The dark web owes the FBI a thank-you. It turns out that during its recent mass seizure operation against a number of Tor sites (including Silk Road 2.0), a little more than half of the sites taken down were either clones or scams — and, in a number of cases, the real, functional websites are still active.
According to security researcher Nik Cubrilovic’s sweep of the dark side of the internet, the FBI’s recent seizure saw 276 websites taken down, of which 153 were either clones of illegal hidden sites, or complete scams. In a number of cases, like for a jihadi funding site or fake ID site, scam versions were taken down, while the real storefronts are still up and functioning.
More worryingly, Cubrilovic points out that in a number of cases, personal sites or forums were silently taken down, without any acknowledgement in a press release from the FBI or Europol. That sets a worrying precent for law enforcement being able to take down any Tor site that they feel like, without necessarily going through proper legal channels.
On the plus side, however, the FBI’s done a sterling job of cleansing the dark net of fake or scam sites, leaving only legitimate illegal operations running. [Nils Cubrilovic]