himself.

Conclusion

The very technologies that the Silkroad site was founded on eventually led to its demise. For instance, its choice currency, Bitcoin, which offers considerable anonymity to users, left digital traces that linked Ulbricht to Silk Road. Additionally, weaknesses in the Tor network resulted in revelation of the site’s server locations. Other technologies that failed Silk Road include email technology, through which the FBI unveiled Ulbricht’s identity as the mastermind behind the Silkroad marketplace and centralized servers, which resulted in authorities seizing all information regarding Silkroad and several bitcoins.

Feb 11

Arrested Silk Road Dealer Pleads Guilty To Drug Dealing

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silkroad Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silkroad 2.0. The new site is called Silkroad Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silkroad Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silkroad 2.0.

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

131108194733-t-silk-road-rebuilt-00001924-620x348David Lawrence Handel, age 26, of Columbus, Ohio has pleaded guilty to dealing drugs through Silkroad website, an online black market for users to sell as well as buy false identifications, narcotics and other contraband online.

According to Handel’s plea agreement, he contacted buyers of methylone, and other drugs through Silkroad. Handel accepted to receive payment electronically through Silkroad and shipped the drugs through the United States Postal Service to his customers in Maryland, throughout U.S. and in other countries.

In 2012, federal agents in Maryland who were assigned to an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) made a few undercover drug purchases on Silkroad, including methylone, from David Lawrence Handel, who then shipped the drugs to Maryland.

He is one of a few drug dealers that federal agents were carefully watching before Silkroad was shut down in 2013.

On August 21, 2012, United States Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package containing synthetic drugs that came from China and was addressed to David Lawrence Handel in Columbus, Ohio. Handel picked up the package the following day from his local post office then was arrested by federal agents as he left the post office with the synthetic drugs. Handel also had a Glock pistol strapped to his ankle then another firearm inside his car. Federal agents also recovered additional drugs that included more than six hundred grams of methylone from his apartment, as well as3 more firearms.

shutterstock_99250625-300x199When he was arrested, Handel confessed to being a well-established drug dealer on Silkroad. He admitted purchasing synthetic drugs from his supplier in China, and having them shipped to him through U.S. mail. Handel also admitted that he spent $ 4,800 on his recent shipment from China which he intended to sell to buyers on Silkroad.

Handel faces up to twenty years in prison for trafficking drugs; and a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of life in prison for carrying as well as using a firearm in relation to trafficking drugs. Chief United States District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled Handel’s sentencing for May 15, 2015 at 12:00 p.m.

Feb 05

Creator Of Silk Road Found Guilty On All Charges

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silk Road Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silk Road 2.0. The new site is called Silk Road Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silk Road Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silk Road 2.0.

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

0Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the original Silk Road has been convicted on Wednesday on multiple criminal charges, most of which were narcotics related. He was convicted for his role in running an underground marketplace that allowed for about $200million of drug sales using a virtual currency called Bitcoin.

The 30-year-old was convicted by a Manhattan federal jury on all of the 7 counts that were put against him, following a more than three-week trial that came about of the U.S. investigations of the use of the virtual currency bitcoin for drug trafficking and other offenses.

The jury consisted of six women and six men, who took more than three hours of deliberation, has found Ulbricht guilty of charges that included computer hacking, conspiracies to commit money laundering and drug trafficking.

Ulbricht has now found himself facing up to life in prison. Many people have shown support for Ulbricht’s cause, including some who suggest that the U.S. government is actively attacking Internet freedom.

After the verdict had been read out, Ulbricht faced towards his supporters and lifted up his hand as he left his trial. One of the supporters in the court shouted that Ulbricht was a “hero”.

The illegal drug marketplace had been running from around January 2011 up until October 2013, at which point the site was seized by authorities and Ulbricht was arrested in San Francisco.

According to the prosecutors, Ulbricht had been operating the darknet site under the name of “Dread Pirate Roberts”, an alias that he took from a movie called “The Princes Bride”. (1987).

The entire operation of the site was reliant upon the Tor network, which enables its users to communicate anonymously, and took payments through bitcoins, which assisted in hiding the locations and identities of people that bought products.

FBI-Seized-Silk-Road-WebsiteBy the time Silk Road was shut down, it had apparently managed to generate almost $214million in sales, which consisted of around $13.2million of profit.

Prosecutors told of how Ross Ulbricht was taking radical moves to defend Silk Road, calling for the murder of those that posed a threat to his operation. Despite that accusation, there is no evidence for the murders being carried out.

Ulbricht admitted to creating the Silk Road website, and Joshua Dratel, his lawyer said that the intention was for the marketplace to be a “free market site” where everything aside from a handful of dangerous items could be sold and bought by users.

However, Dratel went on to say that the site had become too much of a stress for Ulbricht to run, prompting him to hand it over to other people. Ulbricht then said that he had been lured back towards its end, afterwards claiming that he was a scapegoat for the real operators of the underground marketplace.

A prosecutor then called Ulbricht out, saying that his claims were “absurd” because of the substantial amount of evidence that suggested that he had been running the Silk Road website from its beginning to its end.

Feb 05

Ulbricht Not To Testify On His own Defense

ANNOUNCEMENT: Well it has happened! Another Silk Road Darknet Market has spawned after the demise of Silk Road 2.0. The new site is called Silk Road Reloaded and is utilizing different technology than its predecessors therefore a new guide for Silk Road Reloaded will be coming soon. In the meantime Agora Marketplace is still alive and kicking bigger than ever with more listings than Silk Road 2.0.

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

Ross UlbrichtRoss Ulbricht, the 30-year old alleged mastermind behind the online black market the Silk Road will not be testifying in his own defense. That decision had been put off by Ross Ulbricht and his lawyers, but U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest asked Ross about it directly on Monday, after the U.S. government wrapped up its case against him. Ross Ulbricht replied “I am not going to testify, Your Honor”.

Some legal experts have said that putting the alleged mastermind of the Silk Road on the witness stand would be a perilous decision, since it would leave him vulnerable to a tough cross examination by the U.S. government prosecutors. But Ulbricht is allowed to change his mind on Tuesday as his defense lawyers continue to put on their case.

On Monday,the defense called its first three witnesses, all of whom said that they knew Ulbricht, the alleged ringleader of the Silk Road since his childhood in Austin, Texas, and testified to his “gentle” and “kind” nature. But Ross Ulbricht’s case was dealt a blow due to the fact that the two expert witnesses that Ross Ulbricht’s lawyers wanted to testify will not be permitted to do so. Judge Katherine Forrest forbade both of them from talking to the jury. Ulbricht’s defense lawyers wanted to call Steven Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor to testify on a wide variety of computer issues and Andreas Antonopoulos, an information security expert to testify as a Bitcoin expert.

Forrest_KatherineJudge Forrest criticized Ulbricht’s defense for not giving adequate lead time on the witnesses and said that disclosures on both expert witnesses were essentially too late, too little. Forrest also said that Ulbricht’s defense late disclosure about the experts was “a tactical choice” and that the possibility that defendant may want to call expert witnesses was long known.

Closing arguments in the Ross Ulbricht’s trial, which began three weeks ago, are expected to take place on Tuesday, and the jury of six women and six men could begin deliberating as early as Wednesday.

Feb 04

Anonymizing Service Tor Was Not Compromised, According To Developers

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. <<

unmasking-tor-browser-userWith the take down of Silkroad 2.0, it has made many Tor users worried as to whether the anonymizing service Tor was compromised. Whenever a Tor hidden service is taken off the internet, it brings up speculation as to whether the take down was made possible via vulnerability in Tor or poor operations security (OPSEC). This in turn has caused concerns to arise with many users worried about whether the browsing system is a safe place to continue private communications away from the authority’s prying eyes.

In response of these concerns, which were heightened more-so in 2014, Tor Project’s Roger Dingledine and Jacob Appelbaum wanted to reassure users that Tor was not compromised during the Silkroad takedown operation. In a statement released it was said:

“The authorities want to scare you into making you believe that Tor doesn’t work properly when in fact it really does, and that is a problem for them.”

Screen-shot-2013-10-24-at-9.58.19-PMDuring the Chaos Communication Congress, both Dingledine and Appelbaum wanted to reassure Tor users that the service was not compromised by explaining how Silkroad 2.0 was taken down. With inside knowledge and help from law enforcement personnel, Dingledine was able to let users know the details of the taken down.

“From what I was told, apparently a Silkroad 2.0 guy had written his name down somewhere, and the authorities found out, brought him in, and questioned him. Once the interrogation started the man started naming names. Apparently there were a total of 16 names and the authorities were about to arrest all those people, along with collecting their computers. After this, authorities sent out a press release saying they were successful in their Tor attack.”

In other words, Dingledine and Appelbaum still state that Tor wasn’t compromised in anyway during the Silkroad 2.0 takedown. That in fact, that incident was actually caused by one person’s mistake which caused repercussions. Overall Dingledine and Appelbaum have said the Tor is still and will continue to be a safe haven for private communication.