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Bitcoin Crime Encryption Privacy The Courts Technology

The Technologies That Betrayed Silk Road's Anonymity 129

itwbennett writes Silk Road was based on an expectation of anonymity: Servers operated within an anonymous Tor network. Transactions between buyers and sellers were conducted in bitcoin. Everything was supposedly untraceable. Yet prosecutors presented a wealth of digital evidence to convince the jury that Ross Ulbricht was Dread Pirate Roberts, the handle used by the chief operator of the site. From Bitcoin to server logins and, yes, Facebook, here's a look at 5 technologies that tripped Ulbricht up.
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The Technologies That Betrayed Silk Road's Anonymity

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:02PM (#49021327)

    Looks like I might have my shot at being a multimillionaire.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:08PM (#49021373)

      Yes, Facebook is a technology.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Indeed. What "betrayed" Ulbricht was his own incompetence and/or laziness. None of the technologies mentioned worked in any other way than expected by a competent individual. Plain, old-fashioned police work was quite enough to find him, and the only tricky part was getting to his laptop while it was decrypted. And even that only helped because he did not separate his data into different encrypted containers, and unlocked the disk in public, with no working dead-man switch.

      I still have doubts whether everyt

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        The problem is not his particular slip-ups - it's the widespread nerd belief that Tor, Bitcoin and crypto are going to keep you safe from whoever-you're-a-thorn-in-the-side-to [xkcd.com]. The list of potential ways to accidentally leak your identity is massive; sooner or later, you're going to slip up. Just like what happens with all "perfect crimes".

        Honestly, if you really want to be safe from arrest (at least for a while), move to Russia, pay off and/or befriend the right people, be a Putin supporter, and only do th

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          What you say is partially true. It is fully true if you still want convenience (and Ulbricht clearly did). If you do things right, you get a very high level of security, but it means things like having no storage in you laptop, only a tails CD, typing in long passwords yourself, and never, ever use any computer that ever has seen your real identity for any "business"-related task ever.

          That said, most people cannot get to that stage, but if you ever have worked with a computer that is authorized for classifi

        • Honestly, if you really want to be safe from arrest (at least for a while), move to Russia, pay off and/or befriend the right people, be a Putin supporter, and only do things that are a PITA to people in western countries. In the current political climate they're more likely to give you a medal than deport you.

          Wouldn't it work the other way around, too? Stay in the US, but only do things that are a PITA to people in places like Russia or China?

  • TL;DR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:07PM (#49021369) Journal

    Rusty treated OpSec as suggestions instead of law.

    • Re:TL;DR (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @07:50PM (#49022403) Homepage

      Rusty treated OpSec as suggestions instead of law.

      Of course, he also treated the law as suggestions instead of law. I have no sympathy at all. :P

      • Rusty treated OpSec as suggestions instead of law.

        Of course, he also treated the law as suggestions instead of law. I have no sympathy at all. :P

        I think most people treat the law as suggestions. Have you ever gone faster than a posted speed limit?

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:08PM (#49021377) Journal

    If I were running a criminal enterprise via my computer, wtf would you go out in a public place and do so? At least sit in your car or something.

    Why would I have a facebook account?

    Why would I be advertising on facebook for people to join my enterprise?

    Why would I keep logs of any sort?

    There is so much stupid here, it hurts. Some "Dread Pirate" he turned out to be.

    • by hodet ( 620484 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:12PM (#49021427)

      Sounds like a case of hubris. He was overconfident in his abilities and probably got more and more sloppy as time went on, convincing himself that he was too smart to get caught.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:24PM (#49021521) Homepage Journal

        He was overconfident in his abilities and probably got more and more sloppy as time went on, convincing himself that he was too smart to get caught.

        I think it's more convincing himself that his opponents were too dumb to catch him even if he was sloppy... but they're not complete idiots, obviously.

        • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:31PM (#49021579) Homepage Journal

          The cops don't have to be smarter than the crooks to catch them. They only have to be competent, and patient.

          • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:53PM (#49021707) Homepage Journal
            As the saying goes, it's not enough to be smarter than every cop; you have to be smarter than all the cops put together.
            • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @06:03PM (#49021773)

              also the cops only have to 'get lucky' once. the criminal (or suspect) needs to be lucky 100% of the time. The odds are definitely in the police's favor.

              • by Comrade Ogilvy ( 1719488 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @06:27PM (#49021895)
                Yup. The real secret to not being caught by Columbo is not, as would be geniuses tend to think, by having a "full proof" scheme by which Columbo will never be able to prove you did it. It is by never showing up on Columbo's suspect list in the first place. Ulbricht's post that reveals his email was probably his doom, putting him on a select list of mere hundreds of people who knew about Silk Road early in the game. Then it becomes a numbers game, and the list shortens and shortens until the Dread Pirate has made one too many small errors.
                • by Anonymous Coward

                  "full proof"

                  Foolproof.

              • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2015 @08:55PM (#49022741)

                Posting anonymously, just because. :-)

                While I am not, and have not been involved in any criminal matters, I happen to be somewhat paranoid about my privacy. If you have.. interesting private fetishes that won't get you into any legal trouble but WILL generate mockery from your co-workers, you learn that in that private world you have to simply be very careful.

                Let me tell you, if you want to keep your professional and private lives separate, being 'careful' for decades is very, very difficult. You always have to resist the impulse to chat about what you do at work, lest you create a connection between the two. You have to resist posting about each side in their various communications forums.

                Maintaining privacy for extended periods of time is just difficult. For a week? Sure! Constant vigilance! Wheee! After a year, you start to slack off. Maybe you start to think "fuck it." Maybe not getting caught with anything will make you lower your guard. Maybe there will be a point of time when you start to take shortcuts. You may also greatly regret the public Usenet postings you made under your real name in your early college years when you were young and dumb and thought "privacy? Who will ever care about this?" You might even think "eh, I'm tired of being in the closet. Who really cares if I'm a furry anyway? I don't even do any of that weird stuff people would associate with them."

                Then you come back to your senses and get back into the closet, and keep your two lives separate! But boy, it's difficult to not accidentally leave evidence around Google, etc.

                • by Rei ( 128717 )

                  Haha, I knew right from your second paragraph that you must be a furry. ;)

                  While I don't personally get it, power to you, man. :) Rrrawr! And my sympathies for having to be in the closet about it. :(

          • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @07:13PM (#49022175)

            This is true.

            I mean, the "cybercrime" investigators that work for the FBI are not stupid and they're not incompetent. If you're running a large, well-known drug-selling site, they probably will put resources into finding you. On top of that, the deck is really stacked against you -- as a criminal, you need to avoid making any mistakes, while the investigator only need to wait for you to make a mistake. They're patient. (And "investigator" is not just people working for the police -- it's also anyone who might both have reason to dislike you and also motivation to reveal your identity to the police.) So, it may well be possible to hide indefinitely from prosecution, but it's not easy.

            • by LordWabbit2 ( 2440804 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2015 @03:54AM (#49024033)
              That's just the thing, at some point someone will make a mistake, he should have been more like the Dread Pirate Roberts and retired before that happened. From what I understand he had made a lot of money, should have walked away while he still could (yeah, yeah I know easier said than done).
            • by houghi ( 78078 )

              it's also anyone who might both have reason to dislike you and also motivation to reveal your identity to the police

              This is what causes many criminals to get arrested. I can be a jealous competotor or even a jealous partner or just some poor joe presured into giving up your name.

              So even if you make no mistakes, you can still get caught. So after that you need to leave no evidence they can use against you.

        • It's either that,

          or, as evidenced by his breaking of his own rule "Don't face away from the door" when accessing network in public" (cheated, article insight), he had been overcome with the paranoia of getting caught for so long that he believed it to be inevitable. It seems there were protocols in place for multiple wallet (camouflage) transfer that he may have ignored in transferring money to his own laptop accounts.

          We can agree he was not an honest boy, but he did some smart shit for a while... he just

          • The lack of end game is key.

            If you're making real money doing illegal things, yup I need an end game, and it needs to be a relatively soon date. Unless you're real smart, there's a practical limit to what can be spent anyway.

      • Sounds more like he was stupid from the get go, and it just took a little time for it to catch up with him.

        And it points out the truth of what I've said repeatedly - security is more than encryption. Much, much more.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It seems to me, that when he was just starting he didn't realize the magnitude of the enterprise he was launching; later he tried to go back & cover his tracks, but couldn't do it completely. And then he made a few slipups along the way.

    • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @07:54PM (#49022425) Journal
      Careful now.

      I have it on good authority one can go from "the worst pirate I ever heard of" to "that's got to be the best pirate I've ever seen" in less than *one film at the Bijou.

      *It's a colloquial measurement, like football fields and olympic swimming pools.

    • Because not all criminals are smart nor are they smart as they think they are.
    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Sounds like the FB link was used more for correlation than direct evidence -- they even included an example (the FB account had pictures from Thailand posted at approximately the same time that DPR was bragging about a trip to Thailand on some other forum.) Its unlikely he did anything like posting "come see my illegal website!" on his real-name account. (Of course they did mention that he used his own name @gmail.com for a reply address so who knows..)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While the Feds were enforcing drugs laws, they tipped off about some of their methods.

    Now, terrorists will now go and make sure these openings are closed; possibly messing up investigations of other Feds who want to stop terrorism.

    End the Drug War. It's doing us no good.

    • They didn't tip anything. All of this is pretty obvious investigation methods. Mouse wigglers and other tools to keep laptops and desktops powered and unlocked while you move them have been around for a long time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Also, this whole story probably is BS.

        They used some classified NSA method (I can think of at least two major approaches) and now they spread some BS in order to cover their REAL methods.

        "Parallel Construction" at work.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      While I agree that the war on drugs has no positive effects and massive negative ones, any halfway competent terrorist did not need that tip-off.

  • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:14PM (#49021441)

    Not much really needs to be said.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can't be anonymous with a handle. This was a case of ego, and wanting a 'name' to associate with 'deeds'. Just because a name isn't one you are born with doesn't mean it isn't associated with you. Even if you create a false identity to represent you, you still own that identity. Even an encryption key can be an alias. Police are completely used to tracking people by alias, and linking aliases to human beings. It's their job, they have been doing it for years.

    In the end, his goal was to associate a

  • Non-repudiation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mitcheli ( 894743 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:33PM (#49021591)
    The advantages to Encryption and defense-in-depth strategies is they are based on the triad of information assurance, one key of that is "non-repudiation". The "downside" to non-repudiation is the ability to connect the dots come litigation time. Interesting that they mention that the SSH sessions used key based authentication when the opposing attorneys claimed that anyone can name their systems "frosty" and use the login name "frosty". My question is, did the key on the laptop that was supposedly logged in as "frosty" also correlate to the key on the server? If so, the "anyone" list just got a lot smaller.
  • well, there might be more "tech" to it than just this reportage.
  • I think the knee-jerk response is to say that the problem exists between the chair and keyboard. Just reading the article makes it impossible to draw another conclusion. He was nabbed in a public library before he had a chance to turn his laptop off so nothing was encrypted. Similarly, ARE YOU TAKING NOTES ON A CRIMINAL FUCKING CONSPIRACY [youtu.be]? Why would you ever keep data in plain text even if the hard drive is encrypted? I am not expecting the FBI to raid me at any time, but just out of caution, I have my computer encrypted using Bitlocker (yeah, I know) and all data at rest is stuck in a hidden TrueCrypt partition. If I want to access it, I have to sign in separately. But most hilariously, he had a stupid freaking Facebook page that linked him directly to his true identity and Silk Road.

    However, this only underscores how difficult it is to have operational security for any complex business. At some point, he needs to keep track of all transactions, with reasonably easy access. It's a pain in the ass for me to repeatedly log in and access data. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to conduct business. I guess the bottom line is that physical security is crucial.

    • I am not expecting the FBI to raid me at any time, but just out of caution, I have my computer encrypted using Bitlocker (yeah, I know) and all data at rest is stuck in a hidden TrueCrypt partition. If I want to access it, I have to sign in separately.

      and if you are nabbed when you have signed in and your TrueCrypt partition is exposed?

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Why would you ever keep data in plain text even if the hard drive is encrypted?

      Because its very hard to read when its in encrypted form. That's why they had to nab him after he had everything unlocked and fast enough that he wouldn't have the opportunity to lock it again.

      Just think of how many people they would have had to have just sitting around moving the mouse every couple of minutes around the clock to ensure that the laptop didn't go into screen saver mode and auto-lock itself again lol (well ok probably only long enough to copy the HDD to an unencrypted external drive.)

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        As to moving the mouse, there are devices for that. And the first thing you do is to copy-off all data and full the memory content. If you have Firewire, the second can even be done by somebody that has no computer skills at all.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:38PM (#49021635) Homepage Journal
    Looks like he was done in by being stupid more than the technologies.

    The article is more than a little sensational too. "He was done in by CHAT!" No, he was done in by keeping a goddamn log of his criminal activities. The fact that it happened to be chat is beside the point. Probably the only entry in there that deserves the headline is the Bitcoin one, only because it highlights how people misrepresent Bitcoin (It's so anonymous that every single transaction ever is recorded on the internet!). The article points out that he could have used tumblers to hide his bitcoins, but with the volume of coins Silk Road deals with that probably wasn't practical. Tumblers are really only useful for relatively small numbers of coins at a time. Put too many in and take too many out and your transactions stand out.

    The article does harp a lot on how this information was only available because Ulbrict was dumb and let his laptop be snatched out of his hands while he was logged in. It is somewhat frightening to consider how poor the government's case might be if he had simply been facing the other direction.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well if he was facing the other direction the government wouldn't be bringing the case to trial yet - the cops didn't just stumble into him and luck out, they were monitoring him looking for an opportune moment to strike.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Indeed. Or if he was using a honey-pot himself (working with a completely clean computer and ssh in to some completely clean servers to have the feds think he was doing something bad), when in reality he was giving then an "easy" way to get at his data. Good security includes traps for the attackers...

      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        That would require him being both a criminal mastermind and probably tipped off that he was about to be snagged. This was a guy who got scammed out of over a million bucks by a confidence game. He wasn't a tremendous mastermind. Just a guy who was smart enough to set up a website using the Darknet and Bitcoin for the most obvious application of both but had the crazy idea of maybe not making it a scam this time (like most other darknet drug site) and actually selling the drugs.
  • by Magnus Pym ( 237274 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @05:45PM (#49021669)
    This seems like a perfect use of parallel construction: figure out who he is by using illegal/secret technologies, and develop a plausible narrative of how legal methods were actually used. Maybe we are jumping too quickly to the "He was stupid" conclusion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't need parallel construction when they seized his lap top.

      All of this is based on the seizure of his lap top.

      The bit coins, the chat logs, the encryption keys, the SSH logins.

      If they didn't seize the lap top in tact, they would have had a much more difficult time with this. It would have been he said/she said buried in tech gobbledygook.

      But they did get his lap top, in tact, in plain text. I imagine getting the lap top was primary goal of his arrest. They'd probably have let him run and catch him la

      • Parallel construction could be considered though 'Fruit of the Poisonous Tree' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

        If they only found him by ?illegal NSA wiretapping? the laptop would inadmissible. My understanding is that most parallel construction (supposedly) isn't for the sake of using illegally obtained evidence but simply to protect the method or person by which the evidence was obtained. Which also could be the case here. Maybe they actually got him using a sophisticated and warranted attack that th

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          My understanding is that most parallel construction (supposedly) isn't for the sake of using illegally obtained evidence but simply to protect the method or person by which the evidence was obtained.

          May I inquire as to why you think this? Do you have any interesting evidence or even anecdotes that lead you to this conclusion or is this just what the nice man from the DOJ told you?

          Additionally I can see virtue in protecting the persons evidence was obtained from in *some* cases, but the methods? In a free society with an adversarial justice system based on the presumption of innocence, what legitimate goals are furthered by secrecy around evidence gathering methods?

          • In a free society with an adversarial justice system based on the presumption of innocence, what legitimate goals are furthered by secrecy around evidence gathering methods?

            It would be nice if we had one of those but are you joking? Cover up the methods to stop people defending against it. it's not fucking rocket science.

            • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

              Cover up the methods to stop people defending against it.

              That's my point thought defendants have right to defend themselves. When does covering up evidence gathering methods serve a legitimate judicial use? Why would hiding the methods used to gather evidence be necessary unless for example the government did something illegal?

              Conducted a search without cause, hacked a system in violation of the CFAA, inserted a mole acting as an agent of the state who induced you to commit the crime which would make it entrapment; etc.

              Protecting the identity of whiteness etc,

              • Cover up the methods to stop people defending against it.

                That's my point thought defendants have right to defend themselves. When does covering up evidence gathering methods serve a legitimate judicial use? Why would hiding the methods used to gather evidence be necessary unless for example the government did something illegal?

                Um that's what parallel construction is. Getting information though illegal means (usually better and quicker) and the presenting a story about how you got it legally.

        • Both the "inevitability" and "good-faith" exceptions might apply in this case. But in the end the defence didn't or couldn't use parallel construction to get the laptop evidence omitted so it's irrelevant.
        • My understanding is that most parallel construction (supposedly) isn't for the sake of using illegally obtained evidence but simply to protect the method or person by which the evidence was obtained.

          Parallel construction is illegal even if there is a warrant, because the accused has a Constitutional right to face his accuser. Keeping the method of obtaining evidence secret is simply not allowed (at least, as long as the court itself is actually obeying the law).

      • All of this is based on the seizure of his lap top.

        The lap top was just the endgame - he'd already left enough small clues scattered about for law enforcement to figure out who was worth looking at. He made the classic security error of the n00b, he thought he had encryption and that made him safe.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      Never substitute a conspiracy theory when you don't need one.

      Sure, I suppose the NSA could have used magical spying technology to know everything about Dread Pirate Roberts, but whether they did or not, they didn't need to. He had left enough clues about DPR's identity scattered around in public to put him on a small list of suspects.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Indeed. And in fact this story is good for freedom, as we can now point out that this guy was caught without dragnet surveillance, without breaking crypto and without all the other stuff the NSA does. Hence what the NSA does gets zero positive press from this, but rather their claims of what it does as being "necessary" is exposed as a lie even for catching hardened Internet drug-lords and murderers.

      • by N1AK ( 864906 )

        Sure, I suppose the NSA could have used magical spying technology to know everything about Dread Pirate Roberts, but whether they did or not, they didn't need to. He had left enough clues about DPR's identity scattered around in public to put him on a small list of suspects.

        I don't intend to suggest something underhand happened, but I want to highlight what I feel is a flaw to this logic. Once you know someone has committed a crime it will be comparatively simple to find masses of evidence. Yes he might of

        • *** Yes he might of left information around that could help narrow down suspects, or even incriminate himself, but that doesn't mean that it would have been found, noticed, and acted on.***

          Well, Silkroad was a huge piece of evidence for criminal activity. I think it is safe to assume that the FBI tripped over that boulder first. Since it was a web-based auction site, someone must have created it and someone must maintain it. Someone with he nym Dread Pirate Roberts seems to run the show.

          Standard inves
          • by N1AK ( 864906 )

            I think it is safe to assume that from that moment on the name Ross Ulbricht led the suspect list and all effort was put in to linking DPR to Ross Ulbricht.

            I also think it is likely that they caught him exactly as they said he did. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't be expected to keep records to show that is what in fact happened, and have their records audited to ensure they tell the truth. We're seeing far too many cases of things like the FBI protecting the police from having to reveal information a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They had all that evidence because tehy had a man on the inside, duh. Sure DPR/Ulbricht wasn't the greatest at stealth to begin with, but DHS was inside building up evidence.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/silk-road-mole-dread-pirate-roberts-paid-me-1000-week-i-tracked-him-down-1483452

  • by lippydude ( 3635849 ) on Monday February 09, 2015 @06:35PM (#49021935)
    "As Ulbricht's trial unfolded over the last month, one character appeared again and again in the chat logs prosecutors pulled from the laptop seized from Ulbricht at the time of his arrest: a man calling himself Variety Jones, and later, Cimon " ref [wired.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Variety Jones, perhaps the true mastermind behind Silk Road [wired.com], had the perfect level of involvement. He was disconnected and impossible to track, which means he ran this empire through a patsy. This isn't meant as an insult to Ulbricht. It's too hard to do everything right at that level of involvement. Jones's mistakes only had negative ramifications for Ulbricht. You could say that his only error that might come back to him was that he didn't explicitly tell Ulbricht to keep logging disabled for his Tor

  • If you can get something from a to b on the internet, people can figure it out.

    It's only about increase the level of cost to figure it out.

    Just like anything encrypted that needs to become human readable at some point can be figured out. Not necessarily the way you are thinking.

  • It seems to me that if he had managed to close the lid on his laptop, the prosecuters would have been completely screwed.

    Encryption is great stuff, but the IBKAC loophole can get you every time.

    IBKAC = Interface Between Keyboard and Chair

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Indeed. Just working behind two doors and/or having a dead-man-switch handy would have been enough.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > Indeed. Just working behind two doors and/or having a dead-man-switch handy would have been enough.

        Nobody expects the spanish inquisition, the SAS, GSG-9, S. Matkal, GIGN, GROM, SEAL-6 or Spetnaz to come through the window on fast-rope? With a Silent Hawk Laden-copter hovering above?

        In fact, military-style commandos usually enter through the walls, using tube-like shaped charges to form a nice big manhole, out of concern for the possible booby-trapping of doors and windows. Or they will first infiltrat

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          That is all very impressive, but not relevant at all. The FBI clearly does not have this kind of resources. They did not even manage to bug his keyboard or eavesdrop on it, both well within the range of gifted amateurs. You seem to also forget that a good dead-man-switch will protect against all these as well. The window shatters, the wall blows, you fall of your chair or jerk your hand away from the computer and the thing is locked. You can even easily rig one to your hart-rate or breathing these days.

          No,

          • They used subtlety to find out where he was going to be and patiently waited until they were in a position to quietly sneak up behind him and grab the laptop before he had a chance to do anything about it.

            You are correct that Ulbricht was rather arrogant and did not take necessary precautions. I am not a "typical American" that believes brute force beats subtlety. Had they attempted to use brute force, he would have been alerted and managed to do something to prevent them from getting into his laptop.

            • by gweihir ( 88907 )

              Indeed. Brute force is rather ineffective if your aim is not mostly indiscriminate destruction. That is why the military is quite unsuitable for a lot of "enforcement"-type tasks. Can be seen in the current drone wars that seem to mostly help terrorist organizations make it easier to recruit followers. "Surgical" removal of a target looks different and collateral damage does win harts and minds, just unfortunately it does so for the other side.

    • IBKAC = Idiot Between Keyboard And Computer

      Oh well, it almost works.

  • It wasn't "technology" that betrayed him, it was the sort if unthinking stupidity that leads to the downfall of all sorts of criminals. In another era, he would have been boasting about his exploits at a bar or to impress a date.

    The primary bug was in the Wetware, tech just moved things along.

  • The bottom line is: Don't connect your alter ego to your real name, EVER!

    The list of his failures to hide evidence was long. But none of them would have mattered if they didn't learn his name.

    First, he posted as 'altoid' advertizing the Silk Road.

    Then he posted as 'altoid' seeking help with 'bitcoin service' and soliciting contact with a gmail address which was based on his real name.

    That's what got his name on the police's radar. That's why they began to monitor him. Since then it was just a matter of time

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