Silk Road Online

It was a different time for Darknet marketplaces back in 2013. The whole idea of a centralized marketplace for something like drugs was not as accepted as it is today, at least not until Silk Road stepped up to the plate.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts

DPRSilk Road was the first “real” drug marketplace on Darknet and one of the pioneers of the idea that drugs could be sold and bought over the internet anonymously. It was established by a man called Ross Ulbricht, known to many as “Dread Pirate Roberts” and his associates. Aside from the fact that this was the first Darknet Marketplace of this size, what separated it from other contenders at that time was Dread Pirate Roberts’ philosophy of standing up against the system and proving that drug consumption and trafficking can be done peacefully and safely. One of the main reasons for Silk Road’s existence at that time was to allow people who wanted to purchase illegal drugs, to do so without fearing for their safety.

The Bust

This went on until October 2nd, 2013 when an FBI Seizure Notice replaced the usual Silkroad login screen. Shortly after that, different speculations started circling the Darknet about what was the full story behind this. Most prominent theories were that either Dread Pirate Roberts was arrested, or he ran off with everyone’s money. There were some who still clung to hope that this was just a prank pulled by the site’s admins, but this was soon dispelled by the confirmation of the news that Ross Ulbricht has been arrested on the charges pertaining to running Silk Road.

What followed after could be very well described as a fall of a nation. Mass panic among the Darknet community ensued and many people were justifiably worried about their personal data and whether it was safe. Luckily, most of the buyers from Silkroad were not persecuted but were left with a difficult situation nonetheless. What was to be done now? Without Silk Road where will they purchase the goods that were so readily available to them just a few days ago?

Aftermath

People, who will in time be called “Silk Road refugees,” now had to find a new marketplace that will replace the hole that the site left. This was a period of many scams, one of the most well-known ones being the Sheep Marketplace scam. On the flip side, after the owner of Sheep Marketplace disappeared with estimated 40 million dollars in Bitcoin, a post appeared on the front page of Sheep Marketplace with several .onion links directing to other “trustworthy” marketplaces. The result of this was that not only Sheep Marketplace was shut down due to exit scam, but TorMarket and Black Market Reloaded also had to turn into invite-only marketplaces because their servers could not handle the sudden influx of people from Silk Road and Sheep Marketplace.

Silk Road 2.0

After the fall of Silkroad, some of the admins and prominent vendors refused to “give up” and decided to revive the site as it once was. The alias “Dread Pirate Roberts” was picked up by one of the well-known vendors from the site StExo. He then met with several mods and admins from the site to discuss its revival and even posted a notice on Silkroad forums telling Dread Pirate Roberts to contact him as soon as possible. Many speculated that this was an attempt to make the authorities believe they have a wrong person, or at least that “Dread Pirate Roberts” was not a single person, to begin with.

The Crew

Ross UlbrichtAfter establishing himself as a successor to Dread Pirate Roberts, StExo rallied a group of now-former Silkroad admins and decided that their first course of action was to create a new place of gathering for Silkroad refugees. The people assisting StExo were accurately described as “a colorful bunch,” but they all shared the idea that Silk Road was not dead for good.

Among the group was Scout, a former moderator of Silkroad forum, who was well known and well liked by the community, but had a history of “betraying his captain.” He has been discovered by Dread Pirate Roberts to be conspiring with an undercover federal agent to create a vendor account in an attempt to infiltrate Silk Road. He was laid off because of this and later reinstated just to be fired again, followed by another reinstatement under a different moniker.

Another part of the crew was a person known under the name Same Same But Different (SSBD), who was allegedly Dread Pirate Roberts’ most loyal confidant.

The last person to assist in the creation of Silk Road 2.0 was the former forum administrator Libertas. He was known as “Gestapo,” but nonetheless his seal of approval was what finally got people to rally to Silkroad 2.0’s forum.

Sometime after the creation of Silk Road 2.0 forum, StExo posted under his moniker that while he approves of the site’s forum, will never trust a marketplace opened under the name of someone else’s idea. This was, of course, arouse created to distance StExo from the entire operation.

In November 2013 the new Silk Road 2.0 marketplace opened for business, which was a direct taunt to the authorities. By now any possibility of Silk Road’s staff being on authorities’ radar has been dismissed, and the admins of Silkroad continued using their old monikers.

The problem was that Silkroad 2.0 was a huge taunt to the competence of agencies fighting the War on Drugs and those same agencies held Ross Ulbricht and all data stored on his personal laptop. Unfortunately, that data included personal information on SSBD, Libertas, and Inigo, who were arrested and charged for involvement with Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0. After this, StExo disappeared, but the allure of potential profit that Silkroad offered was too great. He returned under a different name, Defcon, and fabricated a story that would explain the current state of events.

Shortly after, Silkroad 2.0 was allegedly hacked and around 4 thousand Bitcoins were stolen. A post was placed on the site’s forum that contained personal information of said hacker, which later turned out to be fabricated. The accepted explanation is that StExo realized that it is no longer safe running the site and thus decided to run away with all the Bitcoin that was in escrow at the time.

Silk Road 3.0

Following the fall of Silk Road 2.0, a large majority of Darknet has started to shun the name and associate it with scamming. The name that once signified the battle against the War on Drugs is now nothing more than a shade of its former self. Given this, it is unusual, to say the least, that a small but relatively prominent marketplace called Diabolus Marketplace, decided last year to change their name into Silk Road 3.0 following the closure of its second iteration. The site has not only changed its name but has also actively rebranded itself to resemble Silk Road. The owner of the site has also admitted in an interview that they are working with a senior member from older Silk Roads to create the Silk Road 3.0. This has caused the majority of Darknet community to question the trustworthiness of the site and many people went as far as to claim that “you have to be retarded to put money into any site that has Silk Road in its name” and that “Silk Road era is done.” Even sites like DeepDotWeb are warning their users that any further Silkroad iterations are not to be trusted and will probably end up scamming their users. While the Silkroad 3.0 is still up and running, and quite well if one looks at the amount of listings posted on it, there is no telling how it will end and who the people are running it behind the scenes.

Silk Road Reloaded

As with Silk Road 3.0, Silk Road Reloaded was another marketplace that tried to cash in on the name. It got an even worse treatment than Silkroad 3.0, mainly because its admin acted very weirdly, even rudely in some cases, and was considered to be a troll by a majority of Darknet community. An interesting thing about the site is that it was based on i2p rather than Tor, which earned it a lot of side glances from Darknet community. It also had its inbuilt crypto-currency converter, meaning it was accepting payments in a currency other than Bitcoin, which was converted automatically by the site. It has been ten months since any news was heard from the site, which probably means that the marketplace has been shut down for one reason or another.

Future of Silk Road

While Silk Road 3.0 still stands and operates normally, many people who have been visiting Darknet marketplaces for a longer period are appealing to the newer users to steer clear of Silkroad brand. The name itself has been too heavily connected to scamming and foul play, making the majority of users decides on other sites as their source of business. And with the recent increase in personal vendor marketplaces which have proven to be much safer and trustworthy, centralized markets like Silkroad 3.0 are getting less and fewer visitors every day. It is possible that it will be the last real iteration of Silk Road since the name has started to bring more bad publicity than anything else.

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Curtis Green Is Back With His “Silk Road Memoir”

Curtis Green, also known as “chronicpain” in the dark web was an administrator of the black marketplace, Silk Road. He was in the news earlier as being the one that the website founder Ross Ulbricht was accused of attempting to murder. Well, he is back in the news once again and this time round, it is for his book. Green was arrested in 2013 with $27,000. In the months following Curtis’ arrest, the police had tightened the noose around the website and its owner as he had decided to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and turned on Ross and the website during the progress of the case. Ross Ulbricht has purportedly paid $80,000 to have Green killed.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Curtis Green – The Background

ross ulbrichtRoss Ulbricht founded the darknet drug marketplace Silk Road in 2011. It soon grew into a billion dollar business. The Silk Road was pulled down in 2013 by the law enforcement agencies, and Ross Ulbricht was arrested on charges of money laundering, hacking, identity fraud, and drug trafficking. He was convicted in 2015, and his lawyers are currently looking to file a second appeal for a retrial of the case.

According to the law enforcement agencies, Ross believed that Curtis Green, an employee of Silk Road, had stolen money from the website. Ulbricht purportedly wanted Green killed and ordered a hit. However, Carl Mark Force, a law enforcement agent that worked closely with Green masqueraded as the hitman. He pretended to kill Curtis and even sent staged photos of the hit. It was later known that Agent Force himself was stealing money from the website. Curtis Green had, in fact, taught the agents how to use Bitcoins, the digital currency that was accepted by the website.

Force and another agent Shaun Bridges were convicted last year on charges of blackmail and theft. The defense argued that it was not Ross Ulbricht, but someone else operating under the name of “Dread Pirate Roberts” who ordered Curtis’ murder.

Curtis Green – The Book of Memoirs

Curtis GreenCurtis Green is now writing a book with all the happenings at the Silk Road website that culminated in his arrest. Curtis is currently looking for a different kind of cover art for his book. Curtis Green’s book is not the first one on the topic, though. There are already many works published about the website including a book called Silk Road by Eileen Ormsby, a documentary by the name of Deep Web, and a full-length feature film among others.

Curtis Green did not serve any time for a felony in prison and was served only with a light sentence because he turned against the website and Ross and cooperated with the law enforcement agencies. He has also been working closely with journalists and writers as well as 20th Century Fox during the trial of Ross Ulbricht.

The book by Curtis Green is named Silk Road Memoir: A Story of Crime, Greed, and Murder will be released in the near future, and a Hollywood movie on the topic is also scheduled to be released soon.

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Silk-Road-Related Auction Partly Accountable For Drop In Bitcoin Price

Bitcoin recently took a huge hit across exchanges, falling below $700 in a significant 10% dip in recent price advances. The crash culprit? Bitfinex timeout and an auction that’s linked to the Silk Road, amounting to about $19 million.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

From as high as $760 over the weekend last week, the Bitcoin price tumbled down to a lowly $698 come Monday, June 20th. This drastic occurrence of the BTC/USD price plunge is thought to be due to the Bitfinex trading outage and auctioning off massive Silk Road-related Bitcoins in Australia.

Bitfinex Unscheduled Downtime

Bitfinex Unscheduled DowntimeBitfinex is a fast-growing worldwide exchange, achieving its position among the highest ranks regarding of raw trading volume. The Bitcoin exchange holds the biggest USD trading volume at 37% of all their trades in USD.

Despite the leading Bitcoin trading platform’s scheduled maintenance done on the 17thof the month, which lasted for approximately an hour, trading was paused starting around 5PM Eastern Time. Bitfinex cited “server migration issues” as the main source of the maintenance delay, compromising their projected re-launch a couple of times. This allowed bursts of cancellation requests while they were attempting to fix the issue.

The initial update stated that they were recovering from the internal network issue, followed by an identified status revealing an ongoing investigation of a trading-impactful infrastructure issue and likewise clarifying that it did not involve funds or system security. Another update showed an investigating status as they are experiencing platform problems, altogether coming with the assurance of resuming operations in the soonest possible time.

The downtime continued to the night causing a lot of panic and several Bitcoin traders’ dismay, with some having lost their investments since deals could not be closed, and considering the millions involved in Silk Road-related auction. It went up again by 9:50, but had to be taken down again on June 21stdue to instability in the network within their data center, letting traders know that they are working with their hosting provider during this second halt on Bitfinex services.

Australian Auction

australia-bitcoin-auction-dinbits-2016June 20th marks the same day of the flooding of $19 million Bitcoins in an Australian auction associated with the Silk Road. These are proceeds of the crime connected to the closure of the Silk Road drug marketplace and Ross Ulbricht’s conviction in 2015, forming part of the civil forfeiture of Silk Road Bitcoins. Bidders of the 48-hour sealed auction include digital asset managers, digital currency exchanges, mostly American and European investment banks as well as hedge funds.

A Reminder

The outage that could have been triggered by the vastness of Silk Road Bitcoins in an Australian auction was only temporary but served as a reminder of Bitcoin’s volatility amidst its growth. Bitfinex has since reemerged online and trading exchanges are resumed.

Prices and volume are expected to increase once again to their pre-outage levels and continuously recovering from the uncertainty. Bitcoin price showed signs of immediate recovery with a strong sell-off, albeit would go a long way for several more weeks especially with traders exhibiting cautiousness and giving more attention to detail and potential risks.

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Silk Road 2.0 Key Player Gets 8 Years In Prison

Seattle. June 3rd, 2016. Brian Farrell, operating Silk Road 2.0 under the alias “DoctorClu,” was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to 8 years in prison as filed under case No. 15-mj-00016.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

Benthall and UlbrichtFounder of the original Silk Road underground drug marketplace in early 2011, Ross Ulbricht aka “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was sentenced to life in prison back in May 2015. The second version of the site was launched in November 2013 weeks after authorities had shut down the original darknet site and seized its creator.

Blake Benthall, the alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0 known as “Defcon,” was arrested in the year 2014 but denied creating the successor darknet site. However, its second-in-command staff administrator has admitted to the charges against him.

Key Player Unlocked

Silk Road 2.0Brian Farrell was arrested in January 2015, and during the search, federal agents discovered three handguns, drug paraphernalia, a myriad of prescription medications, computer media, 20 silver bullion bars with a $3,900 monetary value and cash amounting to $35,000. The silver and dollar evidence will be forfeited to the government in addition to the prison sentence.

He admitted his involvement with the second iteration of the darknet site when the authorities searched his Washington home ensuing Operation Onymous, an international crackdown that targeted suspected illicit marketplaces and various other Tor hidden services in the darknet.

The sentence followed months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the distribution of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in March this year. These charges typically carry a minimum term of 5 years in prison.

The Department of Justice revealed in a 2015 press release that Silk Road 2.0 has amassed approximately $8 million generated sales per month. It had around 150,000 users who were granted the freedom to buy anonymously and sell illicit goods and services including drugs and computer hacking tools using the digital currency bitcoin.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods has stated that the Silk Road is a threat to public safety and health, as the platform expands a serious drug market throughout the country and the world. In line with this is a clear message from the government that such cyber crimes are bound to be faced with serious penalties.

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Silk Road 3.0 To Held A Society Charity Drive

SRWelcome (1)It seems as though the darknet market Silk Road 3.0 is not yet done with. It was reported recently that the third version of Silk Road is making an effort to improve its acceptance and popularity through a society charity drive. As part of the charity drive scheduled to be held from June 8, 2016 onwards, Silk Road 3.0 would donate $5 from each and every sale on the site to Last Door Recovery Society.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road 3.0 is BACK ONLINE and open for business. The team did a massive security overhaul on the site to try and make it more secure and anonymous.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.0 Guide <<

It is a fact that Silk Road 3.0 is a darknet site that mostly deals with illicit products and services, but it seems they have a big heart when it comes to giving donation to charity. The site’s admins revealed their intention to hold a society charity drive starting June 8 in a press releasesent earlier this month.

They said that the marketplace would contribute $5 from the proceeds of each sale to Last Door Recovery Society even if the sale amount is less than $5. This means that they will have to shell out their own money in order to keep up their commitment.However, with the revenues they can generatefrom the site’s operation, they are not likely to go bankrupt.

151221-drugs-stockThe Last Door Recovery Society based at Vancouver, Canada, is a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. The non-profit organization runs two core treatment programs. The center focuseson treating both young (Last Door Youth Program) and adult (Last Door Adult Program) as well asoffers adjunct rehab treatment programs for partners and families. They need to be supported financially so that they can continue their good work.

Silk Road 3.0 is a marketplace in the dark web for selling mostly illegal goods as well as services, including drugs. However, the siteencourages harm reduction as well as responsible use of substances that are capable of inducing mind altering effects. There is a section of the forum for harm reduction. It includes drug profiles, drug addiction questionnaire, and other more useful information. For those who may have health issue with substance, they encourage them to stop use and getappropriate medical help at once.

This might seem to be rather strange as far as some people are concerned as it seems they would profit less. However, it looks as though the admins are focusing on ensuring privacy and security of the users of the site for now rather than driving profits.

Further, it appears that the society charity drive scheduled to begin from June 8 is not likely to be the first and only charity to be organized by Silk Road 3.0. The admins of the platform are also urging users of the site to regularly send donations in bitcoins to charities.It is definitely a worthyeffort on the part of Silk Road 3.0 to organize a society charity drive like this;however, it is rather questionable to some.

All said and done, it remains to be seen whether Silk Road 3.0 will be able to drive revenues through this initiative or not.

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Former Tor Developer Helped FBI To Bring Down Silk Road

ANNOUNCEMENT: Since the Silk Road 2.0 bust by the feds a few other Darknet Markets have fallen. Silk Road 3 is up and running with a big selection of goods.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3 Guide <<

How did the Feds manage to unmask Tor browser users, when The Onion Router is one tricky anonymity tool, layer after layer of relays? What steps did the FBI take to finally seize the Silk Road underground drug market and arrest the Tor hidden Silk Road site’s founder? It now makes sense- it was an insider’s job.

An eye for an eye. Tor for Tor.

download (4)
Chris Soghoian, technologist from ACLU

Chris Soghoian, technologist from ACLU stated that the U.S. government is hacking itself with one arm funding the Tor Project, and the other tasked to hack it.

Well, hiring someone with firsthand experience was the best way to go to beat Tor, and the person found fit for the job is cybersecurity expert and former Tor core developer Matthew J. Edman. The closure of darknet marketplace Silk Road alone has produced a series of dark web drug busts and nabs throughout the globe until today.

As Tor Project Software Developer

The nonprofit organization confirmed that Edman worked with them until the year 2009, and was subsequently employed by an FBI defense contractor to develop an anti-Tor malware.

In 2008, Matthew Edman joined the Tor Project same day as Jacob Appelbaum, hacker and journalist known for his work on WikiLeaks and as one of Edward Snowden’s staunchest supporter.

The developer was then working on Vidalia, a software designed to deliver an easier to use Tor by presenting people with a simplified interface. Tor dropped it in 2013 and replaced the Vidalia with other tools aimed towards improving user experience.

As Anti-Tor Malware Developer

In 2012, Edman functioned as senior cybersecurity engineer for Mitre Corporation and was assigned to the Remote Operations Unit of the FBI. This internal team catered to the development or purchase of exploits and hacking tools for the purpose if spying on potential targets.

He then became part of Operation Torpedo, built against 3 Tor hidden child pornography sites within the dark web. The malware he came up with, dubbed Torsploit has rendered at least 25 individuals de-anonymized and netted a total of 19 convictions.

Cornhusker: Unmasking Tor Users

Edman, together with Steven A. Smith, an FBI Special Agent, developed and took to customize, test, configure, and deploy the Cornhusker or Torsploit while at Mitre.

The malware aided the bureau by allowing agents to deanonymize Tor users with its primary task to gather identifying information. Torsploit has then been wielded in a number of investigations by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

FBI agents packed it inside a Flash file placed on each of the Operation Torpedo sites. The Cornhusker exploited Flash vulnerabilities whenever a Tor user had it enabled in order to reveal actual IP address being used, setting aside the Tor browser’s privacy protection and anonymity. The information is then sent to FBI servers along with a timestamp.

Court documents state that the Cornhusker has been stopped and FBI moved on to other malware and newer techniques meant to target a wider scope on Tor users.

Collaboration with the FBI Continues

download (5)Besides working on the aforementioned Operation Torpedo, Edman had a lion’s share in the federal agency’s shut down of Silk Road and conviction of its creator Ross Ulbricht.

He played a significant role, from tracking $13.4 million bitcoins in transactions which previously took place at the Silk Road marketplace, to tracing Ulbricht’s laptop that lead the FBI to him on October 2013 which brought an end to the Silk Road dark path.

Edman worked at FTI Consulting as senior director during this time covering the Silk Road investigation, and is currently a Berkeley Research Group key executive.

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Toyota Worker Bought Drugs On Silk Road

downloadA 28 years old man working for Toyota was served a suspended sentence following the interception of the drugs bought by him from a darknet marketplace at the Heathrow Airport in London, according to reports. The name of the Toyota worker is Adam Yates and he belongs to Derby. The court was informed that he purportedly bought drugs online from Silk Road, an online black market that is currently not operational, and sent it to a lady named Leah.

Baz Bhattia, who is defending Yates, said that he bought ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine, but the character of his client was positive and good previously. He added that Yates started dealing in drugs only after a previous relationship broke down.

The border agency launched an investigation after they intercepted a package that contained ecstasy tablets in February 2014. The package was addressed to Adam Yates. According to Judge Robert Egbuna, intelligence information and verification of text messages available on Yates’ phone showed that he was dealing in drugs with more than one person.

At the time of the first hearing, Yates who hails from Arran Close in Sinfin City, pleaded guilty of possessing drugs with the intention of supplying ecstasy (MMDA) during the period December 2011 to August 2014, proposing to supply cocaine during the period March 2013 to June 2014 and offering to provide the anesthetic drug class B ketamine in June 2014.

On 13 April 2016, Yates was sentenced to a two-year term in prison. A different judge suspended his sentence for a period of two years after they came to know that Yates had turned around his life since he was arrested in 2014. According to Recorder Ciaran Rankin, the background to his arrest in February 2014 is that the package in his name intercepted at the Heathrow Airport contained as many as 50 ecstasy tablets in it.

Rankin also added that when the police interviewed him, Yates answered saying “no comments” to all of the questions asked by the police. However, a mobile phone and the computer that were seized brought to light the fact that he had been dealing in drugs for a considerable amount of time during the period between December 2011 and August 2014.

Additionally, the Recorder said that he has read references saying that Yates is now a reliable and trustworthy and that he has no records of previous convictions. He also referred to the letter from Yates wherein he states that he is disappointed with his own actions.

Silk Road is only one among the many marketplaces on the dark web. Many criminals actively participate in activities on the sites like Silk Road, which includes, but is not limited to, the sale of drugs as well as weapons. Silk Road shut down by the federal authorities in October 2013 and its founder is currently serving a life term in jail. Silk Road was operated on the Tor network as a hidden service, which enabled users to browse incognito without being monitoring by authorities.

3541921Steve Holme, drugs expert in Derbyshire police department, said that even though Silk Road has been closed down, there are more than 70 other sites around the world operating on the Tor network that offer services similar to that was being offered by Silk Road.

Mr. Bhattia said, sitting at the court of Southern Derbyshire Magistrate, during Yate’s sentencing hearing at the Derby Crown Court that his case is an unusual one and that the set of circumstances are also unusual. He also added that there is evidence to show that his client has completely turned around his life from 2014 onwards. He also noted that Yates’ temporary job has now become his permanent job and that he is now paying a mortgage.

During the sentencing, it was also ordered that Yates should carry out unpaid work for 200 hours along with his suspended sentence. Additionally, Yates will also have to present during the procedure of crime hearing scheduled for July 20. During this time, the police may recover the money that he received as part of his drug dealings.

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Silk Road Mastermind In His Prison Cell

ross-ulbrichtRoss Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, was sentenced to a life in prison in the end of May 2015 on count of seven different charges. Judge Katherine Forrest handed over multiple sentences: for 5 years, 15 years, 20 years and two for life. As the charges have to be served for concurrently, Ross has to serve a lifetime in prison without any parole.

However, the convicted Silk Road head has launched an appeal to have his case heard once more. According to the US Court of Appeals (Second Circuit) in which a filing has been lodged, Ross Ulbricht’s team of lawyers’ argument was that a fair trial was not provided to him, key evidence was left out and that Ross was not the actual person who played the Dread Pirate Roberts’ role. Silk Road was an online darknet market that sold everything from drugs to stolen identities and counterfeit documents.

The Silk Road Conviction and After

Ross Ulbricht is housed in the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center and just turned 32 years old on March 27. His parents have moved to a small apartment (from Texas) nearby. It has not been an easy time for the rest of Ulbricht’s family. The situation has been grim with Ross’s mother, Lyn, suffering from health complications due to the stress that she is going through. She suffered a heart attack and is coping with a broken heart. The parents’ lives have been drained both financially and emotionally.

According to an article by Patrick Howell O’Neill, who tracked the everyday life of Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road kingpin seems to be settling for a life in the prison. He spruced up his life by planting an apple seed in a corner of his room where there was sunlight. However, the sapling was uprooted and placed in the counselor’s office. He has started growing another one it seems. Ross’s mother believes that the life in prison is turning her son into a more humane individual. The Silk Road head is also into bringing up a mouse as a pet in a cardboard box, the prison cell has many of them running around. However, no guard has snatched it off as yet.

Ross does not speak to the media. He spends his day teaching GED to some of the inmates of the prison. He also teaches them physics. Ross is often shifted to other prisons at short or no notice and the task of tracking him down to meet him on their next visit is left to his family.

Screen-Shot-2013-10-02-at-8.33.10-PM1Ross’s mother, in the meanwhile, has been travelling to different libertarian gatherings and garnering support as well as funding for the Silk Road kingpin’s appeal. She speaks out on topics ranging from fair trials, sentencing laws, and Internet privacy laws, to criminal justice procedures. She believes that her son has been imprisoned because he was a political threat. This has been echoed by other alliances and groups such as Drug Policy Alliance and Electronic Frontier Foundation among others.

The US Government however believes otherwise. Contending that Silk Road darknet market sold drugs worth $80 million to its customers, the government believes that the Silk Road founder is responsible for the drug overdose deaths of six other individuals. Ulbricht’s sentence brought to the fore the fact that he was just another drug dealer and racketeer who sought to hide his identity from the authorities and no one is above the law. In this context, it is also interesting to note that many of the alleged nefarious crimes against Ross were never proved in court. Many observers also feel that the sentence has been a heavy one and issued too quickly with basic lack of understanding. As for now, the Silk Road founder would have to spend his days in prison while his family has raised about $433,000 for his legal defense.

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Silk Road 3.0 Down For Maintenance

If you have tried visiting the Silk Road 3.0 website recently (the official URL http://reloadedudjtjvxr.onion) you might have found the site – offline.

cmNow, apparently Silk Road 3.0 is run by the same admins that run Crypto Market, so if you are not afraid to experiment a little, maybe this can be a suitable alternative for you. Crypto Market is growing rapidly and already is the 4th biggest darknet market with over 20000 listings and 12500 listings of drugs. It is known that the Crypto Market has also been offline every now and then recently because of a DDos attack, this is usually because the owner of another market is pissed off that there is a new market rapidly rising and stealing business. The developers are trying to apply new security measures and other upgrades to eliminate the threat which will only make it better.

Just to recap, Silk Road is the best known name for a darknet market; it’s almost like – a rock star on the darknet! The original, first Silk Road market was founded by Ross Ulbricht, later arrested and convicted to two lifetime sentences in prison.

Immediately after the fall of the market and Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road 2.0 emerged. 2.0 wasn’t in the media as much as its predecessor but actually did more business than the original, and pretty soon was seized by the officials; its founder was arrested as well in the Operation Onymous.

However, the saga didn’t end here and the 3.0 version of the market was born. It had a brand new design and it was much more secure than the previous version of this popular drug market.

At the same time new speculations started. Some claimed that the market was a scam and that they are trying to fool inexperienced buyers and perform an exit scam. Some users (perhaps those veteran users that have seen several marketplaces go down for this or that reason, such as Silk Road, Agora, Evolution, and so on… and are used to these dynamic changes on the Dark Web) are totally blasé about this; while others agree with the exit scam being the possible cause.

Whatever the cause for this downtime is and whether we should trust the speculations, it is still just an object of debates on the internet, until the admins release the official explanation. And despite many allegations, many have remained faithful to the Silk Road brand and still hope that their chosen marketplace will be up and running in no time.

There is nothing strange in these sudden disappearances of darknet markets. It can happen anytime and for any reason. Every time a darknet market disappears, immediately new speculations spring out – people evaluating whether it’s an exit scam or a DDoS attack or whether the market was seized by the authorities. Even bigger fuss is made when one of the markets bearing the Silk Road brand name goes missing.

After the pioneer marketplace Silk Road, it happened to its successor, a very popular market Agora. The admins planned to work on improving the security of its website, and promised to be online as soon as they resolve some well-known issues with Tor network. They officially announced their break and even offered enough time for their customers to withdraw their funds from the website. However, their long awaited return hasn’t happened yet; instead, many other markets followed and joined them in their disappearance from the face of the Darknet.

In the case of Silk Road 3.0, everything is still possible; and it feels reasonable to hope it’s just down for maintenance.

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Silk Road 2.0 Staff Member Admitted To Being “DoctorClu”

 

The darknet marketplace Silk Road 2.0 was closed down in November 2014, nearly a year after the site started its operations. Subsequently, Brian Farrel, the right hand man to Defcon, the operator of Silk Road 2.0, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine in January last year. Earlier, Brian Farrell has accepted a plea agreement in a district court in Washington’s Western District.
silk-road-2-0-brian-farrellFarrell has also formally admitted to operating as “DoctorClu,” a Silk Road 2.0 staff member. As a Silk Road 2.0 staff member, he provided customer support as well as technical support, promoted other employees and accorded approval to vendors, according to a document filed in the court earlier this month.

Though he admitted that he is guilty on one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, the reason for charging Farrell is not based on the fact he directly sold these products, but it is because of the position he held on Silk Road 2.0, the darknet marketplace that was used by drug dealers for selling their wares.

According to law, the penalties for such an offense may include five to forty years of imprisonment and up to $5,000,000 in fines. However, it has been agreed upon by the parties by way of the plea agreement that they will recommend eight years of imprisonment.

According to the plea agreement, initially Farrell purchased drugs through Silk Road 2.0 for personal use. The agreement also noted that he led a “denial-of-service-attack” on a competitor to Silk Road 2.0. Additionally, he acted as the spokesperson for Defcon, who took over control from Dread Pirate Roberts.

After Farrell’s arrest in Seattle last year, it emerged that he was one among the criminal suspects from dark web identified following the attack on Tor network launched by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Researchers from the SEI were successful in identifying the real IP addresses of some of the Tor hidden services, which included Silk Road 2.0, among others. Subsequently, the FBI subpoenaed SEI for the purpose of obtaining this information. As noted in Farrell’s search warrant, SEI was instrumental in identifying as many as 78 IP addresses that accessed Silk Road 2.0’s .onion address. One of these addresses led the law enforcement to Farrell.
0,,16462299_303,00In December last year in Ireland, two men, whose identities were revealed in SEI’s attack, were arrested and put in jail for drug offensives. Last month, the pedophile Gabriel Peterson-Siler, whose IP address also SEI obtained during their attack, pleaded guilty on one count, possession of child pornography. During the interview by FBI agents prior to his arrest, Farrell had reportedly told the agents they will not be able to find a bigger fish than him. In spite of Farrell’s statement, defense has been trying hard to obtain more access to discovery evidence, specifically the communications between the SEI and the Justice Department. However, more information about the Tor attack carried out by SEI is not likely to come out from the court as both Peterson-Siler and Brian Farrell have pleaded guilty. As of now, Brian Farrell is scheduled to be sentenced on June 3, 2016.

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