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Crime The Internet

The Silk Road Is Back 261

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Silk Road is rising from the dead. After the FBI seized the deep web's favourite illegal drug market and arrested its alleged founder Ross Ulbricht last month (for, among other things, ordering a hit through his own website), the online-marketplace-cum-libertarian-movement has found a new home and opened for business at 16:20 GMT this afternoon. In the wake of the original Silk Road's closure, everything became a little turbulent for its users. First, they had to get used to not getting high-quality, peer-reviewed drugs delivered direct to their sofas. (Though presumably they didn't stop getting high, instead forced back to the 'mystery mix' street dealers and surly ex-Balkan war criminals who have spent years filling cities with drugs at night.) Some users were pissed off that they'd lost all the Bitcoin wealth they'd amassed, or that paid-for orders would go undelivered, while small-time dealers freaked out about how they suddenly lacked the funds to pay off debts owed to drug sellers higher up the food chain."
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The Silk Road Is Back

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  • Yea, Right! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:01PM (#45347681)

    I've never seen nor participated in Silk Road. But, you'd have to be an utter moron to participate in the Silk Road "Phoenix"! It is sure to be either an FBI honey pot or a scammer looking to steal BitCoin.

    Go ahead, prove me wrong.

    • My thoughts exactly.
      I am surprised that law enforcement allowed it to be shut down in the first place. They should have taken it over, and run it for a few months, track every transaction, and then come down hard on all the dealers.
      Or just sit back and bust the top seller every month. Someone else will always step up to fill the gap, and some smart cop looks like a hero to his/her superiors.
      • They already got all the site data, I guess they didn't like the idea of using as a farm to raise easily bustable kingpins with.

      • The internet equivalent of sitting on the stash house and making cases off the mules going in and out? Unfortunately, most modern law enforcement doesn't have a view of a horizon that far away. They go for the low hanging fruit and move on, instead of taking down the whole ring.

      • ...has taken it over and going to run it as a profit center to support whatever off-the-books black ops they are running, as well as provide a long-term intelligence gathering center for transnational organized crime and drug dealing.

      • by 228e2 ( 934443 )
        You forgot to add the spoiler tag!
      • They should have taken it over, and run it for a few months, track every transaction, and then come down hard on all the dealers. Or just sit back and bust the top seller every month

        How? It's not like the sellers need to leave their street adress, and if they're halfway smart, they launder their Bitcoins before cashing them in.

        They could potentially catch a few buyers by pretending to be sellers, but even then it would require them to have a stash when ordering because someone send you something illegal do

      • by joshki ( 152061 )

        I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they did.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      "God exist! Go head, prove me wrong!"

      It doesn't work like that.

    • "It's a trap!"
      - Admiral Gial Ackbar

    • Go ahead, prove yourself correct.
    • by memnock ( 466995 )

      Given the general intelligence level of the average criminal, "utter moron" probably isn't much of a stretch for a lot of the silk road users. Committing crimes in a medium that can conceivably record most, if not all, of your actions is crazy.

      Someone will attempt to correct me with a comment about how conniving criminals are, but for the most part, they are dumber than a sack of bricks. Sure there is a genius or two, but even the smart ones can get caught if they keep at it and eventually slip up.

  • Not really news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:01PM (#45347689) Homepage

    Lots of silk roads have opened up since the original one was raided. Some have taken orders, collected the money and done a runner with it. Some presumably are still operating. Some will be fronts and honeytraps set up by various law enforcement bodies around the world. Some will be real genuine marketplaces. Nobody knows for sure which ones are the genuine ones.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:02PM (#45347695)

    Long Live The Silk Road.

  • by eexaa ( 1252378 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:03PM (#45347699) Homepage

    ...is that this instance is run by FBI.

    I don't see other reason why anyone would take the risk without - at least - a massive security technology change.

  • by selfabuse ( 681350 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:03PM (#45347701)
    of course it's not a honeypot. What would ever make you think that?
  • FBI tradition? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zAPPzAPP ( 1207370 )

    Traditionally, domains and servers sized by the FBI become honeypots afterwards, right?
    I would be disappointed if they were to break with this convenient reallocation of resources now.

  • by data2 ( 1382587 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:06PM (#45347739)

    Other have already taken over. It might not yet be as trusted as Silk Road was, but there are alternate platforms that were just waiting for the big one to go away and took over without a problem. Too much money to be gained in a fairly secure market. Just don't be from the US but from Russia or somewhere where they don't bother going after someone mostly facilitating sales in the US and Europe.

  • Oh, good (Score:5, Funny)

    by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:15PM (#45347839) Homepage
    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is very happy to hear about that.
    • Re:Oh, good (Score:5, Funny)

      by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:16PM (#45347851) Homepage

      Waitaminute. I didn't post that.

      Okay, maybe I did, but I was probably in a drunken stupor when it happened so that's okay.

      • by Thud457 ( 234763 )

        I may have done that while in a drunken stupor

        Is going to replace suspots as my go-to excuse for all and anything from now on. Since apparently it's acceptable justification for even the most unacceptable of behavior.
        Hell, I see a resurgence in the three-martini lunch from here on out.

    • This is fascinating!

      How could this guy:

      But until Tuesday, Rob Ford, the mayor of multicultural, eco-conscious, politically correct Toronto, had vehemently denied a persistent report about a video that showed him smoking crack cocaine.

      Get elected as mayor of Toronto?

      But until this one, the episodes only seemed to reinforce Mr. Ford’s standing among his core constituency, what he calls the Ford Nation, of disenchanted, right-of-center suburbanites. Now his mayoralty is in serious doubt.

      • Because elections are about selecting the lesser evil, and a candidate using crack is unlikely to even register on that scale, as long as they are functional enough to run their campaign.

  • by J'raxis ( 248192 ) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:28PM (#45347959) Homepage

    It could be a honeypot, but since everything done through a site like Silk Road is anonymous except receipt of delivery of items, the only users of the site the FBI would catch would be the drug buyers. Sellers, provided they're not using an OS or browser with the vulnerabilities that the FBI has used to de-anonymize TOR users in the past, and provided they don't do something dumb when they mail a package like reveal their identity, are safe. And since when is the FBI interested in going after drug buyers? Typically they only bust such small-time participants in the drug trade to get them to rat on their dealers, but that obviously won't work when your dealer is anonymous.

    Or am I missing something here? My understanding was that Silk Road did things entirely through TOR and Bitcoin, meaning that those ends of the transactions are (excepting user stupidity) completely anonymous.

    • You have to look at what they have now that they didn't have before, assuming it's a honeypot. Likely, they have detailed information of the transactions of their users, everything from the IP of the incoming TOR node to the amount and type of transactions a particular user was party to. And they can probably

      I think they're still waiting for their users to slip up, reveal their real names or do some other silly thing to expose themselves. But now they don't need to set up sting operations on any potential s

      • Whoops, never finished that thought. They can probably determine which time zone the user mostly is in from the logs alone.

  • Obligatory Drugwars [wikipedia.org] link

  • If they kept it in wallets controlled by the Silk Road site, they have only themselves to blame. Preventing that kind of thing is what bitcoin is designed for.

  • I'd never order my medication from a place like "Silk Road." I don't like the idea of giving my address out to some anonymous stranger that I've never chatted with or met.

    Silly me. Being paranoid like that.

    Remember: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't watching you.

  • The problem really wasn't with silk road, it was no more or less illegal than your street corner. The problem is it was being run by some guy who was violating laws, and got caught. If you do something to piss off the man, you really need to stay clean.

    Its too bad the dealers lost their $, but that can happen in real life too if your supplier gets busted before he delivers.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine