Disturbing revelations have come out of a dark web hire-a-hitman site

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Drugs, hacking services, stolen financial and personal information and fraud-related services are the staple products of the darknet markets. But there has always been websites offering far more sinister wares – poisons, human beings and hitmen. Such sites are overwhelmingly amateurish, poorly worded fakes, designed to separate the gullible from their Bitcoin.

Earlier this year, Besa Mafia burst on to the dark web with a slick and user-friendly site. They claimed to be Albanian organised crime figures, with employees all over the world. Despite laughable “testimonials” and a ridiculous writing style, the owner of the site managed to convince many that they were real.

Besa embarked on a marketing spree on the clearweb, with apparently satisfied customers providing ‘personal stories’ of successful hits. Little by little, belief that they were genuine began to gain traction. Redditors would claim the others were fake, but Besa was the real deal. Believers would stubbornly insist they knew someone who knew someone who hired a contract killer and paid them in Bitcoin.

Dark web mythbuster and Moderator of /r/deepweb, Deku-Shrub was tiring of the misinformation and rumour spreading by Besa shills. He responded to every post that claimed the services offered by the website were real with a rebuttal and even interviewed the site owners, then ridiculed them on his blog, Pirate London.

Rational people knew this site was a scam, just like all the others. Probably some geeky kid with too much time on his hands and too many hours spent on Playstation having a laugh.

Then something happened.

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Last week I poked fun at torture and murder on the dark web. I’m writing on the same topic today, but I’m not laughing.

Can it really get darker than this?

Can it really get darker than this?

A few months ago I wrote about the apparent over-representation of Australians in all things dark web. This blog touches on that too, but you won’t find me smug and vaguely proud about it.

Four Australians have now been jailed for the roles they played in relation to a series of sites on the dark web. This is the abyss, the cesspool, the darkest part of the dark web.

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“There will be bacon”

Is this the first verified example of a Red Room?

Is this the first verified example of a Red Room?

It started, as these things are wont to do, on 4Chan or Reddit. A couple of days ago; anonymous people posting anonymously “WHOA! Is this Real??” They gave no explanation, just an onion (i.e. dark web) link. The curious, of course, clicked. And they were greeted with a message:

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It went on to say the site owners had captured seven ISIS terrorists whom they would humiliate (“there will be bacon”), torture and ultimately murder live on webcam at the allotted time and date.

Here, it seemed, the ultimate urban myth, was going to become a reality: The Red Room. The modern version of the snuff movie, a Red Room is a live stream of the torture and murder of a person for the entertainment of others. Sometimes viewers may interact, typing instructions on a screen Think of the movie Hostel and add webcams.

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What do me and Charles Bukowski have in common?

Chuck B

Okay, that may be a little hyperbolic, but for the answer you are going to have to check out my guest blog for the Melbourne Writers Festival.

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Fun fact: the proper technical term for dark web sites is hidden services. It’s easy to forget what this implies, but as I’ve been researching the past couple of months for a new book, I’ve been reminded of how the dark web is designed to work.

There's sites on the Dark Web you - and I - will never see

There’s sites on the Dark Web you – and I – will never see

When people ask what’s on the dark web, those who reply will tell them all about the sites that they found once they downloaded Tor and “went exploring” or “browsing” (usually from finding The Hidden Wiki and clicking on some links). Check out the 11,000 comments on this thread on Reddit to see what I mean. (And for something fabulously weird, somebody for some reason decided to narrate a comment I made)

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Once it was thought only crazy people wearing tinfoil hats believed their movements were being tracked all the time. Now it is only crazy people who don’t.

According to the media, “a new kind of party craze has many Australians scrambling for invitations“. Crypto parties aren’t actually that new, but they are certainly getting more popular.

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I will be joining a bunch of “friendly cypherpunks” this Saturday in Adelaide where ordinary people interested in protecting their privacy can learn the basic tools that will make their computer more secure. It’s a community service, it’s free and it will probably be quite fun if you are into that sort of thing🙂

Hope to see you there x (Details are in the link in the previous paragraph)

Yesterday I posted Silk Road moderator Peter N’s story. It gained a lot of attention from supporters and haters alike. It also got noticed by someone else. And I’m no longer sure which category they belong in.

plaque1n

I was surprised to receive not only a comment on the blog, but also a personal email from the Chief Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY. It seems they had taken umbrage at the line:

It must have been disappointing for the prosecution who asked for an extra 10-12 years to add to the 18 months he’s already spent inside.

It may have been my unnecessarily bitchy reporting of those numbers that got up the Chief Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY’s nose so much that they took the time to write personally. I was quite wrong, they assured me:

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