U.S. and European government agencies recently teamed up to take down what many hackers and users referred to as “The New Silk Road.”
The website and platform, known as AlphaBay, was used much similarly to ‘Silk Road’ distributing not only illegal drugs and weapons but also malicious software and tools. Although, what made AlphaBay unique in comparison, was that users of the site were not only distributing drugs to users, but also drug-dealers and suppliers – which meant larger quantities and greater crimes.
Much like the ‘Silk Road’ incident, it’s suspected that law enforcement was also registered, monitoring, and is not only able to seize many assets through transactions that took place on the site, but also IP Addresses linking to those that were involved. That is, of course given the exception in difficulty of those who used proxy services and similar tools to hide their identities during transactions and use of the site. Which, although this method can be effective at ‘covering their tracks,’ ultimately subpoenaing such (proxy) businesses will in turn force the production of such private (registered) natural origins to identify the suspects.
According to law enforcement and the Department of Justice, AlphaBay was involved in the supplying of nearly a quarter million customers, along with nearly 50,000 “major drug distributors” from around the world.
Recently, the Department of Justice also announced that at least one suspected administrator in charge of AlphaBay had a warrant issued for his arrest in California.
Law enforcement seems to be taking a much more aggressive approach with these websites and has grown faster at taking them down – which leaves many wondering the true “anonymity” associated with such sites, the use of Tor, or other proxies and “anonymous” browsing techniques and resources.
Another similar, ‘Dark Web’ website called “Hansa Market” was also recently targeted, and taken down.
However, even with the support and intervention of law enforcement globally, many of these sites along with the use of Tor to protect identities has made it especially difficult to apprehend these criminals. Though, a more aggressive approach toward these “Dark Web” websites is undoubtedly evolving, as the dealing of illegal arms has become more frequent – and could easily be linked to the supplying of weapons, funding, and other resources to terrorist organizations.
In many ways, it would appear as though “everyday criminals” such as drug dealers and traffickers are becoming more willing to participate in activities such as “funneling money” to terrorist organizations using outlets like AlphaBay and similar sites just to ‘turn a quick buck.’
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