Pretty big news in the computer world today as the FBI took down one of the most prolific dark web sites on the internet, the “Silk Road”
The Silk Road has been in about every major news story about the online drug trade for quite a while now. The site seemed to operate with impunity as it blatantly offered illegal drugs for sale online in the Hidden Web, or Dark Web, as it is called.
The Dark Web is not accessible via normal internet browsing, you need a program like Tor to access the hidden sites. The Dark Web is a haunt for illegal goods, and services and the Silk Road was one of the most popular sites.
The website not only offered to ship illegal drugs in an envelope to any location, they also offered illegal services like forged documents and access to hacked accounts. You could even pay for these services with the anonymous currency “Bitcoins”.
According to reports the website generated about $1.2 Billion in sales over 30 months of operation.
The alleged sole creator and operator of the site, 29 year old Ross Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts”, was arrested and appeared in Federal court today.
Apparently federal cyber crime experts compromised the Silk Road server on July 23, 2013 and were able to pull data from the system. A bit ironic as Ulbricht allegedly hired a hitman to take out a user who was threatening to release the identity of thousands of Silk Road users.
Cudos to the FBI Cyber Crime team, this is a huge move to combat online cyber crime!
An interesting FBI poster showing how cyber crime works from 2010:
The Hacktivist group Anonymous has released an intercepted FBI conference call between the FBI and numerous police agencies. Along with the audio clip, the group also released an internal FBI e-mail about the conference call on Pastebin.
The e-mail, titled “Anon-Lulz International Coordination Call”, appears to have been sent to numerous international police agencies. The Pastebin post sates the call would be held on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 and was to “discuss the on-going investigations related to Anonymous, Lulzsec, Antisec, and other associated splinter groups.”
According to the BBC, the FBI has confirmed the call was legitimate, and that they are hunting down those involved:
“The information was intended for law enforcement officers only and was illegally obtained. A criminal investigation is under way to identify and hold accountable those responsible.”
The BBC also mentions that the phone call was most likely not intercepted live, but was taken from an audio file:
“It was unclear how Anonymous had managed to obtain the recording but a lawyer for one of the suspects discussed told the BBC it appeared to have been taken as an audiofile from an intercepted email, rather than having been eavesdropped on.”
It is very concerning that Anonymous gained this e-mail and audio file. This does not mean though that Anonymous has gained access to internal FBI systems, they could have gained access to any of the international police organizations listed in the e-mail and pilfered the data from there.
Time will tell.