Walking The Silk Road

** An Insight to Silk Road – For Educational Purposes Only **

Imagine if there was a site like ebay where users could buy and sell Cocaine, Ecstasy  LSD and other illegal substances. That is not possible right  ? I guess that was the simplest explanation I could give to describe Silk Road an online black market. 

[Update 09/12/2013] : Almost one week after this article was released, Silk Road has been seized after FBI arrested the owner of Silk Road, Mr. Ross Ulbricht aka “Dread Pirate Roberts”. Following that, “Atlantis” black market has closed. If the arrest of Dread Pirate Roberts was due to a security weakness in TOR networks or human error, is something that we will have to wait to find out.

How to access Silk Road :

The gate to enter Silk Road is http://silkroadvb5piz3r.onion/ . Don’t be anxious before clicking on it. You should know that is a website hosted through a TOR hidden service [2].

The Onion Rooter (TOR) network is a volunteer system of more than 3,000 nodes which hides user’s IP address. A number of encryption layers provide encryption to the network of users in a way that is actually difficult to reveal the identity of the users. (You can download TOR browser here).

Why Silk Road is so successful :

It sells anything the black market has to offer in the online world with a great deal of anonymity. After reading the reviews posted, it’s clear that a great deal of people use the website with positive outcome. Andy Greenberg, a security researcher from Forbes magazine actually bought online drugs to verify the validity of the [5].

listing

For all those paranoids out there who want to take an extra measure of precaution, these days many people use VPN services to provide another layer of complexity. A secure connection with an VPN server hides your real IP address and therefore your physical location. (Check if you surf anonymously here).

TOR

All transactions are done using bitcoins thus securing the anonymity of both the seller and the buyer. Bitcoin is a cryptographic virtual currency system which allows user to transfer coins. Coins are exchanged bought and sold with real money giving real value to the bitcoins [1].

Although authorities have long targeted Silk Road they only succeeded in busting a few drug dealers by intercepting their incoming mail. Therefore since 2011 Silk Road has been a booming business and the people behind it make some real money. Gawker’s research estimated revenue of 140,000 dollars per month [4].

BMRlogo1

Proof of the concept, is the fact that two new similar services emerged, “Black Market Reloaded” and “Atlantis”. Atlantis “the virtual black market” launched a promo video on Vimeo describing itself as the best virtual black market.

3 reasons why you should avoid Silk Road:

  • In Cyprus and most European countries possession of drugs is a crime and offenders are prosecuted. Use of controlled drugs is criminalized under s.10 of the “The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law of 1977”, which originally prohibited the use of prepared opium, cannabis or cannabis resin and in 1992 was extended to apply to all controlled drugs listed.
  • There is always the danger of never receive your goods as the seller may be arrested by the authorities or even cash out and leave the community. In other cases it is possible that the envelope may never reach its destination due to being caught by Customs officers. A good tip is use an escort service something equivalent to paypal when buying goods using Bitcoins.
  • The drug quality is a main issue since and since you don’t know the seller you should be extremely vigilant. Minimize the risk by buying products only from trusted sellers. In addition use drug test kits to test the composition before using them.

“Deep web” contains vast amount of information from how to create a bomb to suicide instructions, illegal drugs and extreme porn. Silk Road is just one of the dark corners of the internet, one that came very popular recently . . .

References:

  1. BitCoin Website – [http://bitcoin.org/en/about]
  2. Tor Project Website – [https://www.torproject.org/]
  3. Silk Road Drugs – [http://silkroaddrugs.org/]
  4. Gawker – “Booming Silk Road Drug Market Boasts $22 Million In Yearly Sales, Fancy Redesign” – [http://gawker.com/5932924/booming-silk-road-drug-market-boasts-22-million-per-year-in-sales-fancy-redesign]
  5. Andy Greenberg, Forbes, 8/14/2013 – “Here’s What It’s Like To Buy Drugs On Three Anonymous Online Black Markets”  – [http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/08/14/heres-what-its-like-to-buy-drugs-on-three-anonymous-online-black-markets/]

 

An Insight to Silk Road – For Educational Purposes Only. If you would like to comment or suggest improvements to this article contact me.
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