FBI: Shutting Down Silk Road 2 Was Just The Start

FBI: Shutting Down Silk Road 2 Was Just The Start

Yesterday, we learned that The Silk Road 2.0 has a new, Fed-shaped landing page. But the FBI isn't just stopping at hitting one illegal online drug market: it looks like it's taking down everything it can get its hands on.

Other popular drug markets have also been targeted, with Cloud9, Hydra, and the Cannabis Road forum seized so far. That might not be the end of it, either: according to Wired, the FBI has seized "more than three" markets, and will be revealing its full collection of scalps on Friday morning.

It's unclear at this stage exactly how the FBI managed to seize so many marketplaces simultaneously: whilst Silk Road 2.0 seems to have been taken down by a combination of undercover agents and basic mistakes by the administrators, it's not clear yet how Cloud9 and Hydra (and any other markets that mysteriously vanish overnight) have been seized. Someone posting as Cloud9's admin on Reddit's Dark Net Markets subreddit says that just one Cloud9 server was seized (and, presumably, not them with it), so it doesn't seem that the feds have uncovered some underlying weakness in TOR or Bitcoin, which are the only technologies that link the various sites.

Either way, this coordinated takedown of several popular sites at once is fairly clear proof that the FBI (and its international partners) is slowly but surely winning the war against underground online drug markets. Silk Road and the like all rely (to an extent) on mutual trust and reputation, plus a perceived low level of risk. If the FBI is consistently taking sites offline before they have had a while to flourish, it will be much harder for buyers and sellers to trust each other — not to mention the obvious dangers of getting locked up. [Reddit, Wired, FBI]


Comments

    I disagree. I mean that's like saying piracy will stop because pirate bay gets shut down. Where there is a demand there will always be supply.

    Just as Napster got shut down and forced technology to evolve. Here we are 15 years later and piracy is stronger than ever. The deep web will probably evolve too.

    Has the war on drugs won? Life will ah ah ah find a way.

      I half agree, but Napster and Pirate Bay deal in a different type of merchandise. Would you use Kazaa or Bearshare or any of the number of dodgy Napster replacements to buy drugs for personal use? Especially when you can score the same drugs elsewhere. It takes time for a website like this to build up a reputation so by taking them down quickly I think they'll push a lot of users off of the internet based solution.
      It's not winning the war on drugs but I think if they stay ahead of it they can win the war on digital distribution of drugs and keep the fight in an arena they're better suited to.

        No, when the original Silkroad was busted SR2 popped up quite quickly and got more members than the first, the largest Dark Net Market is still up and hasn't been touched (probably because it's located in Russia) but anyway, you are wrong in saying that people will give up with the online drugs, far from it, they may migrate from tor to something even more secure but I doubt that, there are huge subreddits devoted to this stuff so people can find reputable sites easily and the majority of sites haven't been taken down.

        Last edited 08/11/14 2:29 pm

          I agree. There are quite a number of technologies that will completely replace TOR and Centralized marketplaces that are right now being developed or are in beta phase. A day is coming and that day is close, where privacy and freedom of purchase is restored (for the better or worse).

      Totally agree. I read an AMA of a Silk Road dealer, and he said he jumped between those black marketplaces and his customers followed him. He said sites shutting down held him back for the time it took to create a new shop somewhere else and for his customers to search for his username. He said there were plenty more like him and that the risks were incredibly low - in comparison to slinging baggies on street corners, anyway. He said online black markets are the "future".
      The FBI are like Ellie; elbow-deep in one big pile of shit.

    So they're taking down international sites too..? Maybe the few that are in countries that cooperate with the yanks... but there are a lot more countries that don't, too..!

    Last edited 08/11/14 9:51 am

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