Posts Tagged ‘Eileen Ormsby’


A couple of people have asked me about the book I mentioned in my last post. I recently threw in my nice, steady, well-paying but ultimately creatively unfulfilling tech-writing job. So here’s all the things I have in the pipeline that I’m finally getting around to.

This lot should keep me chained to the keyboard for a while

This lot should keep me chained to the keyboard for a while

Another non-fiction book

First, I’m working on a proposal for my agent for a second non-fiction book, Darkest Web, which goes behind the scenes into several different aspects of the dark web that I’ve researched and/or been involved with in-depth. Hopefully that will find a home with a traditional publisher.

The problem with writing serious non-fiction stuff is lawyers. Lawyers legalled me out of about 20,000 words of Silk Road and I had to scramble to fill the gap. Other lawyers stopped part of Darkest Web before it even got properly committed to the page. Which leads me to…

The Dark Web diaries



The hack of dark web “murder-for-hire” outfit Besa Mafia, which I wrote about a couple of days ago. has provided a treasure trove of stories of people who are prepared to go to extreme measures to be rid of someone in their lives. Most never got further than the initial enquiries. A few parted with tens of thousands of dollars. Nobody got much satisfaction.

One of the first customers that Besa Mafia engaged with was a Texan fellow who wanted to put out a hit on his ex-wife. It didn’t go quite to plan. Especially once Guido came into the conversation.



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)


Hey, if the person who emailed me an encrypted message headed “Scoop” and said they wouldn’t be going back to that email addy could re-send it, I got a Decryption Failed (no public key) error. I need your public key. Use the safe-mail addy in my About page if you want.

Today's mainstream media piece

Today’s mainstream media piece

I have a new feature in The Age today. Of course, I’d really like you all to go out and buy the paper, but if you can’t do that, here’s a link to the online version: The road’s closed to these drugs. Or below is the TL;DR version.


Some Silk Road drug dealers are promising to donate a percentage of this week’s sales to charity


Black markets are supposed to be dangerous places. Drug dealers are bad guys. Drug users are selfish hedonists who would steal from their Grandma for a fix.

Except when they’re not.


Should Wikipedia draw a line at including links to illegal marketplaces or websites hosting objectionable content?  And does it have a duty to prevent its readers from becoming victims of phishing if they visit those links?


For such a short Wikipedia entry, Silk Road has been responsible for a lot of behind-the-scenes drama.

It started with a demand on 13 June 2011 (shortly after Silk Road first appeared on Wiki) that the whole entry be deleted by someone who apparently doubted you could really buy drugs online and have them delivered in the mail.  “The only references anyone has been able to provide are a Gawker blog article and a passing reference on a Guardian blog,” went the argument. “Heck, we’re still not entirely sure that it isn’t just a hoax…”


Silk Road users have been shocked twice in the past two days when a forum member released names, addresses and order details of dozens of purported customers.

The user – first calling themselves ‘Info Wars’ and, once that account was banned, ‘Infowars’ – pounded the forums with repeats of the same post – a list of names and addresses, along with alleged drugs orders delivered to those addresses. Hundreds of posts were made before the user was banned and the forums taken offline ‘for maintenance’.

Silk Road down while the offending posts are removed

Silk Road down while the offending posts are removed