Feeds

Drugs e-souk Silk Road back from the dead with new Dread Pirate Roberts

And offers teen pop tearaway Justin Bieber a voucher

High performance access to file storage

Barely a month after the FBI shuttered the first Silk Road online black market, the secretive souk is back with another "Dread Pirate Roberts" (DPR) at the helm – and the operator has added PGP encryption for good measure.

"Over the last four weeks, we have implemented a complete security overhaul. This overhaul marks the dawn of a brand new era for hidden services, and it would not have been possible without the patient support of this community," said DPR in a message on the new website.

"So for waiting patiently; for offering encouragement; for keeping the community spirit alive in Silk Road’s temporary absence; for all of this and more, each of you has my deepest and most sincere gratitude."

The site, accessible from http://silkroad6ownowfk.onion/ if you're using the Tor anonymizing service, is still predominantly a marketplace for drugs, with at least 500 different types on offer. The most common category of product for those wishing to alter their body chemistry is, surprisingly, prescription drugs, followed by ecstasy, and cannabis.

Silk Road drug sales

Buy at your own risk (click to enlarge)

It's not all persian rugs on sale, however. The underground bazaar is filling up with traders touting counterfeit clothes and accessories, fake ID cards from various countries, electronics, and – rather bizarrely – an audiobook recording of Patrick O'Brian's novel Master and Commander.

All transactions are in Bitcoins, as with the previous incarnation of the website, and DPR said that a surge of deposits is expected as the latest site goes live. This may cause some delays in transactions, and users are requested to wait 12 hours before lodging a complaint that their money has been stolen.

A proportion of the transaction fees will be kept by the site's operator, but the latest operator has said a "large percentage of our revenues" will be donated to charity, and more funds will be invested back into the Tor network, which attempts to shield visitors to the website from surveillance.

"It took the FBI two and a half years to do what they did. Divide, conquer and eliminate was their strategy … but four weeks of temporary silence is all they got," said DPR. "And as our resilient community bounces back even stronger than ever before, never forget that they can only ever seize assets – they can never arrest our spirit, our ideas or our passion, unless we let them."

That will come as cold comfort to the four arrested Brits who allegedly used the service, and Ross William Ulbricht who is languishing in federal custody after being cuffed following the closure of the original Silk Road. Ulbricht, alleged by the FBI to be the "Dread Pirate Roberts" who operated Silk Road, is facing charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, use of interstate commerce facilities in commission of murder-for-hire, aiding and abetting, and attempted witness murder.

His lawyer said the 29-year-old of San Francisco denies any wrongdoing, and claimed the FBI pinched the wrong guy.

Meanwhile, DPR today said additional crew are sought to help with marketing the site and those who "have already demonstrated their marketing prowess." The operator took to Twitter in an unusual marketing stunt involving a troubled teen miming singing star and his apparent penchant for the odd pharmaceutical.

Time will tell if this site is a serious attempt to restart the lawless bazaar, or just another attempt to cheat drug users out of their Bitcoins. The latter seems likely, considering the conduct of some of the online markets that sprang up in the wake of Silk Road's original demise.

As always, caveat emptor. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.