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New Silk Road drug bazaar opens a month after FBI bust

By Basoodler, Nov 6, 2013 | Updated: Nov 6, 2013 | | |
  1. Basoodler

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A new anonymous Internet marketplace for illegal drugs debuted on Wednesday, with the same name and appearance as the Silk Road website shut down by U.S. law enforcement authorities a month ago.

    Like its predecessor, the new Silk Road listed hundreds of advertisements for marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and other illegal drugs available for purchase from independent sellers using the anonymous Bitcoin digital currency.

    On October 1, the Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down the original Silk Road and arrested its alleged mastermind, Ross William Ulbricht, 29, known online as "Dread Pirate Roberts," in San Francisco.

    "It took the FBI two-and-a-half years to do what they did...but four weeks of temporary silence is all they got," a site administrator wrote, also using the "Dread Pirate Roberts" moniker.

    The FBI declined to comment on the new version of the Silk Road. For more than two years, the original site acted like an eBay of vice, allowing users to buy and sell illegal goods and services on the assumption that they were safe from the law. Deliveries were made through the mail in discrete packages.

    U.S. authorities also say Ulbricht had tried to call out a hit on a user who had threatened to expose the identities of thousands of Silk Road users.

    The charges against Ulbricht said his website generated sales of more than 9.5 million Bitcoins, roughly equivalent to $1.2 billion.

    The new website improves on technology from the previous Silk Road meant to keep identities secret, including measures to keep users from losing their Bitcoins in case the site shuts down, according to the new Dread Pirate Roberts.

    A week after authorities shut down the Silk Road, British police said they arrested four men accused of being significant users of the site.

    Like the original Silk Road, users access the new site using a no-cost, anti-surveillance service known as the Tor network instead of traditional web browsers.

    The new Silk Road will soon hire staff to handle marketing for the site, the administrator mentioned in his post.

    "The Silk Road has risen once more...Open communication with your old suppliers and customers, let this wonderful news be taken to all corners of the Tor Network and beyond," the person wrote.

    (Additional reporting by Emily Flitter in New York; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)


  1. Basoodler
    'Silk Road 2.0' Launches, Promising A Resurrected Black Market For The Dark Web
    (From the non-official, yet seemingly official Silk Road news network Forbes)

    The Silk Road is dead. But the dark web dream lives on.

    On Wednesday morning, Silk Road 2.0 came online, promising a new and slightly improved version of the anonymous black market for drugs and other contraband that the Department of Justice shut down just over a month before. Like the old Silk Road, which until its closure served as the Web’s most popular bazaar for anonymous narcotics sales, the new site uses the anonymity tool Tor and the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to protect the identity of its users. As of Wednesday morning, it already sported close to 500 drug listings, ranging from marijuana to ecstasy to cocaine.

    It’s even being administered by a new manager using the handle the Dread Pirate Roberts, the same pseudonym adopted by the previous owner and manager of the Silk Road, allegedly the 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht arrested by the FBI in San Francisco on October 2nd.

    The only significant visible change from the last Silk Road, spotted by the dark-web-focused site AllThingsVice that first published the site’s new url, is a new security feature that allows users to use their PGP encryption key as an extra authentication measure. It also has a new login page,parodying the seizure notice posted by the Department of Justice on the prior Silk Road’s homepage, with the notice “This Hidden Site Has Been Seized” replaced by the sentence “This Hidden Site Has Risen Again.”

    “You can never kill the idea of Silk Road,” read the twitter feed of the new Dread Pirate Roberts twenty minutes before the site’s official launch.

    The Silk Road sequel experienced some hiccups coming online–it had planned to launch at 4:20pm on November 5th, a significant time and date for an anarchic drug site. But that launch was delayed for 24 hours, and even now the new Silk Road 2.0 isn’t fully operational–its administrators say they’re still gauging the site’s traffic load before they start accepting orders later this week.

    When it does resume sales, the new Silk Road may not have an easy time convincing users to resume their black market business as usual. The previous Silk Road is only one of three anonymous black market sites to shut down in the last six weeks. First the administrators of the competing site Atlantis abruptly announced it would be going offline for “security” reasons, absconding with all the bitcoins that users had stored in their Atlantis accounts. Then last week, the Silk Road alternative site Project Black Flag similarly disappeared, and its administrator MettaDPR posted a message on its user forum admitting that he or she had “panicked” and stolen the site’s bitcoins.

    A third site, the older Silk Road competitor Black Market Reloaded, also experienced a temporary crisis earlier in October when an administrator leaked the site’s source code onto the web. Black Market Reloaded’s owner known as Backopy initially said he would shut down the site as a result,but then changed his mind when the leak turned out not to expose any obvious vulnerabilities endangering user privacy.

    “I for one do not trust the new [Silk Road],” wrote one user on the site’s forums. “I just get an eerie feeling from the whole idea of it, right now i will steer clear…only time will tell, i want to dive head first into it, but i want to see it play out for a little bit before i slap down another 500 bucks, an investment i made the day before [Silk Road] was closed.”

    Many more of Silk Road’s users seem reassured, however, by the fact that Silk Road 2.0 is being managed in part by known administrators from the original Silk Road, particularly a moderator known as Libertas who has served as one of the more vocal leaders of the Silk Road community since Ulbricht, the alleged Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested.

    “Silk Road 2.0 will be reborn better, much much more secure as testament to the tenacity and determination of this wonderful community of ours,” wrote one moderator on the new Silk Road’s forum site with the name Synergy. “We will not be down trodden, we will rise again.”

    “Into the breach once more my friends!” wrote one Silk Road vendor on the site known as PerfectScans.

    Another user with the handle Steve Jobs took the opportunity to offer a eulogy for 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, the accused previous Dread Pirate Roberts and owner of the original Silk Road, who was arrested last month and has been extradited from Glen Dyer prison in Oakland, California to a jail in New York where he’s scheduled to have a bail hearing this week.

    “Within the excitement and morning light glare of a brand new day for all of us…say a kind prayer for Last DPR,” Steve Jobs writes. “Forsaken, fading, atrophying alone in a concrete box cell… who brought us all together here and gave me a home, now he has none.”11-6

  2. Alfa
    The title says it all really. This one opens up one month after the old one was busted and before the full ramifications and details of the DEA operation have become apparent. That only makes sense to me if its another sting op. I was wondering why on earth they closed down SR, when they could have milked it for years.
    But maybe I am looking for things to make sense when they do not.
  3. squeezix
    I think what makes the most sense is that SR is opening on a day when the UN is declaring the war on drugs a failure. Now with the internet helping people exercise what SHOULD be their personal freedoms, I believe we are finally at a crossroads in my country where we must discuss serious policy change. In the years since 9/11/2001 we have managed to completely offend even our closest allies and we put a president in office that stood for change. His change has been for the worst.

    Alfa, you play a very important role in all of this, you have helped so many people through this site, that's why even when I'm broke I try to donate, and I urge the other members to keep pitching in as well.
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