Essential tools for when using the Silk Road Market.
Silk Road is definitely the most recognizable name on the Dark Web. It was the first and for a long time – THE most successful market operating on Tor Network. And even though it had been seized by the authorities in 2013, Silk Road legacy has remained as a brand – it is unbeatable and apparently every few months a new ‘sequel’ comes out. So first, it was the original Silk Road market; then the Silk Road 2.0 and the Silk Road Reloaded (both dead now) and finally the Silk Road 3.0, still operational.
And, before you go and visit Silk Road 3.0, there are some precaution measures you need to consider in order to truly stay anonymous and safe.
Now, to open the Silk Road 3.0 URL you need to use Tor Browser; it opens those .onion addresses, hidden services located on Dark Web. Tor also hides your IP address providing the anonymity for you.
It operates through several layers of encryption, hence the onion reference; but, to be truly safe while browsing the Deep Web, Tor is not enough. Despite all the layers your connection goes through to cover up your trail, your ISP knows that you are using Tor and therefore you automatically become shady to LE and they will probably become more mindful of your internet activities, which is something you want to avoid, especially if you are visiting Silk Road 3.0 or any other Darknet market.
So, here are a few simple tips on how to access and stay safe on the Silk Road 3.0.
In addition to Tor Browser, it is highly advisable to use a reliable VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and more or less every VPN on the market does the same thing – it serves as an intermediary between you and the internet. I found a great website that went and tested VPN’s for use with Tor, you can see it by clicking here.
To illustrate what it does, we’ll check out first what your ‘normal’ internet connection looks like:
- Your Computer → The Internet
This way, almost anyone can easily crack your IP address and therefore physically locate you. It’s like you’re virtually inviting people to find you!
- However, if you are using a VPN service, only the VPN provider knows your real IP address and your connection looks more in the lines of this structure: Your Computer → VPN Server → Internet
This way, your ISP can see that you are using a VPN, which is perfectly legal, but sees nothing beyond that. Peoiple use VPN’s for tons of different things, pretty much every big company forces its employees to use VPN’s for all work they do online and when ever they coonect to company servers.
- Finally, your ideal connection should look like this: Your Computer → VPN → Tor → The Internet, the ultimate connection is Your Computer -> VPN -> Tor -> VPN -> The internet. This extra double VPN layer can be achieved by using a WiFi router that has VPN capabilities (DD-WRT firmware) so your original connection is encrypted and then you use tor and then you start your VPN app on you computer.
This way you have covered up your tracks nicely and no one can see your IP address or what you are browsing for.
Now at this point it is important to emphasize that when choosing a VPN, there are some specific features you should look for. First of all, opt for the one that doesn’t keep any logs of your activity online. This means that if your chosen VPN doesn’t keep logs of their users’ activities online – they have nothing to show to the LE should they ever ask, which is a very neat feature indeed.
Also, an ideal VPN should have a kill-switch feature, meaning that, should it happen that for any reason your connection to the VPN server gets broken or interrupted, it will automatically kill all other connections, so the possibility that your IP address would leak out is really minimal.
Some VPN providers accept bitcoins as payment method and you should take advantage of this to improve your privacy online. Lastly, make sure that the VPN provider you opt for is actually the Tier 1 provider, which basically means that they do not use third party providers, again adding to your anonymity – the less parties involved, the better.
PGP stands for ‘Pretty Good Privacy’ and this is exactly what it provides to its users.
The easiest way to understand PGP is to call it data encryption and decryption software. This PGP software allows you to send encrypted messages to vendors on the Silk Road 3.0 or to anyone else for that matter.
After creating a PGP profile, you will get two keys. One is your public key, visible to anyone; and the other is your private key, known only to you and which you should keep somewhere safe.
Whether you are buying something legal or illegal from the Silk Road 3.0 in many cases the only way to communicate with vendors is by encrypting your messages. To do that simply find vendor’s public PGP key and address your message to him by using his key. The message will be encrypted and ready for sending. The only way to decrypt your message is by using the recipient’s private key, meaning only he will be able to read the message. This is of utmost importance especially when you are giving your shipping address or anything confidential like that.
Here is a guide to PGP: http://www.bitcoinnotbombs.com/beginners-guide-to-pgp/
Tails stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System. It is basically an operating system that can be booted from a live CD, DVD, USB flash or even SD card. The beauty of it is that it gives you the ultimate anonymity online and remembers nothing – no data is stored on it, not a single log, no traces of your activity. It’s the cleanest and the safest way to browse the Dark Web and its Markets, including the Silk Road 3.0.
Apart from that, it uses various cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messages.
It is based on Debian operating system and uses Tor to connect to the internet, so there is no possible way to connect directly to the internet if you are using Tails. It is free, supported by Tor Project and LE positively hates it.
You can simply set it up on your USB flash drive or a DVD and run it as live operating system on almost any computer. There’ll be no incriminating evidence of your activities on the internet. This is pretty neat especially if you are often using public computers or your computer in a public place – at coffee shops, for example.
Even if someone catches you browsing the Silk Road 3.0 in a public place, simply remove the Live USB or the DVD and you are clean as a whistle.
Find everything about Tails at the official page: https://tails.boum.org/
Goods and services on the Silk Road 3.0 are purchasable only by cryptocurrency called bitcoin. Assuming that you already know this, we are not going into any further details about that. However, we would like to talk about something strongly related to bitcoins, and it’s the bitcoin wallet.
As you’ve probably assumed correctly, bitcoin wallet is a place where you store your digital money. However, you cannot store the bitcoins themselves; what your wallet contains stored are all the private keys of your bitcoin addresses. And, when you have your bitcoin wallet, you can make all the transactions the same way you would with your credit card. You can buy and sell things, receive bitcoins, transfer them. Perhaps it would be more precise to look at the bitcoin wallet as your digital bank account.
There are various bitcoin wallets – those that you can install on your desktop, online bitcoin wallets and those that can be installed on your mobile device(s); most of them however, can be run on several platforms.
Probably the safest way to store your bitcoins is in your desktop wallet. On the other hand, this way you won’t be able to use them in an actual, brick and mortar stores; you can use your bitcoins on the Silk Road 3.0 market. It will take some time to synchronize with the block chain and it will take 20 GB or so of your hard drive space, but afterwards, you can save your private keys in a safe place. Make sure not to lose them, because if you do, you will also lose your bitcoins and with that every possibility to recover them.
You can find various bitcoin wallets on this link; make sure you choose wisely.
Prevent Windows 10 DNS Leaks
Computer and security enthusiasts have already warned us about some DNS leakage issue that happens with Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. They’ve pointed out and emphasized some technical stuff; but what that basically means is that your IP address can leak regardless of you using a VPN, Tor or even both, because of some Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 setting called “Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution”, which is enabled by default.
This “Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution” enables your computer to choose the fastest way to connect to the internet, so if connecting through your ISP’s DNS is faster than through a VPN, it will go through there, and your IP will be compromised, which is not good news. Luckily, there is a way to resolve this issue.
You’ll need to find something called “gpedit.msc”, so look for it in your Windows Explorer. Once you find it, it should open a window like the one below.
Click on the setting and make sure to ENABLE it this way:
Now, if you are using a VPN, your IP address will definitely be hidden and there will be no possible way for the DNS leak to happen.
This only applies for users of Windows Professional edition; if you are using Windows Home edition here is a great step-by-step guide here on how to prevent DNS leaking on other versions and editions of Windows.
Last, but not least, before you actually purchase anything on the Silk Road 3.0, you would want to find some good bitcoin exchange service.
Bitcoin exchange is a place where you can turn your physical money into digital, mostly bitcoins and vice versa. There are plenty of them and they vary in their quality and number of users, provisions, a number of cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies they accept.
These do not work as the regular exchange offices in physical world where there is one dealer and you enter an office with one currency and leave with another. These are so-called “currency markets” where different users trade with different currencies.
As mentioned already, different bitcoin exchanges accept different currencies. Every single one of them however, accepts bitcoins and some of them exchange other cryptocurrencies, such as litecoin, namecoin… and of course all the major world currencies such as USD, Euros, CAD, AUD, etc. All bitcoin exchanges take some withdrawal fees which are usually pretty low.
Various bitcoin exchanges differ for the withdrawal methods. If you are withdrawing bitcoins, it’s easy – simply transfer them to you bitcoin wallet. If you are withdrawing dollars for example, you transfer them via PayPal or any international bank.
We hope you find this information helpful. In the meantime,
Here is a list of some great software that can be used to make your computer and privacy more secure.
Password safe. These are great little programs that can also be storred on the USB and you can store all of your passwords and usernames in one location secured behind an encrypted program with a master password. This makes it nearly impossible to crack and you don’t have to remember all of the different details you will need to know. This is particularly usefull as when doing anything in the Silkroad you want usernames, email addresses, passwords etc that are always different and unique. This will insure you are making it as hard as possible to trace anything back to you. They also come in handy for all of my other passwords these days so I swear by them. There are a lot of these products out on the market at the moment including KeePass, CyberScrub’s KeyChain and there is also a free trial version to try out and if you have a Mac or apple products then you can use the software from AgileBits.
USB/Flash drive for your private and sensitive files. This has a many benefits including:
- All of your files that link you to the Silkroad are stored on a USB and not your laptop which means that if someone is on your laptop they wont find it and know you have been on the silk road.
- If it is a work computer then the files will not be on it saving you from being fired if discovered.
- For an added level of security if you have your USB stick in a hidden location (a lot easier to hide a small USB drive than a laptop) then if you get robbed or someone takes it then you have nothing incriminating on the computer that links to you.
You can get small USB drives from almost anywhere now including Gas stations and stores all over the country for almost the price of a packet of gum. You can also get them from here if you want one delivered, it is a great little site that has just started up with tons of great electronics. thevaluehouse.com