2014
11.07

Silk Road 2 got shut down and owner “Defcon” arrested

Today is a sad day for everyone using the onionland.

Silk Road 2 just got shut down and the owner “Defcon”, real name Blake Benthall, got arrested.

Some key facts:

- Blake Benthall aka Defcon was the operator of SR2 since december 2013, when the SR2′s Dread Pirate Roberts (Not Ross Ulbricht) left SR2.

- The FBI found out the physical location of the SR2 server, by yet unknown means, and had police in some other country make a mirror of the SR2 server.

- Blake was renting the server using his own name, with his own personal email account.

- FBI found evidence that he cashed out over $200k us using exchanges and pre-ordered a Tesla S for $140k us, all using that same email.

- When he was under surveillance, Blake usually left his house or hotel at the same time Defcon logged off the SR2 forums.

- He was using some unusual Browser / OS combo which they found on his laptop and logfiles on SR2 were showing that Defcon was using exactly that combo.

 

Looks like the SR2 owner was not only not as poethic as Ross Ulbricht (SR1 Owner) but also alot less intelligent, they had alot more hard police work to do to find Ross about a year ago.

The only really interessting thing about this news imho is, how did they find the server?

And who will open SR3 or will the Silk Road brand just vanish with no new Dread Pirate Roberts in seight?

silk-road-2

Update:

Looks like this could be a big operation with MANY arrests all around the world.

The following sites seem to be confirmed as seized too:

Hydra

Cloud 9

while Pandora, BlueSky and Alpaca are also down.

 

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2014
09.15

 

Nice documentary about the deep web from BBC.

It covers thehiddenwiki.org and the Silk Road and many other topics around the deep web.

Julian Assange and many other prominent people from the cypherpunk cummunity talk about surveillance and countermeassures like encryption and the TOR network.

Privacy, Internet of things and bitcoin are other topics shown and explained. A must watch for every onionland citizen.

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2013
10.02

Silk Road shutdown, domain seized, DPR arrested :(

Since today http://silkroadvb5piz3r.onion/ is showing a seized by the FBI page.

Media is reporting Dread Pirate Roberts got arrested:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/02/us-crime-silkroad-raid-idUSBRE9910TR20131002

This is a very sad day for the Silk Road community, The Silk Road will be gone forever after this and who knows if someone else is brave enough to start a new marketplace after Atlantis Marketplace also shut down a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile all that is left are the independent vendors on the Hidden Wiki:

http://kpvz7ki2v5agwt35.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

Alternative Link Directories | Hidden Service Urls:

http://dirnxxdraygbifgc.onion/

http://torlinkbgs6aabns.onion/

http://jh32yv5zgayyyts3.onion/

http://wikitjerrta4qgz4.onion/

 

Silk Road Shutdown

Silk Road Domain Seized

 

Here is a nice sumary of what happened from someone on reddit:

  • This has been a joint operation run the cybercrime squad within the FBI’s New York field office. It involved the FBI, DEA, IRS and Homeland Security’s investigative unit.
  • It’s unstated from when the investigation started, but they received a complete copy of the Silk Road web server on the 23rd of July 2013.
  • This included user account and transaction information. It’s unclear whether or not this covers addresses and other sensitive transaction information.
  • From February 6, 2011 to July 23 2013, 9,519,664BTC was generated in sales, 614,305BTC going directly to DPR in the way of “commissions”. This comes to a total of 1,229,465 transactions.
  • Based on the copy of the site which the FBI received, they believe DPR to have been the sole operator and owner of SR, handling all aspects of the site himself and delegating only user affairs to appointed moderators.
  • In March of this year, a SR user/vendor called “FriendlyChemist” attempted to extort DPR via SR’s private message system, providing proof that he had the names/addresses of thousands of vendors/users after having allegedly hacked a bigger vendor. He demanded $500,000USD, saying that he needed the money to pay off his supplier. DPR then stated that he wished to speak to FriendlyChemist’s supplier.
  • A user called “redandwhite” then proceeded to contact DPR, stating that he was FriendlyChemist’s supplier and also the owner of his debt. DPR then solicited redandwhite to “execute” FriendlyChemist, supplying redandwhite his full name and address. After having agreed on terms, DPR sent redandwhite approximately $150,000USD (1,670BTC) to have FriendlyChemist killed. redandwhite later provided photographic proof of the alleged murder.
  • Investigators could not find any record of somebody in that region being killed around that date or matching that description. This possibly implies that DPR was duped/scammed, but, DPR is also quoted as having told redandwhite the following: “Not long ago, I had a clean hit done for 80k.”
  • DPR has been identified as Ross William Ulbricht.
  • > “He is 29 years old, graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 2006. From 2006 to 2010, he attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Materials Science and Engineering.”
  • His LinkedIn profile is at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rossulbricht

Now, onto how he got caught…

  • An agent involved in the investigation (“Agent-1″), found the first few references to SR on the internet from somebody only identified as “altoid”, attempting to promote the site in its beginning days, in January of 2011.
  • In October of the same year, a user also going by the name of “altoid” made a posting on Bitcoin Talk titled “a venture backed Bitcoin startup company”, which directed interested users to “rossulbricht at gmail dot com”.
  • That email address is what led to DPR’s downfall.

Ross Ulbricht about himself on Linkedin:

“I love learning and using theoretical constructs to better understand the world around me. Naturally therefore, I studied physics in college and worked as a research scientist for five years. I published my findings in peer reviewed journals five times over that period, first on organic solar cells and then on EuO thin-film crystals. My goal during this period of my life was simply to expand the frontier of human knowledge.

Now, my goals have shifted. I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and agression amongst mankind. Just as slavery has been abolished most everywhere, I believe violence, coercion and all forms of force by one person over another can come to an end. The most widespread and systemic use of force is amongst institutions and governments, so this is my current point of effort. The best way to change a government is to change the minds of the governed, however. To that end, I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force.”

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2013
09.30

As you can see here

Tor Connections

The number of botnet clients using the Tor network is still around 3.5 million, but the next picture shows that overall network performance is getting better again:

Tor Performance

Browsing .onion sites like the hidden wiki is still slower than usual, and often sites dont load at all.

What you can do is:

1. Dont use .onion.to and other web proxys, install the Tor browser bundle from torproject.org

2. If a site fails to load, hit “new identity” in Tor/Videlia and then refresh the site, after it loaded once its usually working fine.

 

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2013
09.04

Check out this new hidden wiki alternative

There is a new site listing .onion hidden services, which contains much higher percentage of working links than the hidden wiki:

OnionDir, located at:

http://dirnxxdraygbifgc.onion/

Or with web proxys:

http://dirnxxdraygbifgc.onion.to/

http://dirnxxdraygbifgc.onion.lu/

I especially like that you can just copy and paste all the links to some text file to keep some personal bookmarks of tor hidden services.

So far all links seem to be working, which is also a bonus since the hidden wiki is a mess these days since Freedom Hosting went down.

Will OnionDir become the new hidden wiki? We think at least it has the potential to be a nice alternative.

Tell us what you think.

OnionDir Hidden Service Directory

 

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2013
09.03

Tor network under huge DDOS

The Tor network is under a huge DDOS right now, as you can see on the following statstics from the Tor project:

Tor DDOS

New Tor Users

Seems like noone really knows whats going on, it could be new users, or a large botnet trying to DDOS the Tor network.

But traffic on our Tor relay has trippled and most hidden services including the hidden wiki seem to be down / not working.

 

 

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2013
08.29

Hidden Wiki Videos

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2013
08.23

On 5th august 2013 Eric Eoin Marques, founder of Freedom Hosting, which hosted over 50% of all hidden services got arrested by the FBI and NSA.

Their motivation was clearly Tormails database, which contains thousands of email conversations between for example users of the Silk Road Marketplace, or more importantly maybe even communication between whistleblowers and journalists.

Since the Hidden Wiki and OPVA, 2 of the largest remaining hidden services, are also down since yesterday, we suspect the FBI / NSA operation is still ongoing.

You are welcome to leave a comment to this article if you got more information about the recent crackdown on Tor hidden services.

 

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2013
08.23

How to access the Deep Web

Step 1:
Download and install the Tor browser from: https://www.torproject.org/. You will want to download the Tor Browser Bundle, as it is already set up and ready to go. The browser is available on different platforms and you can run it from anywhere; even a USB drive. This means you are also able to use “live” versions of operating systems if you wish, eliminating the traces that may otherwise be left due to spyware and other malware located on your computer.

Download Tor Browser

Download Tor Browser

Step 2:
In the Tor browser go to one of the following Tor Hidden Service link lists to get started:

Tor Link List
Onion List

Bookmark TheHiddenWiki.org and the above sites so you can always have quick access to the Deep Web.

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2013
08.11

Hidden Wiki Video Toturials

How to enter the Hidden Wiki

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