Posts Tagged ‘hacking’

The problem with writing a new book is that you save all the good stuff for the book and that leaves you with nothing for the blog. So in desperation, I’ve been clicking on random links from Onion crawlers to see if there’s anything new, relevant and/or even vaguely interesting happening in the deep dark web.

Mr Robot Spoilers - going cheap on the Dark Web

Mr Robot Spoilers – going cheap on the Dark Web

Here’s a glimpse of where that little experiment took me.

Get in quick for the October 1 Dark Red Room Show

Yes, for those who missed out on their September 17th and September 24th show, you have another chance! One reviewer of an earlier show give it 5 Stars! (Though you have to wonder if they exaggerated because they admitted they get a discount for the next show for the good review). That’s much better than the review I gave the ISIS Red Room (not enough bacon).


Hmmm… this “once-in-a-lifetime experience” is onto it’s third show

But if you missed it and are convinced by the glowing review (“the video was very high resolution and didn’t buffer . . . I noticed there was plenty of evidence to reassure the viewer that it was live and not pre-recorded“) the next episode of torture, murder and a gynaecologist wielding power tools (running time 45 mins unless subject expires sooner) is scheduled for October 1.

Slight catch – they want half a Bitcoin up front to watch the action. But they get that you might not be flush with the old cryptocurrency, so they are willing to take “any reasonable amount” and let you watch a pro rata amount of the action.

You can’t ask for better terms than that. Jump on this bargain before its sold out.

Can’t keep a good hitman down


Another story from the dark web “murder-for-hire” site hack. Read The Curious Case of Besa Mafia first.

There are stories of people paying real money, verifiable through the blockchain, that have come out of the hack. Both targets and their would-be killers can be identified, so it’s only fair to leave those to the authorities for now.

Meanwhile, in an epic troll, someone contacted Besa Mafia asking whether they can buy children (its okay if they’re ugly, but not if they’re from the Midwest).

Even hitmen get trolled

Even hitmen get trolled

And it’s hard to imagine BesaAdmin is not playing along.

BesaAdmin steps up to respond to all questions, complete with scenarios lifted straight from films about how to get them to cooperate (pretend you’re the nice guy getting them from the bad guys) and no, they are not kept in basements until they’re sold. You can refuse the first two kids they come up with, but there will be no a trial rental of a child.

Anon is interested in trialling out becoming a hitperson, because he doesn’t think there are many in Kansas. Besa would have to supply the sniper rifle though, because Anon can’t afford that and the hoodies.

It’s all kind of darkly amusing, if you have a particularly warped sense of humour.


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)


Last month a friend who had just started reading my book rang me almost hyperventilating. “It’s Landmark!” she said. “It’s fucking Landmark!”

Did DPR copy'n'paste for his charter?

Did DPR copy’n’paste for his charter?

She had noticed some startling similarities between the Landmark Forum’s 2020 Charter (which seems to have been superseded since it was written in the 90’s) and the Silk Road Charter, which is quoted at the beginning of the book. As a long-time member of Landmark (a “group awareness training seminar” that many have accused of having all the aspects of a cult), she recognised the words immediately. She followed up by email, and wrote:


SSBD had no role to play in the Silk Road marketplace where drugs were bought and sold.  He was a moderator of the Silk Road discussion forum, which had its own URL and was hosted on a different server to the marketplace. So why is the US so determined to extradite someone who may or may not be him?

Peter Philip Nash has been sitting in a Brisbane jail cell since 20 December 2013.

He is facing extradition to the United States to face allegations of narcotics conspiracy (maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years); conspiracy to commit computer hacking (maximum 5 years) and money laundering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.


According to the US Indictment, Nash was known online as “samesamebutdifferent”, better known to Silk Road members as SSBD. SSBD was a well-loved moderator of the now defunct Silk Road discussion forums (new forums, colloquially known as SR2, have replaced the old). His job was to answer questions, explain the rules, move posts to their proper forum (with over a million posts, many were bound to wind up in the wrong place) and generally attend to banal administrative tasks.

In any event, Nash may or may not be SSBD.  But even if he is. What exactly was SSBD’s crime?


Since the arrest of Ross Ulbricht, allegedly Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts, conspiracy theories have been coming thick and fast and they range from the plausible to the absurd.


A lot of them involve his friend Rene Pinnell, for whom Ulbricht relocated to San Francisco – either that Pinnell is the real DPR and set Ulbricht up for the fall right from the beginning, or they are in it together and will provide each other’s reasonable doubt. Then there’s the one that it’s all an ingenious ruse that is going to plan so that double jeopardy laws can be invoked later. Or it’s all a setup so law enforcement can be seen to have done something. Or there’s a good chance of parallel construction of evidence by the authorities.

I’m not much one for wearing a tinfoil hat, though I get a kick out of reading all the theories. But there has been something odd happening, which probably has a totally innocent explanation, but it’s a bit weird.


If the Bitcointalk hackers are reading this, can you please let me know if I’m a lousy journo and missed the smoking gun, or if it was part of a deleted post?

I originally wrote the below in response to a lengthy, well thought-out comment by a reader on a previous blog about the changing face of Dread Pirate Roberts. But then I figured, why waste what became the length of a blog post in itself? So here is my comment, recycled and slightly amended.

I’ve been mulling over the conclusions I drew in my blog post a few weeks ago, “Which Pirate is That?” in light of revelations from the FBI documents following the arrest of Ross Ulbricht.  Clearly, if the FBI docs are accurate – the gmail address was linked to altoid in 2011 and they swooped on Ulbricht as he was logged in as DPR – then it looks like there was only ever one DPR.

Allegedly the previous 'nym of Dread Pirate Roberts

Allegedly the previous ‘nym of Dread Pirate Roberts