Silk Road, Bitcoin-Fueled Drug Marketplace, Still Eluding Authorities

Categories: Drugs, Marijuana

Thumbnail image for silkroad.jpg
Thanks to the Internet, buying drugs is as easy as buying a pizza.

Provided you use Bitcoins and buy them from online illegal drug superstore Silk Road. The website -- hidden on the Deep Web and accessible only using anonymity network Tor -- made headlines on Gawker way back in 2011. Users reported buying acid from Canada and real Afghani hash -- and being quite satisfied with their purchases.

Such fun attracts law enforcement, of course, and in this case, Silk Road also drew the ire of U.S. Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY). A Silk Road competitor, Atlantis, shut down last week. New York-based media reports say that the DEA and other officials are "investigating" the OG online drug emporium, but the record stands for itself: the marketplace is still open.

We know only slightly more about drugs than we do about computers, which is to say we know where the on/off button is on our vaporizers. That said, anyone can use Silk Road: after downloading the Tor software, the URL for Silk Road is accessible, and drugs can be bought and sold using Bitcoins, which are also encrypted, to a degree.

One of the Bitcoin authors told Gawker that transactions with the currency are traceable, albeit with a lot of work.

In the meantime, law enforcement sources told that investigators are "keeping tabs" (hah, get it?) on Silk Road, with local and state police in New York State joining in with DEA agents.

No charges have been brought on anyone -- and it's highly likely Silk Road's operators are overseas, away from the Justice Department's jurisdiction -- but another anonymous source told Newsday that there are security weaknesses in emails and other communications used by Silk Road members, and cops are "exploiting" those and other ways to de-encrypt the drug bargaining.

But is it working?

"So far, unfortunately, their system has been somewhat successful," the source told Newsday. "Our goal is to make sure that doesn't continue to be the case."

In other words, Silk Road's winning. For now.

My Voice Nation Help

that weakness in the e-mail system is simple to resolve , if you make a PGP/gpg key remove the PGP/gpg ID   , and you are save , the problem is when you use the same pgp key for OTHER things as silkroad they can link you back true the PGP ID number... 

All this info can be read on the silroad forum,,,,,,  this will make the mail trace Impsible ....  novice users NEVER use a pgp key for other things as silkroad!!!!

The reasong why silkroad can not be stoped , well its the same as snowden , he knew what he was doing as a it proff , the admin of SR seem to know too ,  and prper working encryption REALY is UNBRKEBLE whitin a human live

Jeremy Baker
Jeremy Baker

If I wanted to arrest a lot of people for buying drugs online, I'd set up an online drug store and say it was perfectly safe....then just haul them all in! (It's not paranoia when it proves to be true!!)

mrericsir topcommenter

@indigo.frank This is a good example of why heavy drug users shouldn't be giving computer advice.  Anyone who thinks PGP magically makes your email untraceable is in for a nasty surprise when the cops show up at their door.


@Jeremy Baker that was probably atlantis , but then they found out that even as a store operator you can not trace back the poeple.......

TOR gives anonymity to EVRYBODY so nobody knows who is talking from were,,,, making this idea useless.  , only the seller gets the adress , but can NEVER verify the buyer so it leaves plausible deniebility to reciver , since anybody can send you drugs over the mail to blackmail you.

So that is no way to stop it , the silkroad website owner  its self can only see encrypted data witch is useless for them to process. 

this is a real chess mate for the DEA , NSA , etc and can ONLY be resolved if tere is a wat to make a prime number deviceble by more then 1 and its self  ,  and chances on that are near to zero...

Now Trending

From the Vault


©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.