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[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 2/2)

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Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum? No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
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That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims? That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft? Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
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Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up. Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness? Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird? there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More? It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends? Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms  The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
2.Hitman sites
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals  People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn  Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think? Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines? There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods. If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web? I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web? A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web? It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
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How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs? I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
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Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks! I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them.... I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
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Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in? Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat? OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
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I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤ he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web? There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web? Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive? I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
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1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety? I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret? We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work. Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help? Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
[deleted] It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help? I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
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Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome. I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
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Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line. Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash? I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all. Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare? No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies? I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it. Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
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So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account. No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon? Wackjob conspiracy
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Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia? The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
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Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon? Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk) No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR? I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
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Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply! Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
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I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke? I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped? The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts! Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business? Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is? Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
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Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible? It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
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Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it?? Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way? I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code. It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
e.g. http://thehub5himseelprs44xzgfrb4obgujkqwy5tzbsh5yttebqhaau23yd.onion/index.php is the URL of a dark web forum. If you plug it into your normal browser you will get an error. If you plug it into the Tor browser you will get the registration page for The Hub
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity? I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature? Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
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[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 1/2)

Source | Guestbook
Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Questions Answers
Have you ever gotten into legal trouble by exploring the dark places of the internet? Like, "sorry, officer, I was only surfing drug markets and child molester forums for my next journalism piece..." Do you worry about that? Do you have to take extra steps to protect yourself? I'm very careful not to go anywhere that it is illegal to visit. You will hear loads of stories about how easy it is to "stumble upon" child porn, but the fact is that those sites usually have names like "Preteen cuties" so you know exactly what they are, and in order to access them you have to register. So you have to make a very deliberate choice to log into them. I have no interest whatsoever in viewing any child abuse material, so I don't go into those places. When I was researching The Darkest Web, I went to the discussion forums that didn't allow any images (though they did link to sites that did), and even there I turned off images.
As for the drugs, weapons etc, there is nothing illegal about surfing them and looking around.
I do get a bit nervous every time I visit the US, especially when I was invited to a "friendly" lunch with Homeland Security once (it was reasonably friendly as it turns out, it was also terrifying)
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Why did homeland security want to talk to you? They said it was about the murder-for-hire stuff, but some of the questions leaned toward something else
Is there anything that really concerns you about the dark web? Some of the things already discussed are beyond barbaric and that is only the stuff that has been found out about and been picked up by the media and your fantastic work. Do you think the public should expect worse and more horrific revelations from the dark web or is it just "more of the same" for lack of a better term and do you think the authorities are getting better in shutting this inhumanity down and catching the people responsible? I am definitely not against people taking back their online privacy and I actually think that buying drugs from the darknet markets is a safer and more sensible option than buying them from the dodgy dealer down the road. However the one thing that is really disturbing is that the dark web has provided a place for child predators to find each other and form communities where they support and egg each other on. Imagine a few years ago, someone who was into hurtcore could never tell anyone else and would be unlikely to ever come across another person with the same perversions. Now it is as simple as finding the relevant site on the dark web. When there are suddenly hundreds of people who all think and act in the same way, it normlalizes what they are doing.
One of the guys who got caught, Matthew Falder, was a sadist who used to crowdsource "ideas" for torturing the children and teens he was blackmailing into doing heinous things for him online. But apparently he was a "normal" intelligent popular guy
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But how does everyone participate in those illegal sites without getting caught? You said in other comments that you tried to stay away from underaged sites because they were illegal. Can't they be tracked down, even with tor and a vpn? The thing that I don't understand is that even on the dark web people say you should stay away from illegal sites, but how are pedos not getting caught? they are getting caught, but the way they are getting caught is through painstaking detective work, looking for clues in photos, befriending them online and getting them to reveal things about themselves (what is known as social engineering). It takes a long time and many resources.
I say don't go there because (a) it is illegal and (b) you really shouldn't want to go there
Iirc you attended the trial of the person behind the horrific hurt core website that was exposed a few years back. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that happened during the trial that particularly shocked or horrified you that isn't really public knowledge or talked about? Reactions from the judge or perpetrator during the trial etc. As I remember it the guy was a fairly young loner who lived with his parents but would probably never have been expected to be behind the horrific vile things which he was found to be. Also, how did you get into investigative journalism/writing? I wrote in one of the other replies above about the little mute girl that has stayed with me. Also, at the insistence of the prosecution, the judge had to watch "Daisy's Destruction" which was a video of torture of a toddler. He put it off for two days and when he came back he was white. He didn't have the sound on, which is considered the worst part, but he still looked shell-shocked. I don't envy him.
I'll cut'n'paste re your last question: I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
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Thanks for the reply.. that really must've been horrific for all involved from investigation to trial and for all of the victims (apart from the scum responsible of course). I guess it would be naive to assume that the end of this site did anything other than drive this depraved community even further underground. That is the part which is really scary to me but I suppose all we can do is have faith that the authorities are always close on the tail. Thank you for your work on reporting on this and raising this stuff more into the public consciousness and making people more aware of what kind of evil still lurks. It was the most disturbing two days of my life, made all the worse because they read out hours of interactions from the site where the children still had not been identified or the predators caught.
Hurt2theCore was not the last site of its kind and there are still hurtcore sites to this day on the dark web. The one hopeful thing is that there are international task forces that seem to work together really well (unlike when it comes to drugs and every law enforcement agency wants to take the lead and they all withhold info from each other). There are a lot of resources allocated to identifying predators and their victims. Sometimes this has involved some very controversial tactics, such as taking over the sites and letting them run, so that they can use social engineering techniques to identify those who are using the sites and who are actually abusing children
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So daisy's destruction is real? Was it referred to by that name court? I always thought it was a myth Yes, Daisy's Destruction is real, it was referred to by name in court and the judge had to watch the 12 minutes of it that were hosted on Hurt2theCore.
The "myth" part is that it shows a murder. The toddler, Daisy, lived, though she suffered such horrific injuries she will never be able to bear children. Hopefully she was young enough that she will grow up without the memory.
However, Scully did murder at least one child, whose body was found under the floorboards of his house. it is not known whether he filmed her murder as no video evidence of it has come to light.
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Thanks for answering. I actually watched a really good video on Hurt2theCore on youtube once, I think it was by a guy called Nexpo. It was really detailed and informative about the whole case - I forgot those details. Thanks again for replying, this AMA is really informative! I think I recall that one, it was from a few years ago.
An excellent podcast that came out recently is "Hunting Warhead", highly recommend a listen. It is a tough listen, but exceptionally well-told and respectfully handled
How do you detach yourself from your work? I'm an investigator for a law firm and I've had a lot of difficult working on wrongful death cases recently. Also, how did you first end up getting published? Any tips for people interested in that field? Thanks! I don't detach. When I was researching hurtcore, it was harrowing and affected me deeply. Writing that part of the book was a very slow process because I just couldn't be in that headspace for very long at a time. Once the book was written I didn't go back there.
I already had a reputation as a blogger and a freelance journalist when i pitched my book on Silk Road. I got an agent and it was auctioned off, with Pan MacMillan getting the rights. At the time, Silk Road was still going strong, and the book I wrote was about this new frontier of drug dealing that was changing the world. I was writing it "from the inside" as I had been an active part of the community for two years. However, right as I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher, Silk Road was busted and Ross Ulbricht arrested, so i had to quickly change the narrative to a "Rise and Fall" thing!
How many times have you approached law enforcement with information and how many times has the approach resulted in action? and... are there times where you know something nefarious is happening but history and the evidence at hand tells you it's not worth the effort? There is no point in approaching law enforcement to say "I have come across this site". If I've found it, you can guarantee law enforcement has found it as well.
The only time I've approached law enforcement was when I had information that they did not, which was when a friendly hacker provided me with a back door into the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire site. I got to see all the messages and orders etc. Of course LE knew about the site, but they did not have the details of the people who had hits taken out on them. We tried desperately to tell police in several countries that real people had paid real money to have other real people killed, but they just weren't interested. We sounded like crazy people talking about dark web hitmen, who were scams anyway and nobody was dead, so why should they be interested? They became much more engaged when one of the people WE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD THEM ABOUT later turned up dead
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By law enforcement, do you mean only local or else the big agencies? I feel like I wouldn't tell my local police department because they wouldn't really know what to do. It would have to the the bigger agencies. FBI in US. NCA in UK. AFP in Australia. Nobody was very interested, although the FBI did visit at least one of the targets to let her know she was a target. She still wound up dead
What are some of the most prevalent uses of the dark web that AREN'T all shady and nefarious? We might be getting into semantics here, but people use Tor, which is the most possible darknet that is used to access the dark web, just for private browsing and ensuring that commercial interests aren't following them everywhere to bombard them with ads for some thing they looked up.
Some of the news organizations have a dark web presence so that whistleblowers can upload information safely. Even the CIA has a site on the dark web so that people can anonymously tip off matters of national security.
Other than that, there are just forums, where you don't have to worry that every single stupid thing you post will be saved in posterity forever, to be trotted out years later when you run for congress or something
After everything you've seen, does anything surprise you anymore or are you just numb to it at this point? Do you think there should be more education/exposure about the dark web than there is now or would that just be counter-productive as people would just find another place to hide? I'm curious to hear any favourite stories about the Psychonauts. I am not numb and I hope I never become numb. I really don't visit the horrible dark places very often, unless I'm researching something specific, and even then I don't look at pictures or videos. Most of the crime is pretty benign - I'm not fazed by people wanting a safer way to buy drugs.
I think there needs to be ongoing discussions about online activity and its misuse in general, but most crime still happens on the clearnet. The dark web is not nearly as large or prevalent as people fear.
For a long time, a dealer provided free LSD to anyone who wanted it for personal use (ie not sale) and to any organizations who were doing psychedelic therapy.
One psychonaut got busted and spent time in prison... only he still had bitcoin in a wallet and by the time he was released he was a millionaire. He would have just spent it on drugs otherwise :)
I know law enforcement has to delve into the predator side of the dark web. With what you've seen do you think it should be mandatory or an industry standard that law enforcement officials seek professional help? I couldn't imagine investigating that daily and not thinking less of humanity at some point. I'm pretty sure they do. I worked for Legal Aid for a while, and i know there were pretty strict rules in place for the lawyers who had to defend child abusers.
When I was at the trial for Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, I met a cop whose job it was to watch all the videos and befriend the predators in an attempt to get them to slip up and reveal something of themselves. She said she had a little filing cabinet in her brain where she put all that stuff, and that making an arrest made it all worthwhile. She had made several arrests personally. She was a sex offender's worst nightmare :)
What’s one of your personal favorite investigations and what made it unique for you? By far the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire case. What made it unique was that, first, I was provided a back door into the Besa Mafia site by a friendly hacker, so i had information that nobody else had. But then I became "friends" for want of a better word with the owner of the site, Yura. Besa Mafia, of course, was not killing anyone, but Yura made a LOT of money scamming would-be murderers out of their money. We entered into a weird relationship over the years where i would report on his activities and he would try every trick under the sun to stop me from doing so, so that he could keep scamming people. He even offered me a job, helping him, because he had become so busy. He also provided me with names and details of people who had hits taken out on them so I could pass them on to law enforcement.
It all became horribly real when one of the people who had a hit put out of them wound up dead. It wasn't Yura of course, but the guy had paid him $13K before giving up on the site and doing it himself. The thing was WE HAD TOLD THE FBI about the hit and the $13K and they visited the victim, but then put it into the too-hard basket when she couldn't think who might have paid that much to kill her.
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Wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Reminds me of an old saying. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” It's a seriously bizarre relationship. When I was hired as a consultant by CBS for a 48 Hours expose on dark web hitmen, he actually agreed to meet me in London. But he thought that CBS was going to advertise his site as the real deal and he got excited and sent them details of two people who had hits put out on them. CBS sent them straight to the police and very shortly after two arrests were made and it was all over the news, where they called his site a scam. Yura got so pissed about it, he never turned up to our meeting. They had even hired an Academy Award-nominated master of disguise makeup artist to disguise him!
are "red rooms" actually a prevalent thing, or just a widespread misconception or rumor? I ask in part because it's very easy to see, for instance, Mexican cartels dismembering people alive, etc, just on the clearnet. Hell, a couple days ago I saw a video posted of a cartel member cutting out a dude's heart while the guy was alive, and he ATE it. He fucking ATE it. So it seems plausible... The most popular myth of all is Red Rooms, where people – usually women – are tortured to death live on camera while those who have paid to watch type in torture commands in a chat box. Think the movie Hostel, with webcams. In this sense these have never been proven to exist. I get where you are coming from with the cartels, and the recent news item where they found those shipping containers set up with torture rooms freaked me out and made me wonder!
There is some truth to this rumour, but the execution is not like you see in the movies. Most notably, because it involves children, not adults abused on demand for paying pedophiles, but not to the point of death
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The news about those shipping containers really made me speculate, since for every one person who gets caught doing something evil, there must be at least several more people who are very honed in their 'profession' doing the same evil deeds and worse, yet who evade being captured for decades. Anyway, based on morbid things I've seen, karma comes around eventually... I know, right? It really freaked me out, and then when I read that they already had intended victims for them but the police got to them first and put them in protected custody.. IMAGINE SEEING THOSE PICTURES AND KNOWING YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THEM!! I would retire to a deserted island somewhere
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Your line of work could easily result in something like C-PTSD down the road a little ways. I have a morbid curiosity, and have seen worse than those shipping containers had to offer. I'm sure you have as well. So one more question from you, if you don't mind: what are some proactive approaches to mental health you take to safeguard your sanity? A lot of wine. Cuddle my dog
Hi, there! This has been fascinating to read; thank you so much for sharing! I'm curious: why do you think so many people who don't want to engage with disgusting and illegal content like hurtcore find it so interesting to read about? Do you have any insight into your readership and the ethics associated with reading about these kind of topics? I think morbid fascination with the dark is exceedingly common - just look at how many people can't get enough about serial killers! In some ways it is probably a self-defense mechanism - the vast majority of true-crime readers are women. People like to be armed with knowledge. We also like to be spooked and scared.
As for my books, I don't really go into much gory detail, but the horror still shines through
Out of all 9-5 jobs out there, why this? What’s your motive? I got disenchanted by being a lawyer and I had wanted to be an author since childhood. The lawyering put me in a strong enough financial position that I could quit to do a uni course for a couple of years. My plan was to become a best-selling novelist, but my first chick-lit novel was nothing special. However, during the course, I found I did really well at journalism and was soon making a living as a freelance journo before I finished the course. My first major feature was on the Silk Road drugs market, which I had discovered thanks to a friend who was using it. Once I got in there I became fascinated by everything about it and started contacting the owner, users, vendors etc asking for stories (I was upfront about who I was). I began the first serious dark web blog - - and also became the go-to freelancer for Australian dark web stories. Then I pitched my first book and got a healthy advance for it.
I like working for myself, working from home and delving into things. Right now I have my dream job (though it wouldn't hurt to pay a bit more. I'm certainly not making anywhere near what I used to make lawyering, but I make enough to get by and I live pretty simply)
Did you ever do any writing on Brian Farrell and his role in Silk Road 2.0? I was Brian's cellmate for all of 2017 at Sheridan Federal Prison and heard all of his crazy stories. Was just curious as to the validity of them all. DoctorClu! I did write briefly about him in Silk Road, but it wasn't all positive. I remember being frustrated by the shitshow that was Silk Road 2.0 in the beginning, right after SR1 shut and when DPR2 took off and Defcon got all dramatic. It settled down after a bit and lasted a year, when it was revealed THEY HAD A FUCKING UNDERCOVER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER ON STAFF THE WHOLE TIME. But yeah, anyhow, they are probably true. I'd love to hear them :)
Was there ever something on the dark web that made you surprised ( in a good way) and smile ? So many things. Back in the day of the original Silk Road, I became obsessed with the forums, the people behind it, the intelligent discourse about the War on Drugs and philosophy. I found it amusing that drug dealers ran sales and giveaways. There were book clubs and movie clubs.
One of the most important people from that era was Dr Fernando Cauevilla, who became a member of Silk Road as "DoctorX". He was a real doctor who provided genuine, free, non-judgmental advice about drug use to the members of the site. It was quite an amazing time.
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Did Ulbricht get taken down the way we were told in the news? What happened to all the Bitcoins? His arrest went down the way we were told in the news. How they located the server has never been disclosed (other than a fanciful explanation that NOBODY could believe). This explanation may be tested if Variety Jones runs a Fourth Amendment argument at his trial
The bitcoin in the wallet on Ross' computer was auctioned off by the Feds. He may have other bitcoin wallets stashed somewhere but nobody knows
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Book/movie clubs on the silk road? Yeah, they would set reading and then everyone would come back and discuss the book, or they would have a time when everyone watched the same movie at the same time and chatted about it in real time
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Haha that's amazing! I don't suppose you remember any of the books in question? They used to be a lot of philosophy books, especially on agorism. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men was one of the books. I remember V for Vendetta on a movie night
You don't seem to be pushing your most recent project and you're actually answering all the questions people ask, so I've got ask...are you some sort of government plant meant to destabilize reddit? This isn't how AMAs are supposed to work. You come in, you half ass a few questions, hawk whatever you're here to hawk, and then leave after 20 minutes. That's how it's done. lol I'm a genuine redditor from way back, and I love talking about the stuff I do. I did find that after I answered a question in an AskReddit thread a while back that blew up, the sales followed. But that was organic and I don't think you can force it to happen - Reddit can spot that a mile awy
What are some of the best things about the dark web? And can anyone get on it? Things you can buy that you can’t buy normally online? I really enjoy some of the forums, especially the psychonaut forums where people who like to trip on psychedelics get together and talk drugs and philosophy. There's a real "be kind to one another" vibe.
Getting on the dark web is easy, but not getting scammed when buying things takes a lot of homework. Yes, you can buy most things, but the most popular things are drugs and digital goods, i.e. things that depend on repeat custom and are easily transferable from seller to buyer
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[deleted] You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe? It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru! re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you. I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back? i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios? Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits? Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt. Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there? It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you." No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"? It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite? After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him. Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author? I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it? By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web? There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76 1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
the below is a reply to the above
Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop. Yes, I wrote about them in The Darkest Web
I was in touch with PoM/Mongoose when he went on a posting rampage on MyPlanetGanja, then visited him in Bangkok prison several times. Wrote all about it :)
This may have been answered by a previous post pertaining to native language barriers to specific sites on the dark web, but in your investigations, did you come across content/pages/forums from warzones? Middle East, Burma, Afghanistan, etc? If yes, what was the most memorable bit? There are loads of sites in foreign languages, but it is too difficult for me (a one-language numpty) to attempt to translate through AI, and it is not worth hiring a translator when they could just turn out to be Cat Facts
submitted by 500scnds to tabled [link] [comments]

NOOBS GUIDE - How not to get your bitcoin stolen on Empire Market and verify any empire site

Hi guys and gals,
I have made this guide because as some of you have probably experienced before there are tons of phishing sites that are mimicking empire market. Lots of them are very credible but steal your bitcoins. The most convincing phishing sites use a 'man in the middle' attack where it directs traffic to the original empire market site, but changes the bitcoin deposit address. People fall for this because the nature of the attack means that the users individual personal phrase is displayed correctly and everything seems to be normal but when you deposit, the coins disappear. This has led many users to falsely blame empire market and assume they are conducting an exit scam which is not true.

Firstly I would like to say to avoid this you must have a critical mindset of every empire market onion url you visit. Even if it has worked several times before. I will detail in this guide how to stop getting your money stolen and this is for educational purposes only. I do not take responsibility for anything you buy on the site. Please let me know if there is anything you would like added to the guide and I will aim to do so. I would also appreciate if everyone could upvote this and if the mods could sticky this so we can get maximum views to stop people getting scammed.

With that out of the way, I am assuming you know how to use PGP. if you don't please research how to do this before you continue, the following links may help you (if there is enough demand I will eventually make a separate tutorial on this):

The critical requirements you must have before continuing:

The reason why most people get scammed is because they don't verify their links, and when they have, they use the wrong empire market public PGP key located on the phishing sites. The attackers have set this up to work with their own phishing empire market site. The real empire market PGP key has always been located on dreadditevelidot.onion:

  1. Copy dreadditevelidot.onion into Tor
  2. on the right hand side of the page you will see a link saying '/d/EmpireMarket' click on it
  3. towards the top of the page underneath where it says 'Dread' you should see a button called 'PGP' click on it.
  4. Copy the PGP public key into notepad and save it as a .txt or .asc file and import it into your chosen PGP program (i tend to use GPA as part of the GPG4WIN toolkit but others prefer to use kleopatra, each to their own it does the same job)

Once you have this key imported name it something like empire market or whatever you wish, this will be the real key that will tell you if any site you are on is genuine or not. It is published only by the creator of empire market. NEVER and I repeat NEVER use the empire market PGP public key located on any empire market url as this can be faked. Only use the one on dreadditevelidot.onion, I hope that is crystal clear.

Now in general, what you want to do next is:

  1. take a link from e.g. dkndfkn9gfnf.onion(not real) and add '/safe' to the end of it, or alternatively click on 'verify mirror' once you land on the site.
  2. follow the prompts until you see a PGP message displayed for you, copy this into GPA or other program and click 'verify', if all is good you should see a popup saying 'valid signature' and maybe some text highlighted in green. It looks like this:
  1. If you see anything saying 'bad signature' then under no circumstances login or use the site as it is a phishing site.
  1. if the signature is good proceed to login

Now, once you are certain the site is real, you still don't want to trust it 100%. What you want to do is go to the bitcoin deposit page and click 'generate a bitcoin deposit address'. Once that is done, underneath you will see a link saying 'Get PGP signed proof of ownership', click that and go through the prompts (as similar to before on /safe) you will see a PGP and you want to verify that also to make sure the signature is valid.

Once you have successful signatures for the previous steps you pretty much have the green light to deposit your bitcoin to that address. However if you are planning on depositing an amount you can't afford to lose, what I would suggest is depositing a small amount first. And if it is successful then you can deposit again later as the site will be confirmed to be genuine. This is an almost fool proof way of ensuring you don't lose your bitcoin if you follow the steps I have mentioned. HOWEVER IT MUST BE STATED THAT EVERY TIME YOU DEPOSIT TO A BITCOIN ADDRESS, YOU HAVE TO GENERATE A NEW BITCOIN ADDRESS AS ANY NEW COINS YOU SEND TO A PREVIOUS ADDRESS WILL BE LOST.

To prevent any further losses to your account you can go into your profile and enable 2FA authentication. This essentially ensures that no one can access your account unless they have your private PGP key and also if the .onion you see in the decrypted message doesn't match the url one you are on, it is a phishing site. If you would like a tutorial on how to do this please request it enough times and I will try to find time to write a tutorial up.

I am writing this from a position of frustration after losing a large amount of money to scammers and hope that my information can help you. Please take the time to follow all the steps meticulously and feel free to comment if you are having trouble. I work full time so I will try to get back to people when I am free. Please excuse any grammar errors as I wrote this in a rush and plan on editing it based on feedback. Happy Shopping

Mods please sticky this, spread the word and lets eliminate the scammers.

EDIT: I have had alot of requests from people who still can't successfully verify the mirror. Please make sure when you solve the captcha on the 'verify mirror' link that you copy the whole txt including the signature and the pgp code before you verify. If you are using and it still isn't working then retry the captcha a few times becuase there may be a sync issue on the empire market server. For all the other users who still can't get it to work, for these people I think only a video tutorial would help. Also probably better not to login to any site until you have a firm grip of PGP, how it works and how to use it. As you can understand this would take time and i plan on releasing one on the weekend so please stay patient until i have edited and uploaded one on youtube. To make life easier for people I also plan on uploading empire markets PGP key to a download website, but I am hesitant to do this because I don't want anyone to half follow the instructions and then blame me if they lose their bitcoin.

EDIT [8 JULY 2019]: i apologise again for my delays, i live a very busy life. However please read the following information for those of you who are still having trouble verifying your links. I have ascertained the reason why some people are still get invalid signatures (note this is different to a 'bad signature'). The reason why is because kleopatra doesnt recognise where this key is coming from as its not part of the pgp network (not 100% accurate explanation but as noob friendly of an explanation i can give). To fix this what you need to do is certify the key in kleopatra:
  1. Open kleopatra, you should see a collection of public and private pgp keys including your own.
  2. Look for the empire market key and right click on it, then click certify
  3. Follow the prompts and certify it against your own pgp key. (You may need to enter your password)
  4. Once its all done you should see somewhere on the final dialog box where it says certification successful. (If not try it again)
  5. Click finish
  6. Now when you go through this tutorial again if the key is valid you should definitely see 'good signature' displayed in GPA.
  7. Smile and enjoy your hard work and patience of going through the tutorial.
Guys here is the empire market key that I have on my own computer (use at your own risk, it works for me and other people):
submitted by ufcfanatic123 to darknet [link] [comments]

I bought an old laptop that had a USB drive on it. It has a text file and 7z file on it. Not sure what to do with it. Showed it to a security guy and he offered me 100 bucks for it all so now I think it's worth something so I said no thanks.

OK I'm convinced that there is a Bitcoin wallet in this 7z file. From careful examination it looks like this person was using 10s of bitcoin back in 2013 and 2014 to use on the old Silk road onion site, I see corrupted text in the undeleted notes text file but I clearly see some onion URLs from past markets. It seems like once the market was closed down his interest in Bitcoin faded.
If anybody would like to seriously help me get this file open I'll share 20% of the balance
Here's the text file contents (I added notes)
elwfrlq 2ls sdvvzrug:
udfkho xvhv Vkls Vwdwlrq (THIS HERE IS THE PASSWORD)
Jlyh wr Dqguhz, 7.4 elwfrlqv. (So far we THINK this says 7.4 bitcoin, however other numbers in the cyphered text show problems leading me to think that it might be another number, but more then 0, I'm certain 7 is not 0 here)
Hudvh dqg ghvwur1 wklv gulyh diwhu
I gave nobody a copy of the file, only this text.
There is a text file I recovered that looks like this person has dealt with hundreds of bitcoins before 2014, it seems as if this is the last time anything was updated before deleted.
submitted by PM_ME_UR_HOT_SELF to RBI [link] [comments]

How It Happened (xpost from /r/SilkRoad)

I'm currently reading through the criminal complaint, which covers a lot of things worth noting with regard to how and why DPR got caught.

Now, onto how he got caught...

Second murder conspiracy allegation

Miscellaneous notes

submitted by sr_downfall to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

My visits to the darkest sites on the deep web.

Most of my research will now be posted on /rStranded
*****PART 2 IS OUT *****
This is originally a post I made on /nosleep. Due to demand and the fact it got removed for not being for the type of subreddit /nosleep is, I will be posting it here.
I've always had a really sparked interest in what is commonly known as the Deep Web. For an explanation on the Deep Web that I have found to be helpful, feel free to go here. The point of this post is not, though, to act as a guide to the deep web, or to provide an explanation of what it is. NoSleep is not /deepweb or /advice, but a place to share horror stories. And though the deep web has some good uses, it also has an incredibly dark side too it. The dark web is a small corner of the deep web, containing the stereotypical content (bulk drugs, CP, etc.) that the deep web is notorious for. I took my first steps into this little excavation of mine into the darkest parts of anonymous sites under the surface of web browsing in an attempt to undermine the stereotype that the deep web is more a home to dark, illegal websites then anything good. Well, I came out of this with more then I could have ever expected, and now my view on humanity in general has forever been changed. The start of the... "trip"? It took me quite a while (3-4 weeks) to get enough information to start really delving deep into what I will now refer to as the dark web, the small corner of the deep web that is basically the 'house of horrors'. Lots of talking around, honing information from chatrooms, and taking lots of notes. Even had to make a couple of phone calls to some more then shady individuals, not a comfortable experience. By the end of my trek of gathering as much information possible at the time and getting a good contact list, I took my first steps into the, 'outer layer' of the dark web, so to speak. The hard part is that once you get deeper, a lot of sites have ever changed URL's, extensive invitation queue's, and at times, pricey entrance costs that may or may not end up as cash spent on a phony operation. A lot of it is luck, meeting people at the right time and place, and taking good notes. I had a good streak of luck and took good notes, enough to get me to the places I entered. But what I did notice is that once I got into the first site that I will next talk about, it became much easier to get into other sites, as it was much more freely talked about and information was passed around much more. Chatrooms in the dark web = information honey hole. 1st Site: centrix{} I knew I had broken the barrier when I got into centrix{}. I'm just going to call it centrix and leave out those annoying little brackets that are annoying to type. Back on track, centrix was one of the more well-known, 'general markets', so to speak. A good example to compare it too would be Agoratha or Silk Road. Now, centrix, from what I hoarded via lots of questions on the chat room over the course of a couple days, has been around for about 11 months and has been untouched by any means of being shut down. Which surprises me, because it has everything from Agoratha or Silk Road, but to a much greater extent and a lot more variety. What some sites dedicate their whole selling product to be, centrix had sub-categories for. Just a brief few examples: -Snuff films -Bulk drugs, all varieties -Fake everything, ID's/licenses/you name it -A very censored section of CP -Various illegally obtained memberships (Netflix, porn, etc.) The list goes on. Another thing that is a bit chilling is the fact that they took a great effort to crack down on scams. The big deal on sites like Agoratha or Silk Road, they have a lot of scam vendors. This site didn't, and they had a lot of proof to back it up that I will not go into detail on. (samples, intros, etc.) I also met a guy in a chatroom that was nice, as far as that goes for an active dark web user like himself, who verified/hashed some of the links I had collected and vaguely sent me in the direction of other sites for my personal use. This was a great help, and led me to my next site, which from the illegality and general morale of the site, is what I consider the next layer or gate into the dark web. 2nd Site: BrinkWarehouse.otc Yay, a site with a normal-ish name. BrinkWarehouse was actually quite fascinating, not horrific to an extent, but had a different kind of dark backlash. BrinkWarehouse, a virtual warehouse of textual guides, notes, leaked documents, torrented books (one that was released online a day after it was published, quite a popular author). Now, at a summary this might seem alright, but take into account that the guides included things like "How to make a drone-based homemade explosive" and "How to kidnap adolescence in their sleep". Illegal leaked documents galore, anywhere from U.S. classified cases to foreign affairs. Also included guides on illegally modifying weapons, joining terrorist groups, guides to scripting and nulling bank accounts, so on and so forth. Not a fun site. The next site I headed to is where it starts to get formally creepy, and where I found it necessary to post this on NoSleep. The Site with No Name I got access to this site, which I consider to be the start of the darkest of the dark web of the deep web (phew, that is a mouth full), from francestern344, who was in a chatroom on, a very common deep web chatroom site that most of you have probably already stopped in. Well, talk comes to talk, and we end of up the topic of snuff films. How common they are, where they are usually filmed and why, etc. I get his trust, we resume this chat in a private room that he had (0.10 BTC for a private chatroom), and keep in mind that only getting information was my main reason for chatting, I am not 'into' snuff films, though they do fascinate me. We talked for a good 20 minutes before, without me having to even ask, hooked me up with a site. We are just going to use a tidbit of the sites all-# URL to name it, so 5611 it is. Now, this site, 5611, required an invite, extensive registration, questioning, and a 1-on-1 meeting with what I assumed was a site directoadmin. He/she was one harsh motherfucker, and the stern punishments for breaking the sites rules was laid out. The guy who invited me, francestern344, I guess was a long-timer on 5611, who had permission to let me take a tour of the site. Now, I did ask for a formal site name for future reference (aka so I didn't have to name it 5611), and he said that the site had no name, and that it was purely based to display it's content and moderate membership. The title, he said, would only make it easier to identity, which they did not want to happen. 5611 had a small membership that, he said, the runners of the site tried to cater too very fondly, as membership is 1.588 BTC monthly, approx. $355 USD. Upon entering the site, I had to check the "Are you older then 18" box for the 5th time since I started getting signed up. Finally, I was in. The sites design was bland and blocky, with a pure white background and very blocky, close together writing. In the top right corner, there where the options to log out, add funds to my balance, and then a small wallet emoticon that displayed an empty BTC client-side balance. But that was barely on my mind, my mind was on the center of the screen. In a single row down the center of the screen, single frames with captions and a description took up most of the screen. The top one had a still of a table with various blades and blunt weapons laid out, the title "24 yr F, sleeping, sugg. death" with a 2.25 BTC price tag along the side. A timer in green text was counting down. "11:51" "11:50" "11:49". Under the timer, in the same green font, was "78/100". A couple seconds later, the 78 turned into a 79. Realization hit me in the face like a bat. This was a paid snuff site. With a shaky hand, I scrolled down through the seemingly endless snapshots and captions. One caught my eye: "QUICK WATCH. HOMELESS. 0.22 BITCOIN. LARGE VIEW. LOW Q" It was like an attention whoring YouTube title, but it seemed to be working. In the eerie green font, 783/1000 was displayed, a jaw-dropping number in my eyes. I decided this needed to be documented, so I did a quick transaction, put .30 BTC in my site wallet, and clicked on the arrow to enter. It took a minute or two to complete the transaction, and after about a 5 minute buffer, I was in the 'showing'. There was no chatbox, only a slightly lighter border of grey and static. The same green timer was now in the bottom right of the screen. "3" "2" "1". The squared blurred revealing a city street. What seemed to be Arabic writing was on various shop signs and advertisements. Light from a streetpost gave a fuzzy glow to the scene. The cameraman, from the position of the camera, seemed to be leaning against a wall, the shot focused on a dinky red junker on the streets curb. From the side of the cameras view, a gloved finger points towards the entrance of a dark alley, where a man lays on his side, like a breathing pile of rags, obviously homeless and alone. The finger makes a motion towards the car, and three men quietly exit the car and walk along the storefronts towards the sleeping homeless figure. The quality is totally shit, but the scene can still be made out and is enhancing by my horrid imagination about what is to come. About 5 meters from the homeless victim, the lanky group of thugs pull out plain white theatre masks from their jackets, take out various small weapons, and pounce around the corner on to the innocent, unsuspecting victim. The camera picks up the quick shuffling of feet as the camera man runs towards the scene, catching the thugs thrashing and stomping the man from his slumber. "Cut him up." The camera mans thickly accented voice commands the thugs, who begin to slash the victim at a wild speed, like hyenas tearing into caught prey. Blood sprays onto the wall and onto the thugs white masks. It is horrible, my stomach barely holds on. I can't take it. Logging off Tor, I take a few more security measures and shut off my computer, taking some deep breathes and sipping from a Coors light. My last visit on the dark web: CandyPalace I logged on about a week later, and never thought to go back on 5611. I never contacted anyone from my past sites, and I knew in my heart that this would be my last visit to any site on the deep web. I was thoroughly encouraged to not go on, because with 5611, that had really been in my mind that last straw. I had proven to myself that the dark web, even though it has some good parts, is really just a beacon of humanities horrific actions. I had proven to myself that sites like 5611 and the other sites exist. But I just felt the need to cover the last huge part of the dark web that is in my mind the worst of it all. Child pornography. CandyPalace is a huge site, do some digging and get some sources, you will find it. From the videos, I have come to the conclusion that it is all hosted in one location in a foreign country. I always wondered that if there are all these snuff films and child sex slave dungeons that are often spoken about, that there would have to be a suitable amount of missing children cases and unsolved murder cases to go along with them. Some research and asking around concluded that many of the filmed murders and child porn director rings are in fact in foreign countries, where getting away with these kinds of actions is a 'piece of cake' in the words of an aspiring director in a CandyPalace chat room. I will not go into specific detail about any one video on CandyPalace, only will lay out some basic stats and descriptions and let you find the rest if you so please: -The main chatroom had several hundred chatters in total between the various sub-chats. -They actually had a very detailed profile of each child, an example was Tatasa, 9 years old, black hair, and then included a list of, if I remember correctly, 83 videos she starred in and counting. -The children where usually smothered in make-up and, besides for what seemed like a designated 2-3 'stars', not extremely physically hurt via evident beating. -Double penetration, binding, gay, forced 1-1, knife, roleplay, chamber, and dungeon where the top video tags. Each video has 1-2+ tags. If I remember correctly, there where a total of 17 'stars'. Nobody ever brought up anything about if they are kidnapped/imported/imprisoned. All anybody cared about was watching, so getting information on that topic was hard. Most of the scenes are filmed in various sets, such as era-styled dungeons, surgery rooms, etc. No grimy bedrooms or warehouses or basements. Nothing that fits the common stereotype. It was basically PornHub with a pink-white-black color scheme and 6-12 year olds. It is a nightmare. Conclusion I never look at people the same. Throughout taking this research-oriented trip through the dark web, my view on humanity has been changed. Every video I watched in the name of research chinked away at my emotions, often left me crying. Curiosity broke me, and it has been nearly a year since I have full recovered. This is my, I guess case file for my research on this subject. Now before you launch Tor and find these sites, please know. There is nothing enjoyable, entertaining, or at all suitable content on this network. You will be left in tears, you will be scarred, and worst of all... you will never view others again. Please refrain from PM'ing me about this subject unless you have certain details or past experiences you would like to privately share. EDIT Wow, woke up to 34 comments in my inbox! :D Thank you guys for all the feedback, good to know that at least I went through this for something. EDIT This worked out much better than I anticipated. If this is not allowed, let me know, but I have created a strawpoll here, so if you guys really want more stories of different sites on the dark web that I looked through, please let me know. I also have done studying into the dark side of craigslist, etc. EDIT So, you guys voted that you want to see more insights on other dark web sites. I was not intending for this to be a series, but I guess it is turning into one in some sense. I will hopefully compose a second post that mainly consists of sights and their descriptions. Here is a link to, if you want, vote on the types of sites you want me to talk about. I have a set few I will already include, but this is more informative then for my own personal writing experience, so I want you guys to select what you want to know about.
submitted by rStranded to deepweb [link] [comments]

How It Happened

I'm currently reading through the criminal complaint, which covers a lot of things worth noting with regard to how and why DPR got caught.

Now, onto how he got caught...

Miscellaneous notes

submitted by sr_downfall to SilkRoad [link] [comments]

Moronic Monday - It's your weekly stupid questions thread. Please upvote for visibility. I receive no karma for this post.

Hey /SilkRoad , it is time for Moronic Monday!
Post your question - stupid or otherwise - here to get an answer. Anyone can post a question and the community as a whole is invited and encouraged to provide an answer. Many questions get submitted late each week that don't get a lot of action, so if your question didn't get answered before, feel free to post it again.
I do ask that you refrain from abusing noobs in this thread. Feel free to link to guides, wikis, forums, other subreddits (particularly /bitcoin and /drugs [though many on the Bitcoin subreddit don't take real kindly to SR]), or the FAQ, though.
Link semi-related:
Also, I wanted to mention that scam attempts are ongoing in this subreddit. It's mostly the same guy, probably from China (based on the domain registrar) posting links to a fake Bitcoin exchange with a similar name to a legitimate bitcoin ecommerce site. The site claims to accept Paypal and debit/credit cards for Bitcoin, which no legitimate Bitcoin exchange does directly. He's using a rotating array of obscure URL shorteners to evade the automatic sitewide spam algorithm. His usernames are usually, but not always, gibberish, and usually, but not always, only used to post one comment or link. Some of you report it when you see it, and I'm thankful for that. Downvotes don't put things in the moderation queue, so please always report it when you see it. I delete and ban it when I see it and I know other mods do as well. There are other scams, but that's by far and away the most common one.
Another thing I want to mention is that you should never use for SR-related tasks. You lose all anonymity by going that route. Your ISP and/or your university IT department can tell exactly what you're looking at if you use it. Even if you visit using Tor, malicious Tor exist nodes could be used to compromise your anonymity. The Tor Browser Bundle is a seriously easy thing to install and use, and Orweb/Orbot is not much worse.
Useful resources:
The sidebar -----
Fire away!
submitted by RacistConspiracy to SilkRoad [link] [comments]

The beginning of the great transition to an Ancap world

We have already entered the transition - it began with the creation of the internet. Going by the definitions of a state that Julian Assange has laid out here: Control of force, control of communications and control of violence. Free market, open and freedom oriented solutions for all of these are emerging into the world today:
Combine these things together and what happens? Let's look at some business examples...
Getting back to the OP's question. You ask "how do we get there?" The answer is simple - by proving to the world that using non-violent methods to interact creates that opportunity for frictionless, open, transparent, censorship-resistant, EXTREMELY PROFITABLE and economically uplifting effects.
Once they see that, they will switch - in the same methods that consumers switch to better, cheaper, faster and easier products at the grocery store. When the choice is made available, the consumers will choose.
submitted by bitcoinisawesome to Anarcho_Capitalism [link] [comments]

PSA-Only you can help prevent Bitcoin scamming. Please upvote for visibility. I receive no karma for this post.

I just wanted to make sure to let everyone know that there are a couple of active attempts to scam you, the users of /SilkRoad, out of money.
Some red flags:
Some specific scam sites:
I think we're doing alright killing the spam/scam comments when we see them, but it makes it much easier for us when you report them. Please don't just downvote. On a related note, please don't report people for being dicks. That's still not against the rules. If it were, I'd've been banned ages ago.
I'm sorry if some of this seems like common sense to you. I just wanted to help get this information out there for those of you who are still a little new to this.
We put together an FAQ with some links to resources on how to get Bitcoin all over the world:
I almost forgot to mention the most recent creative attempts. A user called SR_Support has been PMing users claiming to represent SR. The user solicits a deposit for you to be considered for a job handling trouble tickets for SR. Needless to say, this is a scam. Thankfully, I don't think that one has worked at all.
submitted by RacistConspiracy to SilkRoad [link] [comments]

A beginners guide to buying and using Bitcoins to purchase books etc on Silkroad

So my story is that my country doesnt allow certain controversial books to be sold so I buy them from Silkroad using bitcoin instead. I do not condone using Silkroad for other illegal purposes.
Okay so after having written this I realise just how much of a pain in the ass it is to set up but once everything is set up it really is easier than buying stuff of ebay.
Step 1: SilkRoad
Step 2: Bitcoins
So as you can see from the website you need to pay with bitcoin. The next step is actually a little trickier despite it being perfectly legal.
Your're now ready to purchase any book you please!
Tip: If you have a house number then you dont need to use your own name(I used a different version of my surname so I have some deniability but similar enough that my house mates still assumed it was for me and thus didnt open the package).
A book about Modafinil was the first thing I bought just to test the system(and because I had exams to do, its a good read), reason being that its virtually legal. I bought it from the seller Coherence. Next I bought from the seller Ivory(A little pricey but he is UK based and thus the return address isnt suspicious looking), that book was an excellent read. After that I bought from DRamsterdam, he sold me cheap, high quality books and the amsterdam return address didnt seem to stop them! Those books had highly engaging stories from beginning to end.
Useful sites I use:
If the above sites seem a bit confusing, you can just ignore them and stick with a simple policy of only buying the bitcoins you need to cover a purchase and then using those bitcoins within a short space of time. This will avoid any crazy price fluctuations that might occur which could affect the value of your bitcoins/purchases.
EDIT: Thanks guys, lots of helpful suggestions, I modified the guide where needed.
As user Emerjesse pointed out, you can use PGP encryption for extra security on Silkroad( many sellers prefer it). Most vendors have a PGP public key in their profile, use that key to encrypt your delivery address and all your messages. You can do that simply and locally with a javascript tool: You may in turn update your profile or tell the vendor of your public key, such that vendors can encrypt their answers, and you can also sign any further message. They all know how to deal with this.
Happy reading!
submitted by silkencrainn to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Warning: DrugsList is extremely insecure [x-post /r/DarkNetMarkets]

DISCLAIMER: I have no affiliation with any marketplace. My interest is only seeing a more secure and trustworthy underground drug market. I have reported numerous issues to other drug markets and have had them successfully fixed. I have never accepted payment from any drug market for security services. I am only an interested observer and occasional customer.
EDIT: here is the original thread at /DarkNetMarkets
The Drugslist website makes numerous simple security errors in its implementation, and is completely unfit as an underground drug marketplace storing bitcoin wallets.

Error 1: The PGP error

As drug market users you have likely noticed that it is always reinforced that you should use PGP for all private message. A lot of users struggle with PGP since you have to download an application, learn public key cryptography, learn how to sign/encrypt and manage keys etc. There is a reason why it is complicated, because ease of use and security are a direct tradeoff. Were PGP to be simple, it likely wouldn't be effective.
This is why you have never seen a serious drug marketplace that attempts to implement PGP on the web, or inside a browser - because it is insecure. You can only guarantee the security of PGP and your messages if you use a desktop app.
I noticed yesterday that drugslist was making a huge error and had implemented PGP in a web browser as part of the their drugs marketplace. This is a huge red flag, because not only is it not secure, but it also teaches users that pasting private keys into a web form is ok, when it is far from. Security conscious people spend a lot of time reiterating into people basic security practices and when Drugslist does something like implement PGP in a browser and ask users to paste a private key into a web form, they undo a lot of that security advocacy performed by others.
I'm going to try and explain in the simplest terms of why PGP in the browser is a bad idea, because I explain what Drugslist did:
When you install PGP normally on the desktop - you go to a trusted site and download the package, and almost all PGP tutorials will, as a second step, show you how you can verify that the package you downloaded is the same one the developers signed off on - to guarantee that it either hasn't been backdoored or manipulated on the server, or that it hasn't been backdoored or manipulated in transit to your computer. You only have to do this once, when you install the application. From then on your can use the PGP app a thousand times and be confident that it hasn't been backdoored (there are ways around this, such as a trojan on your system, but it won't be backdoored by the developer).
This is an essential part of establishing the trust relationship between developer and user, you can guarantee that it hasn't been compromised using cryptography (Bitcoin also does this, as does Tor).
When you use PGP in a browser, your browser downloads a new copy of PGP every time you use it, and has no way of checking the signature. Worse, it doesn't even check if is downloading it from the correct server. That means someone could easily insert a backdoor into it, or weaken it, and you would never notice. It doesn't matter how much you check the code the first time you use it, you can't guarantee that it would be the same every subsequent time.
This isn't a hypothetical attack, there are at least two known cases where the US Government has taken advantage of web-based cryptography to read 'encrypted' messages for users: Hushmail and Lavabit. In the Hushmail case users had no idea that Hushmail had changed the code to give the government access. In the Lavabit case, because they were using web based crypto they were also vulnerable to a subpoena, which they ended up receiving when Snowden became a user. This is why web-based crypto is bad, because it can't be protected or guaranteed.
Drugslist present their web-based PGP alternative as a direct replacement for desktop PGP, which is not the case. Web based PGP is never secure.
They place a link to it right above the box where you send private messages:
Don't know PGP? Check out our client-side PGP encryption tool. No data transferred and everything stays on your device!
All throughout the site, in the FAQ, there on the private message box, it mentions the web-based PGP implementation as an alternative to desktop based PGP, which it certainly is not.
Now this part I can't stress enough: to a security professional, this is a very simple mistake - it is something that even a security professional with only hours of experience would know is a red flag. This is like a mechanic pointing out that the tyre in your car is wobbly and about to fall off.
I noticed that Drugslist have this feature yesterday in their thread about their API. I knew very very little about Drugslist at this time, I had signed up a week earlier and then forgotten about it - not even looking at what vendors are there, etc.
Here is the thread announcing the API:
I got to this second paragraph and immediately stopped reading:
Our site now offers, a fully featured API escrow, auto withdraw for vendors, 1% commission payments on any money spent by anyone whom you refer, a fully integrated forum and email system, client side pgp encryption and decryption as well as a very active customer support and development team.
I immediately had to see this for myself - surely they don't mean PGP in the browser, that would be lunacy. I open the site, find the feature - and sure enough they have implemented PGP in a browser using Javascript and are asking users to paste their private keys and secret messages into a web form. This is absolutely unacceptable, especially by a marketplace claiming to be security conscious.
Without reading the thread further, I then write this comment telling Drugslist that they need to change and remove the client-side PGP feature. Drugslist replied quickly, and they partly gave an indication that they understood the issue, but they mainly chose to ignore what I reported.
edit to add, while we were having this conversation despite denying it was a problem every time I went back and checked Drugs List they were adding warnings to the PGP tool that demonstrated they didn't understand the issue. I would check their page and the wording would change to include a warning, I would go back, leave a comment with a counter-point, check their page again and the warning would be updated again based on the comment I left. This shows that they weren't understanding the issue.
What proves it further is the message they have on the PGP page now:
This is in big red writing at the top, and was added after I raised the issue:
While our Javascript PGP implementation is secure, and can be verified by looking at the source code, understand that other websites claiming to have client-side Javascript PGP could be insecure. Be cautious of any site offering client-side PGP. You should always search through the source code looking for Javascript includes, XHR requests and HTML5 outbound data calls.
Note two things here: they are still misunderstanding the issue - there is no way to implement this securely, besides their reassurance. Also note that this is a feature that is supposed to be built for users who find desktop PGP complicated, yet it is asking them to conduct a thorough audit of the PGP code prior to using the tool each time. This is completely unrealistic.
Back on the comment thread, there was also a completely surreal situation where i'm left spending a dozen comments explaining to DrugsList what the actual problem is, since it is clear they don't understand what i'm actually reporting - in the meantime they continue to deny that there is a problem.
I had no idea at the time that this would lead to an hours-long conversation where drugslist would repeatably deny the existence of numerous security issues despite the clear evidence to the contrary.
I went back up to that original post and kept reading about the API. Two lines later and we have another security issue:

2. API Security Issues

I'll keep this brief. The problems with the API are:
  1. It asks you to place your marketplace password in the URL of the API. This is a big no-no, since many applications log URLs in plain text. A URL is 'non sensitive' data and all applications treat it that way, you should not be placing passwords into the URL
  2. The password used in the API is the same as that used in the API, so if your API somehow leaks, the person finding the password can login as you. This is poor design.
  3. The API client makes no effort to authenticate the server, and vice-versa. This means it would be incredibly simple to intercept the data passing between the API client and the API server. Running over Tor only makes it easier, since a lot of Tor configs have misconfigured DNS.
The drugslist response to these concerns is that they 'expect' API clients to know these problems and to use them securely.
I had now discovered a number of basic security issues in reading only two paragraphs of text from Drugslist, and in all these cases the Drugslist user had responded quickly, completely denying any issue or any problem - and dismissing the concern. This was becoming a pattern and it prompted me to look at the history of this user and this drug marketplace, it didn't take me long to find more hits.

Error 3: SQL Injection

I only had to scroll down 3 or 4 previous thread before finding this thread - where a user of reddit had reported an SQL Injection vulnerability to DrugsList.
Set aside for a moment what you may believe about how the person reporting that bug behaved or conducted themselves, because this is a very serious issue.
I could not believe what I was seeing as I scrolled through the screenshots attached. I haven't seen this type of elementary SQL Injection bug for years. This stuff used to work 10 years ago, but you rarely see it any more as most programmers and websites have wisened up to the simplest of SQL Injection bugs.
Make no mistake about this: what is being demonstrated in that bug is the ability to take control of the application and run whatever commands you wish on the database. This means you can take passwords, steal bitcoin, insert your own vendor account etc.
This is the exact same type of bug that cause both Sheep and BMR to be hacked, instead this bug was much, much simpler than either of those
This SQL Injection bug lead to what was now becoming a regular situation - the drugslist user coming in, denying that there was an error, and claiming that the user who found an SQL Injection had only found a 'small bug' and couldn't 'do anything'. He was daring the next attacker to delete/hack his entire site as a way of proving that a bug exists.
This lead to a completely surreal comment thread, the kind I have never really had before, where we have the admin of the drug market along with a mod from the sub trying to convince people that this wasn't a real bug - using terms that are taken from information security, but using them in such a way that makes it clear to anybody who knows the field that these guys have no idea of what they are talking about.
The sheer simplicity of the SQL Injection attack lead me to open up a browser and to go to Drugs Marketplace and to check for myself to see if I could find any other bugs (having a single simple bug on the main page usually means there are more).

Error 4: Multiple SQL Injection Points

Within 3 minutes of checking their app it was clear that both their search page and their product page are not filtering user input and allow a user to tamper with SQL queries in any way they want.
I private message Drugslist and tell him that he needs to take his site down and come clean about the security issues. I've never seen a site like this. A potential hacker with no knowledge of info sec would only require 10-12 hours of learning to take complete advantage of stealing everything from Drugs List.

Error 5: Server Leaking Info

After discovering the two bugs I come to the conclusion that there is no point in testing this further, since every parameter I test is vulnerable.
I look down at my logs and I can't believe what i'm seeing - the server is leaking critical information about itself that would make it simple for a dedicated adversary to trace down not only the location of the server, but the people running it.
This is worse than Silk Road in the early days, where similar output lead the authorities to the location of the Silk Road server.

Error 6: Consolidating everything in one market

The other problem with Drugs List is that in an effort to be convenient they consolidate everything into one website and behind one URL: market, wallets, email, forum and even PGP
Were the market hacked or taken over by LE, they would get everything - your emails, your messages, your PGP (via the web tool). This is why each vendor and buyer should host each of these separately - email should be with one host, wallet with another, marketplace on another, PGP on your desktop - this rule is the same as the 'diversify your holdings' rule in the finance world, you don't want a single point of vulnerability.
There is also a reason why other markets host their forums and their marketplaces on separate URLs, its so that you isolate them from each other. The threat model to a forum is very different to the threat model for a bitcoin drug marketplace - you don't want a bug in the forum leading to a complete compromise of your bitcoin drug marketplace.

Over-marketing and under-delivering

If you look at Drugs Lists claims, they keep reiterating security and how they have hired 'PHD's in math' and 'security experts'. There is no chance this is true. Drugs List has almost certainly been put together by a single person with a minor understanding of technology and almost no understanding of security who outsourced the work of programming the marketplace. It is likely that he has hired cheap offshore labour to build this site using a service like oDesk or Elance. I don't believe his programmers know that what they are building is being used as a drug marketplace.
When I search some of these marketplaces for 'bitcoin escrow marketplace' I get a number of hits for people attempting to hire cheap labour to build such a marketplace. Some of these sound a lot like Drugs List, and that would also match up with how the site has been implemented. This is exactly how SR1 was taken down and I have more than enough information to conclude that were a sufficiently motivated adversary interested in taking down Drugs List, they would likely do so in very short order.
It doesn't matter if you believe that I am out to "get" drugs list or not, there is a pattern in his communication where numerous people have reported security or other concerns to them and they are dismissed. So either all these people reporting concerns are crazy (which would include me, two other techs on the SQL injection thread, TMPSchultz and gwern on the multi-sig thread), or drugs list is negligent with user data and are in way over their heads with operating a secretive bitcoin based underground drug market.
Of the 3 issues I reported to them, his replies indicated that he didn't even understand 2 of them. It took me numerous messages to explain what was wrong with doing web-based PGP, despite their first response indicated that they understood the issue and thought it was ok.
There is a pattern here in how features are over-marketed and then under delivered and sheer negligence with security reports. The question vendors and buyers have to ask themselves is do they really trust their identity and money with someone who is not only incompetent in building a website but in utter denial about there being a problem.
IF YOU ARE A VENDOR OR BUYER: Don't trust me - please, find someone you know who is a programmer or a tech and ask them to take a look at these two threads:
  1. This one where I report the PGP error, which becomes very weird at the end
  2. This thread, where a user reports a simple SQL injection
That is the lest amount of due diligence you should do before using a drug marketplace, especially as a vendor. You will find that even those with a cursory knowledge of programming or info security will find those threads worrying to the point of being amusing.
submitted by the_avid to SilkRoad [link] [comments]

Alex Winter on Deep Web, Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts How to get onto silk road Drugs, Bitcoin and the Deep Web with Silk Road Historian Eileen Ormsby of - Part 1 DarkNet - Silk Road Anonymous Marketplace ☆ DarkNet Markets ☆ Guide To Access The Silk Road  Dark-Web Website  TOR ...

Silk Road 3.1. According to the admin, Silk Road 3.1 was created because its ancestor was shut down and supposedly, most vendors moved to the new version of the marketplace.The users should ensure that your old username will not work on 3.1, so you have to get a new one in 3.1. About Silk Road 3.1: Silk Road is one of the most known markets on which you can buy drugs. This iconic marketplace has more than 50k listings of which 33k are drug related. The original Silk Road has been shut down but alternative markets started appearing right after. Silk Road 3.1 accepts Bitcoin, Monero and more… WARNING! – EXIT SCAM ... Warning: Silk Road 3&3.1 EXIT SCAM USE: Silk Road 4 (SAFE & Legit) LINK: silkroadxjzvoyxh.onion (online). The Silk Road 3.1 is the most renowned darknet markets.In this article, we will be disclosing the steps in which you will be able to access the Silk Road 3.1. The Silk Road was originally established by Ross William Ulbricht after which the marketplace is termed as the first and the most ... The Silk Road, an underground anonymous drug trading website similar to Amazon, cannot be accessed through the use of normal browsers and the general internet. This is because the Silk Road is hosted on Tor servers, servers that can only be accessed by other Tor users. To demonstrate how the normal internet works, take a look at the diagram below. Silk Road FAQ. What is the Silk Road? The Silk Road is a DarkNet Marketplace (DNM) that is accessed through TOR (The Onion Router) network, empowering users with ability to buy and sell anonymously and safely. We utilize multiple crypto-curriences to enable secure, fast and safe transactions. What is Silk Road’s onion (url)?

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Alex Winter on Deep Web, Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road and Dread Pirate Roberts

A guide on how to access the dark web website Silk Road, from where most of the illegal drugs, weapons are trades. This video does not intend an unethical us... the system of Silk Road exists of these 3 components: 1. TOR ( anonymous browser) 2. Bitcoin (Anonymous method to payment) 3. PGP (Program to encode delivery adress) For more Informations visit my ... We find out from Winter who is Ulbricht, why he founded The Silk Road, an underground marketplace that used TOR and Bitcoins. And what was different about the Silk Road. On May 29, 2015 a verdict ... Short Video on how to get to the silk road marketplace. You can find the silk road url at my website The Silk Road Browser + How to access Silk Road ... Install Tor Browser Bundle (Mac ) - Duration: 1:57. Adam Preset 28,609 views. 1:57. Buy Bitcoins with PayPal (using CoinPal) - Duration: 3:37 ...