Mother’s Latest Update on Her Son, Ross Ulbricht

It has been four years after the famous Silk Road was shut down by the FBI, and customers who benefitted from the website have moved to other leading darknet market platforms—bidding adieu to the dark web marketplace to excel their businesses elsewhere.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Silk Road is BACK ONLINE NOW as Silk Road 3.1 and open for business. The team did a change and upgrade for a reason we can only assume for security.

>> Click here to find the Silk Road 3.1 Guide <<

male inmate behind prison bars
Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, speaks of the flaws in the justice system and offers details about her son’s present life.

While ex-Silk Road users found a new home at emerging marketplaces in the absence of the site, a fierce trial was taking place in the U.S. court system to bring down the market’s founder, Ross Ulbricht, who ran the Silk Road under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

After pleading guilty to drug-related charges, Ulbricht received a life sentence verdict. This left his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, distraught yet determined to reverse the ruling through the appellate courts.

For two years, she tirelessly worked to rally up enough support for her son’s appeal but, ultimately, she did not succeed. Earlier this year, a Second Circuit judge rejected the life sentence appeal.

Only a few months after Ross lost his life sentence appeal, Lyn confirmed that she had filed a rehearing with the Second Circuit panel.

As the name suggests, this filing requests the court that they should reconsider the verdict. But the court denied the request in August.

At this point, most professionals and lawyers do believe that it is not possible to change the verdict on Ross’s case.

Latest Updates on Ross, Lyn’s Candid Talk

At present, Ross Ulbricht is in prison without any chances of parole. His mother is persistent in working to change the U.S. judicial system and the way it treated her son.

In a recent public appearance, she revealed some detail about what went on during these years, opening up about her son’s life inside prison and the things she wants to see changed.

Life Inside Prison

Being the doting mother and son duo, Ross and Lyn have kept in touch throughout these years as she campaigned for his prison release and gathered supporters through the Free Ross movement.

Speaking about Ross’ life inside prison, Lyn confirmed that even though he had to spend three and half years in a New York prison institution, it is much better to be in the Colorado facility where Ross is currently located.

She also said that the New York prison is a transitional facility and never designed for long-term living, whereas the Colorado institution is much more spacious and inhabitable. It’s a high and maximum security prison, but not supermax.

Lyn felt that Ross should never be in a high-security prison because his crimes are non-violent but because of his long-term sentence, he is forced to be there.

Even if the judge had given him a sentence less than 30 years, he could be in a medium security prison. He has never been harmful in any way to be there, she added.

An Unfair Judgment for Silk Road Creator

mallet of judge
Her mother was dissatisfied with the justice system.

Lyn Ulbricht is extremely dissatisfied with the justice system for giving her son such a harsh punishment for a non-violent crime.

She felt that the FBI and law enforcement officials wanted to make an example out of him, forcing him to bear the burden of other darknet market dealers that sell and smuggle illegal drugs and weapons, or conduct other unlawful activities over the dark web.

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US Federal Prosecutor Tells About Bitcoin Online Crimes

Federal prosecutor Kathryn Haun came to know about Bitcoin when she was asked whether she would want to prosecute the cryptocurrency.

Haun, who is currently serving as the assistant US attorney of San Francisco’s US Department of Justice (DOJ), took almost no time to understand that prosecuting Bitcoin will never be possible for her.

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 <<

Kathryn Haun, assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in San Francisco
Kathryn Haun, assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in San Francisco

The attorney, who is known for having her focus on murders, prison gangs, and organized crimes, found that prosecuting the cryptocurrency would be something equivalent to prosecuting cash.

However, she did not stop from gathering further knowledge about Bitcoin online crimes.

The journey has actually changed the US federal prosecutor’s life altogether.

There was a time when she did not have any idea about the cryptocurrency, but right now she is a person to talk to whenever something happens pertaining to Bitcoin.

Right now, Haun is enhancing the post of the digital currency coordinator at DOJ and teaches cyber crime and digital currency at the Stanford Law School.

In addition, she has also succeeded in sending a couple of federal agents behind the bars for committing online Bitcoin crime.

The two individuals in question are corrupt Silk Road investigators, who attempted to steal Bitcoin worth $800,000.

The majority of the cryptocurrency users are aware of the fact that the much talked about the Silk Road investigation involves a series of angles.

For instance, many are still questioning the judgment passed on to Ross Ulbricht, one of the main accused in the Silk Road case.

Ulbricht used to be a dark web market operator who got convicted of running the Silk Road and got arrested in 2013.

In addition, the case also involves law enforcement agents who are not beyond doubt; the two jailed investigators stand as the testimony of this fact.

Kathryn Haun is one person who has witnessed everything that happened during the Silk Road investigation, which helped her to gather valuable knowledge about the situation as well as the subject.

The investigation against the two corrupt federal agents connected to the dark web market, Silk Road, originally began with an unidentified tip.

It is surprising that no one thought that the anonymous tip would be revealing any kind of truth, it ended up unraveling the main truth.

It is often said and widely believed that greed succeeds in bringing out the worst from most humans; this incident proved that the statement stands true even for the federal law enforcement agents.

It showed that when it comes to money, even the protectors of law can become involved in unlawful activities.

Kathryn Haun, the US Federal Prosecutor, recently unveiled how she tries to bring criminal Bitcoin usage to an end. Prosecuting cryptocurrency-related crimes has been proven to be quite a challenge so far, though.
Kathryn Haun, the current digital currency coordinator at the DOJ in San Francisco, revealed a series of essential facts about Bitcoin online crimes.

When monitoring the Silk Road investigation, Kathryn Haun found that both the corrupt Silk Road investigators completed the job of stealing bitcoins in a way that made them almost “perfect criminals.”

That is because both of them knew the perfect way of covering tracks. However, there are a few behavioral patterns that cannot be denied.

It is impossible to decrease digital breadcrumbs just by using online aliases. As a result, the law enforcement officers eventually managed to get hold of the fraudulent Silk Road investigators.

What left people around the globe, particularly users of cryptocurrency, deeply surprised, is that how Haun confirmed that criminals have a habit of using mailboxes provided by different Russian providers.

On the other hand, as expected by most, Haun’s account revealed that mixers and tumblers have big roles to play in the process of laundering the steal Bitcoin funds.

The reassuring fact is that it is very much possible to unscramble those activities if enough time and effort are invested.

At the end of the day, it is absolutely heartwarming to see Haun admits that Bitcoin is not something that’s just about online crimes.

She confirmed that crime levels involving cash are still significantly higher compared to criminal activities involving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Another great role the attorney has played is that she advocates the new technology called blockchain technology.

Experts are saying that this technology has the potential of making a major impact because most crimes are facilitated because of forged documents; that is a threat blockchain technology is capable of terminating seamlessly.

According to Haun, this holds great importance as the majority of the cases she has prosecuted so far (these include marriage fraud, impersonation of dead individuals, some murder cases, and of course this case involving cryptocurrency) have been affected severely by some form of stolen, counterfeit, or forged public document.

This indicates that the coming years might see blockchain technology gain huge popularity among cryptocurrency users.

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The Dark Web And The Man Behind The Silk Road

The internet is limitless. Search engines like Google are resourceful; they only have access based on the most extensive online world.

The dark web typically comprises a huge network of non-indexed websites which require specific software or a special set of configurations to access.

In comparison to the deep web—the part of the internet that although hidden from search results, can be accessed using passwords and other forms of authorization—it offers a certain level of anonymity even from the law enforcement.

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 <<

As such, the dark web is fueled by the activities of the illegal variety. It is an infamous criminal hub since online activity on the dark web is somewhat untraceable and provides a much-needed mask around people involved in illegitimate trade among other illegal activities.

Created By: US Military Researchers

 

ross-ulbricht
Meet The Dread Pirate Roberts, The Man Behind Booming Black Market Drug Website Silk Road

The darkweb was created in the 90s by the United States government as a hidden network within which their spies could exchange information anonymously.

 

The government and military researchers birthed The Onion Router, famously known as TOR, and made it available to the public as a way of enhancing their spies’ anonymity by making it harder for them to investigate through thousands of interactions.

The term “Onion Router” was coined because the router used the onion routing technique where websites are buried under layers of concealing data, effectively making them anonymous.

Currently, TOR is hosting an estimated 30,000 hidden websites, most of which are on the .onion domain.

“The Dark Web is Like a Forest” – Daniel Prince

In an effort to clearly explain the workings of the dark web, the Lancaster University Associate Director Security, Daniel Prince, gave a simple illustration on how it operates on the popular website.

He linked the internet to a gigantic forest where the only way to get from one point to another is through designated paths, which he referred to as search engines like Google.

Other than the paths, there was no way to navigate the forest unless directed where to look. This is the principle that is built upon and which allows activities and identities to stay well hidden, he said.

Not surprisingly, the anonymity factor proves to be very appealing to the criminal’s minds, who have crowded the hidden network to conduct their various illegal deeds.

Although the dark web is primarily considered to be a criminal hub, it is a useful resource for journalists and activists who wish to relay sensitive information away from prying eyes.

List of Criminal Activities

dark-web-crime
Weapons and drugs trade to the growing child pornography ring, we take a comprehensive look into the mysterious side of the internet.

According to a study conducted by the University of Portsmouth in 2014, child pornography takes the lead as the most wanted content on the dark web and is closely followed by the illegal trade of weapons, drugs and stolen personal information.

Other unlawful activities that are conducted under the cover of anonymity include hacking, fraud, and abuse.

Law Enforcement Have Made Several Busts

As much as TOR is considered inaccessible, it has been the subject of more than a few raids by law enforcement agencies and numerous arrests have been made in connection with the criminal activities conducted.

Governments have begun dedicating more resources towards breaching the anonymous network, typically using malware and viruses that compromise users and relay their information to their servers.

In one notable case, the UK government’s efforts to eliminate child pornography resulted in the capture of the most wanted pedophile in Britain, Richard Huckle.

They achieved this after secretly capturing a child abuse website. The perpetrator was served 22 life sentences for 71 child sex offenses.

Another online bust dubbed “Operation Onymous” resulted in the arrest of 17 people and the takeover of hundreds of pounds in bitcoin. Of all the arrests, however, only one person was successfully taken into custody.

The Take Down of The Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht is undoubtedly one of the most high-profile arrests made in the history of the dark web.

The alleged creator of the multi-million dollar drug-fueled dark web market, the Silk Road, was arrested in a bust that was so massive, it led to the collapse of the website in its totality.

At the time, the Silk Road market was worth an estimated $34.5 million and had a customer base of over one million users.

Services that could be obtained on the Silk Road included fake identification cards and passports, purchase of drugs and weapons and hacking services.

There was even an elaborate system to rate and review the services to make it easier for new customers of the Silk Road.

Ross Ulbricht’s arrest did not necessarily mean the end of the Silk Road market as it has since spawned three other successors, two of which have also failed tragically.

Ross Ulbricht is currently serving his life sentence in a New York prison for charges including money laundering, drug trafficking, and attempted murder.

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Coen Brothers to Write the Script for the Silk Road Movie

Films about Cyber-crime or hacking are not in the mainstream nowadays. However, in recent years films with internet security themes are getting their fair share of high-end movie screen time. In the last two years, a couple of notable films with the same storylines are “Blackhat”, and Oliver Stone’s NSA breach biopic “Snowden”.

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 <<

Ethan and Joel Coen at the premiere of Hail, Caesar! in Los Angeles on
Ethan and Joel Coen at the premiere of Hail, Caesar! in Los Angeles on

According to reports, an upcoming film is going to add to this list. The film, entitled “Dark Web”, this film is based on a wired two-part account on the Silk Road and its convicted founder Ross William Ulbricht.

Fox Studios who has exclusive rights to the story have enlisted the services of two well-established and high profile film screenwriters, directors and editors in Hollywood; the Coen Brothers.

Ethan and Joel Coen are going to write the screenplay for the Silk Road film, but at the moment it is not known whether they will also direct the movie.

It would definitely be a great news if the brothers are directing the movie as well, but they are known to write films not as directors.

The Coen brothers have an enviable list of film-related achievements behind them spanning several decades including but not limited to “The Big Lebowski”, “True Grit”, “No country for Old Men”, “Fargo”, “O Brother”, “Where Art Thou?”, “Bridge of Spies” and “Hail Caesar”.

The brothers earned Oscars for their parts in “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men”.

As such, the expectations for this film will definitely be high. Silk Road, on which the film will be based, is the highly controversial online drug dealing dark web forum founded and operated by Ross William Ulbricht.

Silkroad was originally founded in February 2011, and derived its name from an old historical network of trade routes used between many countries .
Silkroad was originally founded in February 2011, and derived its name from an old historical network of trade routes used between many countries .

Silk Road was established in February 2011 and until his arrest in October 2013 by the FBI, Ulbricht operated the site under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

He is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole; a sentence that many people felt was unduly harsh.

According to investigations by the FBI, Silk Road facilitated anonymous channels for dealers to transact illegal goods and services most of which were drugs.

The film is set to dwell largely on the aspects of the dark web platforms.

According to some reports, the film will feature the alleged purchase of special services such as contract killings, an accusation that the FBI pointed at Dread Pirate Roberts.

Many Silk Road users have since slammed these allegations on online forums as false.

They deny the existence of such kinds of services claiming that Silk Road only facilitated the buying and selling of drugs.

Currently, the true inner details of the Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts are still murky.

As such, it is very likely that the film may not be 100% accurate as in the case with the majority of Hollywood movies that are based on true stories.

The aforementioned “Snowden” was the recent testament to this.

Also, the film will feature a part of the story that law enforcement agencies would rather prefer to stay low profiled.

Ross Ulbricht was not the only individual to be implicated in the Silk Road.

Two federal agents including Carl Force, a former DEA agent, were also charged with extorting and laundering bitcoins from the Silk Road platform and Ulbricht himself.

It is important to note that this is not the beginning of the work on this film.

The project started back in 2013, where Chernin Entertainment and Fox Studios enlisted Dennis Lehane to write the script for the movie. At the time it was titled Silk Road.

Lehane himself is a bestselling author and has films such as “Shutter Island”, “Gone Baby Gone”, and “Mystic River” under his name.

It is not clear what exactly prompted the changes or even if the new script is a continuation of Lehane’s work.

Fortunately for Dark Web, the Silk Road saga is still a developing story as a new Silk Road is currently in operation despite its founder being in prison.

Also, Ulbricht is still appealing the sentence with a major focus on the discrepancies in his trial process.

The film is still more than a year off with expected release dates in late 2017 or early 2018.

Therefore, the Coen Brothers still have an interesting range of directions in which to take the film depending on any developments within that given period of time.

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Appeals Court Weighs Arguments in Silk Road Case

Prosecutors on the Silkroad case where 32-year-old Ross William Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison were questioned on the fairness of the judgment in a Manhattan federal appeals court on October 6.

Ulbricht was convicted for being the brains behind the dark web site Silkroad, which was best known for facilitating the sale of illicit drugs.

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 <<

In the oral arguments presided by three US Second Circuit Court of Appeals judges, numerous questions were posed concerning the even-handedness of the ruling, which was doled out by US District Judge Katherine Forrest in 2015.

Emotional Impact

life-in-prison
Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison

One of the members of the three-judge panel presiding over the oral arguments, Judge Christopher Droney, openly challenged the sentencing as he pointed out that it was bizarre for a middle-aged man with no prior criminal records and no direct ties to any drug trafficking activities to get slapped with such a hefty sentence.

His colleague, Jude Gerard Lynch suspected that testimonies from the parents of two Silkroad buyers who died from overdosing at the 2015 trial could have had a heavy emotional impact on the case and might have influenced the over-the-top sentencing.

According to Lynch, the testimonies in the 2015 trial of the Silkroad creator put an extraordinary thumb on the scales against Ulbricht. The judge added on to call the sentence “quite a leap.”

Promising Innovator with Misplaced Priorities

The 32-year-old Californian resident was arrested following the seizure of the dark web drug market by the authorities.In its 2-year operation, Silkroad had made over $200 million in sales using the encrypted digital currency, bitcoin.

In its 2-year operation, Silkroad had made over $200 million in sales using the encrypted digital currency, bitcoin.

Ross Ulbricht was accused of masterminding the Silkroad operation from which he amassed $18 million.

Supporters of the Silkroad mastermind painted Ulbricht as a young, insightful innovator who had been led astray by his youth.

His defense lawyer Josh Dratel called on the three-judge panel to view the extreme ruling for what it really was.

silkroad-mastermind
Dratel painted Ulbricht

He called the life sentencing of the Silkroad mastermind unreasonable basing his remark on the fact that even murderers got a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Dratel went on to paint Ulbricht as the landlord of Silkroad who had no direct links to the activities that took place therein.

“No Ordinary Kingpin” – Prosecutor Eun Young Choi

Ross Ulbricht had been accused of hiring alleged assassins to get rid of enemies that threatened the continuity of Silkroad.

The three-judge panel saw this as more than just passive involvement and part of the reason why Ulbricht was tried as more than just the “landlord” of Silkroad.

Although none of the assassinations were carried out, prosecutor Eun Young Choi considered this a threat of violence that would have landed Ulbricht for life in prison even without the overdose deaths.

The prosecutor termed it unprecedented and went ahead to paint the Silkroad mastermind as an unusual kingpin.

Convicted Investigators

Ulbricht’s defense has also been trying to use the case of two federal agents who were convicted of bitcoin theft during the Silkroad investigation, as a pivot to overturn his conviction.

As things stand, there are no clear indications of when will be the judges’ ruling.

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Lyn Ulbricht Speaks about Other People Involved In Silk Road

Silkroad creator’s mother, Lyn Ulbricht expresses her thoughts on another corruption uncovered in the Silkroad saga for the world to know.

She talks about the controversial fact that there are others who were picked up on their involvement in Silkroad drug charges, though none ended up close to Ross’ sentence which makes the grotesque disparity quite evident.

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 <<

Lyn Ulbricht Two crooked cops by the name Carl Force, former DEA agent, and former Secret Service agent Shawn Bridges have been accused of stealing Silkroad bitcoins.

Most recently, Bridges is suspected of stealing Silkroad bitcoins once again, and in two more cases.

He was helping himself to $700,000 USD more and another $20,000 in BTC to top the first $800,000 he had already been caught red-handed on during the Silkroad investigation.

What was Silkroad prosecuting attorney Preet Bharara’s response? Despite the explicitly tampered evidence in the hands of corrupt fed agents, Ross Ulbricht remains guilty.

The Barbaric Sentence

Lyn tells how U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest issued a barbaric sentence just because Ross was deemed a political threat by the judge herself.

Isn’t this a bit harsh on a man whose only weapon was a keyboard or computer, considering the grave crimes of murderers and child molesters?

Dread Pirate Roberts and the Silkroad darknet market he created was a triumph of libertarian ideals and technology that the government cannot control.

It’s the blatant truth behind the Silkroad that once existed in the dark web.

However, the judge found Ross Ulbricht’s writings and beliefs to be deeply troubling and highly dangerous.

Lyn and the defense strongly believe that her son was treated and jailed unfairly mainly because he was the creator of the first online black market that ultimately became the largest illicit drug platform.

Three of the notable arrests include leading Silk Road vendor Jan Slomp, biggest cocaine and heroin vendor Steven Sadler, and Silkroad administrator Peter Nash.

They received a 10-year, 5-year, and 17-month sentence respectively.

Moreover, the corrupt agents got 6 and 7 years while Silkroad 2.0’s key player Brian Farrell was given an 8-year prison term.

Now, what about Ulbricht? Charged with money laundering, conspiracy to narcotic trafficking, computer hacking, and murder which was eventually dropped though he was still handed down a life sentence, and without the possibility of parole.

Ulbricht’s supporters have just gotten their speculations confirmed that Ross served as a scapegoat for the failed drug policy of the American government.

His mother states that this convinced her that her son was a political prisoner.

The government wanted to make an example out of him to warn others and deter them from creating criminal sites similar to the Silkroad.

However, the results are otherwise with even more dark web sites that have emerged today which are far bigger than the original Silkroad marketplace.

Corruption in the Silkroad Case

lyn ulbrichtFirst off, Lyn points out that the Silkroad trial was mishandled right from the start.

She questions the Senator of New York’s closure of Silkroad followed by strangely ordering the trial in the state, rather than in California where he was arrested.

Charles Schumer had connections with the legal prosecutor as his own special counsel and the Silkroad judge having been suggested by the senator himself.

Lyn alleges that research done by a professional forensic pathologist concluded that no scientific evidence proves Silkroad drugs caused the alleged deaths.

Lyn expresses how terrible she feels for parents of those who died, but voices out that the courtroom must rely more on facts, evidence, and cross-examine all parties instead of completely focusing on Silkroad founder.

Ross wasn’t allowed to defend himself, and Silkroad witnesses were muzzled as the judge totally refused to hear their side of the Silkroad story.

Nowhere in the law does it state that a harsher punishment is imperative for the first offender in any case.

Also, Shaun Bridges was clearly empowered over the Silkroad site, and evidence manipulation has been proven twice now.

The prosecution has utterly ignored this along with the unabashed mishandling of the Silkroad case.

These actions coming from the government has led many to believe that the US justice system has failed.

Also considering that it relies on digital evidence, pertaining to that which can easily be forged, is one thing that’s actually troubling when looking at future convictions.

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User of Original Silk Road, Now Busted By Cops

Cannabis-Flower-1There have been several high profile and technical busts, targeting users, dealers, and administrators of some websites operating on the dark web. In one such recent case, the German police tracked down a person who had used the original Silk Road marketplace for buying cannabis, a few grams at a time.

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 <<

Gwern Branwen, an independent researcher, reportedly said that the authorities recently fined this person from Germany, who ordered cannabis seventeen times on the Silk Road and another darknet market, more than 3,000 euros. In one of the Reddit posts, he noted that he was directly contacted by the buyer to inform the same. Gwern even uploaded a letter addressed to the apparent user.

Motherboard pointed out that as the names, as well as other information contained in the letter written in March 2016 by the law authorities, were redacted, they could not contact the recipient of the letter. However, the letter indicated that the customer made 17 purchases – quantity varied from 1.5 grams to 7.4 grams of cannabis during the period January 2013 to October 2013.

Law enforcement authorities have punished many dark web users who purchased drugs from darknet markets like the Silk Road in the past. They have even tracked down people who bought weapons, poisons, and drugs such as methamphetamine or MDMA from websites operating on the dark web. Additionally, a few cases involving marijuana purchases have also been reported.

However, what makes this particular case notable is the fact that law enforcement is still keen on tracking down buyers years after the Silk Road was closed down by the federal agents in 2013. According to reports, the customer was identified after the German police busted a seller of cannabis who had maintained a record of all of his customers. The customer reportedly told Branwen that he always ensured that his address was encrypted whenever he provided it to vendors.

Based on this information, Branwen believes that the police might have sifted through the records available on the server used by the Silk Road to find out more about the purchases made by the customer as he used only one username consistently. However, it is not entirely clear as to how the authorities have managed to find one of the orders he placed on the Outlaw Market, which continues to operate on the dark web. The letter, however, noted that the communications between him and the Silk Road have been used.

reddit_log-100011890-large (3)Branwen also pointed out in the Reddit post that it is not sure as to how a buyer could get into any trouble or be prosecuted if he/she is not charged with possession of illegal drugs or packages addressed to the person has not been intercepted. He observed that the answer to this question seemed to be in the positive, at least in this case, in Germany.

Ultimately, this particular case goes on to show that even those people who have only used darknet markets briefly should be worried because law enforcement authorities could eventually track them down.

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Police Bust Silk Road Dealers In Norway

According to report, the Norway police’s largest ever online drug bust resulted in 15 arrests last month. According to the police, they nabbed fifteen people who traded drugs on the dark web.

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 <<

the-12-worst-drugs-to-get-addict (1)Kripos, the National Criminal Investigation Service in Norway, launched an investigation under the code name “Operation Marco Polo” on the dark web. This turned out to be the largest operation to nab the perpetrators of organized drug crime in the country. An Oslo newspaper, Verdens Gang, reported that the sting operation culminated in the arrest of 15 people. Out the 15 arrested, it is believed that five men are the biggest online dealers of drugs in Norway.

The origin of the case can be traced to theSilk Roaddarknet site. The closure of the Silk Road marketplacein 2013 was attributed to the audacity of Ross Ulbricht (known by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts), the founder of Silk Road, who posted his personal e-mail address in one of the forums.

Blake Benthall, who operated Silk Road 2.0 under the pseudonym Defcon, committed the same mistake when he registered a server in his own name. This enabled the U.S. authorities not only to shut down the operation of the Silk Road 2.0 site, but also to obtain a list of customers’ as well as vendors’ names. The list also contained the names of the Norwegian traders who made use of the Silk Road marketplace for selling drugs.

Norwegian operators used pseudonyms like “Kvalitetsbevisst,” “Alfa&Omega,” and “Deeplove” on different darknet marketsincluding Silk Road. The police has nabbed and indicted as many as 15 people – 13 men and two women – as part of the Marco Polo investigation since 2014. According to the authorities, the people who bought drugs from the dark web planned to sell them locally.

After a long period of monitoring darknet activities, the police were able to founda 150 marijuana plants in total in various stages of growth in the house’sbasement in Skien. In addition, the police confiscated over 80 communications devices. This included computers, memory sticks and hard drives. Information contained in some of these devices was inaccessibledue to high-quality encryptionand, therefore, were of not much use in police investigations.

Richard Beck Pedersen, who played a key role in Operation Marco Polo, said that the drug dealers could not be identified prior to the operation as the targets made use of technological camouflage right from 2013 to ensure anonymity.

download (7)Another challenge faced by Kripos was following the money trail. This is because the drug dealers accepted payment in bitcoins for the products they supplied. As the digital currency and the payment system are not backed by governments or banks, users carry out direct transactions and this makes things difficult for law enforcement agencies keep track of the movement of the cryptocurrency. Further, transactions were carried out on dark web under the hidden Tor network, which masked the identities of the Silk Road users.

According to Chief Investigator Olav Roisli, it is difficult to track money as there are several stages of transactions when digital currency is used. Further, the advantage of using the dark web was that it enabled the dealers to obtain a large customer base as the customers did not have to visit the country in order to purchase drugs.

The customers were mostly young people who used drugs for recreational purposes and usually have limited access to a physical drug market. Further, these youngsters who bought drugs would not have been able to get them without accessing the dark web.

It is expected that the Operation Marco Polo would be concluded before summer.

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FBI Team That Takedown Silk Road, Where Are They Now?

drugs-and-computer-10-4-131Buying drugs online has evolved from niche activity for the avante-garde tech-savvy individual to commonplace as it presents a convenient way for users to get what they need and want. The dark web has created a safer environment compared to meeting up with a bloke backed up by goons of bodyguards, and Silkroad rose up to be the best-known platform for illicit drugs soon after its launch in 2011 as the very first modern darknet market.

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 <<

As well as drugs, a host of other illegal products, wares and services were for sale at Silkroad, including fake passports, fake drivers’ licenses,hacking techniques, and digital goods such as pirated content. Despite harboring freedom for a good cause that rightfully serves Tor users with their privacy and security in mind, for these blatant reasons, the Silkroad was brought down- and it was no easy task.

After two and a half years in operation, the Silkroad servers were seized, the creator Dread Pirate Roberts has been unmasked, whilst both vendors and customers’ private accounts have been exposed to government scrutiny. This was not without the risks of dealing with America’s high-profile cybercriminals and trying to beat them in their own game, just like how they handled the Silkroad operators. The case was closed by no other than the FBI’s cyber-crime unit, a team who has managed to unwrap the tricky layers of The Onion Router and penetrated the Silkroad hideout.

Cybersecurity Mercenaries

Former FBI Agent Christopher Tarbell previously stated that Silkroad was the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace during that time. He’s only one among top cybersecurity talents who have all found their way to greener pastures at the Berkeley Research Group (BRG).

In February, BRG proudly announced the new gang lineup off the world’s foremost cybersecurity experts and 2013’s Silkroad key investigators: Matthew Edman, former Tor developer and part of FBI Remote Operations Unit; Thomas Brown, former federal prosecutor named BRG’s Global Leader as director of cybersecurity and investigations; computer scientist Thomas Kiernan and digital extraction technician Ilhwan Yum as associate directors.

The significant names each played a crucial role in investigations aside from Silkroad, and prosecutions of groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec, while some worked with infamous hacktivist turned federal informant Hector Monsegur. Alongside Silkroad, they investigated a NASDAQ Russian hack, the $6 billion money-laundering case against Liberty Reserve’s cryptocurrency, the hacks of Citibank, PNC Bank, Rove Digital botnet, and Samarth Agrawal’s prosecution.

No doubt, their expertise and extensive experience beyond Silkroad on national security matters and intelligence agencies make each expert for hire invaluable to BRG. The titan consulting firm’s founder Dr. David Teece refers to Tom and his group as not in any way run-of-the-mill cybersecurity consultants, rather a veteran team that’s undeniably of incredible value to their clients across the board. Brown expresses that their strength lies in their experience, which does not only apply to critical cybersecurity issues and crises like the Silkroad case, but in their ability to work together which gives them confidence that will lead to top-notch results for their clients.

The Growth of the Private Industry

Indeed, the former FBI team that led to the Silkroad bust is highly valuable to federal law enforcement agencies, only the government is unable to keep up with salary perks the private industry can generously give. BRG clients include Bank of America, General Electric, and U.S. Steel, among many of the world’s biggest industries and wealthiest companies like the multi-billion-dollar tobacco giant Philip Morris which Teece successfully defended. The firm brings in annual revenue amounting to tens of millions of dollars.

Thomas Galati, NYPD intelligence chief
Thomas Galati, NYPD intelligence chief

Thomas Galati, NYPD intelligence chief, told Congress that the private industry provides a lot of opportunity which attracts the best people out there. James Comey, FBI Director, admits to the continual challenge of the Bureau when it comes to retaining good cybersecurity talent like the guys who went off the charts in the shutdown of the Silkroad dark web site.

The private industry of cybersecurity is expected to grow to more than $170 billion by the year 2020. To top it off, extending from the scope of the private sector is Hollywood’s 21st Century Fox offering high-paying deals for being exclusive sources for the studio’s book, feature articles, and highly anticipated movie based on the Silkroad case.

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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.

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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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