Silk-road was at one time the top Cyber-black market in the game. An educated college graduate, Ross Ulbricht is accused of creating Silk Road. The website sold everything from illegal drugs, guns, porn, driver’s licenses and other illegal services. It was estimated that the website generated amounts of 1. 2 million in sales. An FBI agent was quoted saying ” Silk Road was the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the internet today’.
The website used an underground computer network know as “The onion router” or “TOR”, that relays computer messages through a minimum of three separate computer servers to disguise its sers. Cyber-black markets are the future of illegal trade. Law enforcement will always be on their trail and criminals will always make a mistake leaving Justice to prevail. The site Silk Road was Founded in February 2011. The name Silk-Road comes from a historical network of trades’ routes, which started in the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) between Europe, India, China and many other countries. Silk Road was operated by “Dread Pirate Roberts” (named after the fictional character from The Princess Bride), who was known for espousing libertarian ideals and criticizing regulation. 2 It asn’t until June 2011 that the websites traffic increased and the site really began to take off. Users were skeptic at first, because it seemed as if the website was too good to be true. Silk-Road was the drug market place equivalent to Amazon. com. Silk-Road sold heroin and marijuana where as Amazon sells watches and televisions. The cyber- underworld’s largest black market, with 1. billion in sales and nearly a million customer’s. 3 ” The selection was endless; illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine could be bought on Silk Road, alongside illegal firearms, hacking ools like key logging software, fireworks, forged documents and more. As of March 2013, the site had 10,000 products for sale by vendors and 70% were drugs. The site’s terms of service prohibit the sale of “anything whose purpose is to harm or defraud. ” This includes child pornography, stolen credit cards, assassinations, and weapons of mass destruction.
There were also legal goods and services for sale, such as apparel, art, books, cigarettes, erotica, Jewelry, and writing services. 4″ The quality of the merchandise was rated and commented on Judging the quality of the products which States but dealers and buyers from Britain, Australia, and Sweden had alleged ties to Silk-Road. The website was so extremely sophisticated and complex. Silk-Road operated by a currency known as Bitcoins. “Bitcoins was designed in 2008 and released in 2009 by “Satoshi Nakamoto”, yet not the inventors real name, a stage name of the original developer or theyre for a group of developers.
Bitcoins are a currency controlled by no government, no company, and no group, but rather by maths: a series of complex cryptographic calculations rule how many Bitcoins are in existence and how many are traded. Silk Road is the biggest user of the currency, followed by an unregulated online gambling site known as “Satoshidice”. 5″ The question may arise, are Bitcoins Legal? The question is yes; they are legal depending on what you are doing with it. Bitcoins are currently a part of an on going debate in the United States. Law enforcement is having an issues on ways to regulate and controls the use of Bitcoins.
There are many concerns, as Bitcoins have the ability to be used anonymously, and therefore have a potential to be used for money laundering. 6 The debate of Bitcoins is on going and the future of the currency is still nknown. That fact is that Ross Ulbricht used Bitcoins as his choice of currency for Silk-Road. Bitcoins paired with the route “Tor” make it nearly impossible to trace. Silk-Road operated on a special browser known as “Tor”. The average person is only aware of a small fraction of the Internet. Conventional web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have made no effort to conceal a person’s location or identity. Tor” is totally opposite and works on the notion of preserving anonymity as aggressive as possible. The United States Navvy invented Tor in 2004. 6″ “Tor is an acronym for ” The Onion Router”. The network is and Anonymity network designed to keep your identity and location completely secure as you browse the web. They way Tor is designed to work is, volunteer servers around the world route your internet traffic from server to server before finally delivering you your content. On top of that evasive routing, date is encrypted a number of times as it travels to you. ” The Silk- Road repeatedly assured its users that their illegal transactions were wrapped in layers of privacy. Tor is not illegal; anyone can legally download the browser. Tor opens new persecution on the Internet that many may have never guessed existed nline. ” Where Google helps you to find the needle, Tor let’s you “explore the Haystack. 6” As Silk-Road began to become increasing popular, it gained attention from law enforcement. It didn’t take long for DEA agents to learn about Silk Road and put to it on their list of top priorities. “Sen.
Charles Schumer, D-N. Y. , was the first to be alarmed by the websites potentials. In June 2011, Sen. Schumer called on federal agents to investigate Silk Road. Federal agents began making hundreds of undercover purchases from the site in November 2011. 8″ FBI Agent Christopher Tarbell of the FBI’s cyber-crime unit in New York called Silk Road “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today. 7” Silk Road was high on law enforcements priority list and they were determined to beat the computer hackers at their own game.
The FBI was able to seize Silk Road’s servers and the investigation of the website unraveled relatively quickly. “Many agencies such as FBI, DEA, IRS and customs were located around the world, in countries including Latvia and Romania. 9” After the agencies were able to seize the servers, it was Just a waiting game. They had rouble locating whom the sites CEO was, the “Dread Pirate Roberts”. The FBI went back to the origin of when the site was created. A mistake was made, to attract customers and vendors to the secret site, the Silk Road’s operator had to publicize it on the web.
The FBI found a post of “magic mushrooms” on a discussion forum at “Bitcointalk. org”. The FBI caught a break and potential candidates to reply to his email address, [email protected] com. 10 “The FBI was able to link this email address toa Google subscriber registered as Ulbricht which included a photo. The FBI was able to linked Ulbricht’s IP address back to a Silk Road server. Now that the FBI was able to obtain the IP address they began monitoring Ulbricht’s computer activity. ” 9 The FBI still didn’t have enough proof that Ross Ulbricht’s was the “Dread Pirate Roberts”, the CEO of Silk Road.
The FBI had to go undercover and perform a sting operation. “An FBI agent went undercover in 2012 posing as a drug dealer who was interested in doing business through Silk Road. The FBI made a bold move and directly addressed and emailed the “Dread Pirate Roberts”. The agent directly stated that he needed help fining a buyer for a Kilogram of cocaine. Ulbricht allegedly instructed an employee to help ut, the employee ended up being the buyer. The employee bought the kilogram and arranged the shipment to is house. The FBI then arrested the employee.
After the employee’s arrest, Ulbricht contacted the FBI agent and told him that the employee had been arrested. Ulbricht allegedly asked the FBI agent to have the employee killed because he believed “now that he’s been arrested I’m afraid he’ll give up info. ” Ulbricht agreed to pay the FBI Agent to kill the employee and the transaction went through. The FBI agent staged the killing and sent photos to Ulbricht and the final payment was delivered. On October 1, 2013, Ulbricht was arrested and charged with drug dealing conspiracy and attempted murder of a witness.
Ulbricht was arrested in the library down the block from his residence, as he sat on his laptop in the science fiction sections of the library. 11″ It’s not evident how the FBI managed to track down Ulbricht, as they have not revealed it yet. “A clue mentioned by the FBI ” Basically he made a simple mistake and we were able to identify him. ” A package seized from the mail by U. S Customs and Border Patrol as it crossed the Canadian Border, contained nine counterfeit dentifications documents, all with Ulbricht’s photograph. Ulbricht’s was not arrested when agents went to his residence for questioning regarding the illegal documents. 2″ There was not enough evidence to link him to have created these documents, for any one could have created them. Ordinarily, kids often create illegal documents; this case was over looked until Ulbricht’s name resurfaced. Is Ross Ulbricht the “Dread Pirate Roberts” CEO operator of the infamous sophisticated Drug Market Place Silk Road or an every-day, well-educated college graduate? “Ross Ulbricht is 29 year old grew up in Austin, Texas and later moved to San Francisco. He graduated in 2006 from the University of Texas with a degree in physics.
Later when on and attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Materials Science and Engineering. Ulbricht has been living bunking with friends, and then renting a room for $1,000 a month which he paid in cash. He shared and apartment with two other roommates, who knew him simply as “Josh”. The said ” he was a quiet guy who Joined them through Craigslist, kept to himself and spent full days buried in his laptop”. Both roommates were astounded when they picked up the paper and saw “Josh’s” face in the paper, arrested for perating the website Silk Road. He seemed like a normal guy,” says Brandon. “Obviously he had a dark side, but he never showed any of that. 14” Ross Ulbricht who went under the alias of Josh Terrey, also know as Dread Pirate Robert’s is in custody in connection with Silk Road. According to the FBI, Ross Ulbricht is the CEO and operator of the online drug market place Silk-Road. Ross Ulbricht is facing charges of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. U. S. Authorities have seized twenty-eight million dollars worth of Bitcoins which belonged to Ross Ulbricht.
On November 22nd, Ross Ulbricht was denied bail as the Judge ruled that he was flight risk and his alleged participation in six murder plots make him dangerous to society. The case is U. S. v. Ulbricht, U. S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-mJ-2328. 15 Ross Ulbricht has been denied bail and reminds in New York Jail until his court case. Bibliography Ax, Joseph. Reuters, “U. S. seizes $28 million in bitcoins from man linked to online drug market. ” Last modified October 25, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2013. http:// www. reuters. com/article/2013/10/26/net- us-crime-silkroad-seizure- December 4, 2013. http://www. avelchinaguide. com/silk-road/. Coin Desk The Voice of Digital Currency, “Is Bitcoins Legal. ” Last modified November 26, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2013. http://www. coindesk. com/information/is-bitcoin-legal/. Detroit Free Press, “How FBI brought down cyber-underworld site Silk Road. ” Last modified 2013. Accessed December 4, 2013. http://www. freep. com/usatoday/article/2984921. Donna Leinwand Leger, . USA Today, “A behind-the-scenes look at the federal agents’ digital detective work. ” Last modified October 22, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2013. http://www. usatoday. com/story/news/nation/2013/10/21 /fbi-cracks-silk-road/ 9849211.
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Dread Pirate Roberts October 3, 2013 Mac, Ryan. Forbes , “Living With Ross Ulbricht: Housemates Say They Saw No Clues Of Silk Road Or The Dread Pirate Roberts. ” Last modified October 9, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2013. http://www. forbes. com/sites/ ryanmac/2013/10/09/1 iving-with- ross- u lb richt- housemates-say-they-saw- no-clues-of- silk-road-or-the-dread-pirate-roberts/. theguardian, ” Silk Road: the online drug marketplace that officials seem powerless to stop. ” Last modified March 25, 2013. Accessed December 6, 2013. http://www. theguardian. com/world/2013/mar/22/silk- road-online-drug-marketplace.