Exploring the Dark Web on Freenet (Part 3!)

linkageddon-censored

When people use the words “deep web” or “dark web,” they aren’t usually thinking of Freenet – which is why I thought I should talk about it more often!

I’ve mentioned it on several previous posts (for those of you who are new to the blog…welcome!).

Interview: Arne Babenhauserheide of pyFreenet and Infocalypse

This time around, let’s explore some actual Freenet sites (or freesites, as they’re called). While the interface may not look that exciting, that seems to be a common factor across networks like Tor, I2P, and Freenet.

The above screenshot is of Linkageddon, the “uncensored” link list on Freenet.  It lists every freesite, legal or not.  So I figured I’d start with Nerdageddon, which is similar, but removes most of the “offensive” content (though I’m not one to be easily offended).

Nerds We Are…Cool As Us You Wish You Were

nerdageddon_updated

At the time of this writing, that’s the latest iteration of Nerdageddon.  Some of it, as you may or may not be able to see, consists of FMS Sites, which are generated via the Freenet Messaging System (FMS) and are merely chat logs. I skipped over those for the most part.

One of the first sites I checked out was called The Frugal Dungeon Master (remember, you need to be connected to Freenet to access it).  If the title hasn’t clued you in already, it’s meant for players of Dungeons and Dragons (a.k.a. D&D).

dungeons_and_dragons

The text (which I’m sure looks infinitesimally small on your monitor) reads: “Tired of paging through PDFs? Here is a convenient reference for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.  It supports searching, sorting, and filtering.  This version includes the monsters, spells and magic items from the basic rules, the player’s handbook, and the dungeon master’s guide. I’ll add content as time and scan quality permit.

The reference is a Ruby on Rails web application. You can install it on one computer and then access it from any device on your network.”

Ooh, Ruby on Rails!  Now you’ve sparked my interest!  As a burgeoning coder, I plan to eventually learn it, but I’m still working on several other languages at the moment.  As they say:

keep_calm_rubyonrails

This is probably less exciting to those of you who aren’t into RPGs, or don’t code – but there’s more to Freenet, I promise.

P.S. If you don’t code, you may want to get into it – you may like it, you never know!!

Scammers Getting Scammed?

bitcoin_doubler_freesite

I also came across a suspicious looking freesite called Bitcoin Doubler Scripts (pictured above), which made this claim:

“Hi all.  he [sic] last year I was trying to find a good bitcoin doubler but it is not easy because most of the available software is not working.

I found several different versions and remade them to operate [sic] , fully functional software that you can use at any time on Your webpages..

I will soon expand this page which forum board [sic] ,will be good to exchange information about the operation of scripts.

On this moment I have ready four versions.”

He (or she?) then features four download links to the scripts, which I won’t include, because I suspect this is either a scam, or something with malware embedded.  Why do I suspect this?

Well, I’ve seen hundreds of these types of sites on Tor, and I don’t have reason to believe this one’s any different.  Hell, it could be one of the same people who’s offering it on Tor, trying to branch out!

I’ll give you a few examples I’ve seen (I DO NOT SUGGEST USING THESE! YOU WILL GET SCAMMED!!):

100x Your Bitcoins in 24 Hours!

100X_bitcoin_scam

Profit with your coins – and get rich!

10%interest ponzi

20% profit, payed from newer transfers

20%profit ponzi

the hottest dark web ponzi

120%_ponzi

get 5% intrest with your money [sic] 5%interest ponzi

Just the fact that each site looks almost identical (as well as the BTC addresses looking similar) makes me think that it’s the same scammer running all of them.  Plus, the fact that they used the word “ponzi” to describe one of them is very telling.  So I repeat: do not give them your money!

As for the Freenet one, I haven’t tried it so I can’t guarantee anything, but it’s likely just as fake.  Interesting what we discover sometimes, huh?  I hope I was able to prevent a few people from losing their hard-earned bitcoins today.

If you did, then don’t say I didn’t warn you.

As Eddard Stark Would Say…

eddard_stark_meme

For those of you who love Game of Thrones but don’t have HBO or HBO GO, there’s a freesite called TV.Game.of.Thrones that features all of the episodes.

game_of_thrones_site

I’m quite certain you can download them from torrent sites as well, but this was so easy to find, that I just had to throw it out there.  I must confess that I’m way behind in watching this show, but it was a cool find on here.

They also have I2P links in case the Freenet site goes down.

Come on, Where’s the Disturbing Stuff?

lolicon_animated

*Sigh* – I figured this question would come up eventually.  Well, trust me – there are plenty of disturbing and creepy things on Freenet as well.

If you browse through Linkageddon, you may see some sites with the text “Contains underage material.”  If you’re into CP or that sort of thing, that’s probably where you should go.

Now, if it’s something like lolicon, where it’s animated, I find that slightly less disturbing, but I still have to question the motives of someone who finds it sexually arousing.

Well, as you probably know if you visited any of the dark web for some time, there’s child pornography if you’re looking for it.  In my earlier post Dark Web: What Are Candydolls?, I described the phenomenon of “candydolls,” which are essentially underage girls dressed up in adult clothing in a sexual manner.

I have, unfortunately, come across a few sites like that on Freenet – but it’s to be expected if you’re using any kind of anonymity software, so I really wasn’t that surprised by it.

So again – if you really want to see the disturbing shit, just take a look through Linkageddon, and I’m sure you’ll come across it.

Is it For Me?

That being said, I really like Freenet overall, disturbing or not, and I think it has great potential to be a network for all kinds of purposes.  As I have the chance to explore it more, I’ll definitely write some more posts about it.

And yes, I still recommend that you go there – there’s no requirement that you visit the disturbing sites if you don’t want to.

If you see that shit…it’s because you were looking for it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitmen on the Dark Web? Ooh, I Am Scared!!

hitman_network

Some of you may read that headline and think, “Dude, they’re gonna come after you next!”  Well, maybe if one of them is actually real.

Let me preface this by saying – I know that real contract killers exist.  Just look at the Zetas, Gotti family, etc.  These are not those guys.

What sparked my inspiration for this was one of the YouTube videos by Top15s entitled Top 15 TERRIFYING Deep Web Facts.  The first “fact” featured on the video reads (and you have to read this like you have a cold – watch the video and you’ll know what I mean):

Another key component of what makes up the world of deep web shopping is the hitman services that are offered by several different sites. Much like the Silk Road, transactions are made using the bitcoin currency to maintain as much anonymity as possible. One site, offers an assassination in the US or Canada for 10,000 dollars and one in Europe for 12,000 dollars. Although commonly prices range depending on the person you’re looking to kill…

Had I never experienced the dark web at all prior to watching this video, I would have found this idea terrifying as well.  Notwithstanding, I’ve gained a lot more firsthand experience and done quite a bit more research since watching these “scare tactic” videos.

If you look at the actual “hitman” websites and break down their claims, most if not all of them don’t hold up.  One of the most comical sites is the *cough* notorious Besa Mafia, who had been featured in these articles:

Pirate dot london: Assassination scams, the next generation

Besa Mafia murder-for-hire scam exposed following hack

VICE Motherboard: This Fake Hitman Site Is the Most Elaborate, Twisted Dark Web Scam Yet.

Don’t believe me?  Have a look at them in person! Besa Albanian Mafia: Hire a Killer or Hitman

besa_mafia

Even without hacking into their site (as independent researcher Chris Monteiro and a friend recently did!), I still find it rather obvious that it’s a fake.

Forget the fact that their spelling and grammar is awful; you see that on many sites, legit or not.

As Deku-shrub, the author of Pirate dot London, points out:

That said, on closer inspection many details don’t add up. First of all you can apply to be a killer on the site directly. This seems highly unlikely given the close-knit nature of the mafia organization that supposedly runs it. 

I would tend to agree, Mr. Deku!  Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You have to see their site menu…

wat-300x140

 Oh, well in that case, I’m definitely the “beater” type!

91c37e85dec8d198415e477029cbd8c4

Here’s my resume.

And if you think that’s funny, you should read their FAQ.  (Yeah, the assassins have an FAQ!)

13. Why people claim there are no hitmen on deep web or all are fake?

People who claim this are undercover police who want to scare away newbies from using hitmen. On deep web there are fake drug vendors and real drug vendors, fake credit card providers and real credit card providers, fake gun sellers and real gun sellers, it’s only escrow that can protect you

They also offer a hilarious explanation of how Tor works:

1. If you have not done so already, download the Tor Browser . It’s free and protects your privacy by hiding your IP through 3 Proxies and does not leave any traces on your computer about visited sites. You won’t have investigators coming to your door, but if ever that happens they won’t find anything…

Doesn’t leave any traces??  Does it count if I bookmarked your site on the Tor browser?

bitcoin-blockchain-2

Hey, wait a second!  There’s my hitman transaction on the bitcoin blockchain!  Oooops, I left a trace!

And I think the Besa guys need to re-read this and get their facts straight: Tor Project: Overview

Well, if you aren’t convinced yet, Besa Mafia are not the only group on the dark web who claim to be assassins.  There are quite a few others, and just to plead the fifth, I don’t know with absolute certainty that all of them are fake.  They do, however, have several things in common:

cthulhu_Resume

All of these sites claim to offer killings for hefty sums of bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies), and most have a list of whom they will or will not kill.  Or, at the very least, they have much higher prices for, say, someone like a president, prime minister, or secretary of state.  There’s some risk involved, you know!!

Out of all of these, Besa Mafia has to be the corniest one I’ve ever read (in my humble opinion, of course).

unfriendly_solution_

Oh crap – Unfriendlysolution says, “Do not talk about my service in real life or in the clear web.”  Am I screwed now or what?  Hey, I’m giving you free advertising!

Actually, I’ve heard on the dark web that the one above is real, but we all know everyone tells the truth on there, right?  It’s likely that that information may have come from the site owner(s) themselves.

For those who still aren’t convinced that any of these are scams, I’d like to direct you to this flowchart (also courtesy of Pirate dot London):

model-1

I’m still waiting for them to answer my “questions and clarifications.”

Speaking of which, has anyone seen this blog? Fighting Besa Mafia – yeah, it’s written by someone who claims to be “fighting against the Besa-Mafia and the criminal activities carried out by them.”  Excuse me while I stifle my laughter.

I would be shocked, if the blog weren’t every bit as ridiculous as the original Besa Mafia site.  In fact, it looks as if it were made by the same people who created the Besa Mafia site:

fighting_besa_mafia

So, why would the same people try to “fight” their own site?  Simple.  It’s an attempt to lend legitimacy to the organization, and make it sound more like a genuine hitman network.

Besides, would a real hitman whistleblower use Blogspot?

I rest my case.

378862

 

Should I Submit Work to the Torist? YEAH!

Thanks to my friends over at Deepdotweb, I came across the article First Literary Magazine Of the Dark Web Released.  It’s called The Torist, and it’s also been featured in Wired: The Dark Web Has Its Own Lit Magazine   Do you know how thrilled I am about this??

The Torist

This is The Torist’s Tumblr: http://thetorist.tumblr.com – onion address on the front page

For similar reasons as to why author Kari Paul of Vice wrote the article I Bought Adorable Cookies on the Deep Web, I believe The Torist aims to show that there are things other than drugs, hitmen, scams, child pornography (and other such lovely material) on the dark web.

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that much, considering that there are also book clubs on the Tor network, but still, this is right up my alley!!

If you want to access their Tor hidden service, here’s the URL: The Torist on Tor.  I’ve said this before, but the Tor network features many blogs, tech sites, and social networks, beyond all the creepy and illegal stuff.

On the other hand, things like the drugs, red rooms, etc. are the type of juicy material that make tabloid headlines and good creepypastas, so are you really that surprised that that’s what you hear more about?

Being that I write poetry and other literary forms in addition to blogging, this really isn’t much of a stretch for me.  I haven’t had a chance to access The Torist’s onion site yet, but I will as soon as I have the opportunity, believe me!

I’ve been wanting to get more of my writing onto the dark web through whatever avenue possible, anyway.  Here’s my chance, I suppose!

I’ll follow this post up when I actually get around to exploring The Torist a bit more.

In the meantime, readers, keep having your dark web fun…and watch your backs.

41AMUPeZuKL

 

 

 

Avira AntiVir Enhanced Protection = Virus!

 

I use several different computers, and yes, one of them is a PC.  And we all know that PCs tend to get the most malware and spyware.  They’re like the kid who’s always getting sick at school.

sick-computer-graphic

On that particular PC, I couldn’t shell out the cash to buy one of the best antivirus programs (like Kaspersky or Bitdefender), so I went with Avira, since its basic version was free.  It seems to get the job done most of the time (although on every gift-giving holiday, I swear it says, “Get your wife the gift of protection!” – which sounds wrong in so many ways).

Not long ago, I had some kind of “update” window pop up that appeared to be from Avira, and it looked very similar to the one above (but not identical).

Unfortunately, when I clicked on it, it redirected me to a clone Avira site that also looked similar to the real one.

Now, it would be easy to mistake this for the genuine Avira site , but there was another clue that tipped me off.  I would click links on harmless sites like WordPress Stats, and every link would lead me back to the so-called “Avira” site.  The fake site kept badgering me to download their “Pro” version, and did so in such an intrusive way that it didn’t seem real.

I wish I had a screenshot of the fake site just as a warning, but I don’t at the moment.  On the upside, I came across this screenshot of the fake database update window, which is quite similar to the one I saw:

avira-antivir-enhanced-protection-mode-virus-fake-database-update-screenshot

If you click on that, a red window will pop up that looks like this (or similar to it):

avira-antivir-enhanced-protection-mode-virus-window

At first, I admit I had been fooled.  Thus, I attempted to uninstall the real Avira program, thinking that it was just hounding me to do updates, but when I tried to do that, it wouldn’t even let me finish the uninstall process!

The program would get a few seconds into it, and then a window kept popping up that said, “Are you sure you want to uninstall?”  If you clicked yes, that would trigger the same redirect as above.  (That was the final straw, of course!)

Apparently, the malware my computer had “contracted” was called Avira AntiVir Enhanced Protection Mode, which mimics the Avira Antivirus program in quite a few ways, but is quite malicious.  On the bright side, it’s certainly not the worst malware in existence.

Get Rid of It…Please!!

So there are several steps to removing this particular type of malware, which can sometimes get a bit complicated.

If you want to remove it manually, here are two helpful guides: How to Remove Avira AntiVir Enhanced Protection Mode and How To Remove Avira AntiVir Enhanced Protection Mode Virus – Virus Removal.

According to the former:

a. Boot your PC into Safe Mode with Networking first, which prevents AntiVir from running at startup.  It will also make it much easier to delete all of the infected files.

XP: Avira AntiVir Enhanced Protection Mode executable path:

C:DocumentsandSettings%UserName%DownloadOTS.exe

C:Windows1rezerv.exe

C:Windowssystemup.exe

C:Windowssysdriver32.exe

 

Win 7 / Vista: Avira AntiVir Enhanced Protection Mode executable path:

C:Users%User Name%DownloadsOTS.exe

C:Windows1rezerv.exe

C:Windowssystemup.exe

C:Windowssysdriver32.exe

 

b. Browse to the file path locations mentioned above, and rename the files listed. After renaming them, you’ll need to reboot your PC so that you can stop the files from executing. Because they’ll no longer run at startup, it will be much easier to delete them all from your hard drive.

c. When searching for the file paths listed above, sort them by “last date modified,” so that you can easily find the ones that have been infected (and rename them).

d. Using the Windows Task Manager, locate and stop the running processes of the files connected to the Avira Antivir malware.  Select each one and hit “End Task” so that you can delete them easily.

e. Delete all the infected files from your hard drive.  Because you’ve stopped the processes from running, it should now be easy to delete them.

f. Run an antivirus scan to make sure that you’ve removed all the forms of malware that have infected you.  Chances are, other types of malware were included with the AntiVir virus (this is what happened to me!).  Pctechguide.com recommends Spyware Doctor with Antivirus, StopZilla, or Malwarebytes.  Make sure it’s a full system scan, and not the “quick scan” option!

And the Result Is??

I can vouch for the solutions these guys provided, because they worked on my computer – it seems to be running smoothly again!

One question is – where did this virus come from?  I don’t know, but I recall a site that I visited forced me to download a file of some kind, and the malware may have been embedded in that file.  I don’t know this for sure, but it’s reason enough to be more careful.

Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, right?  Well, thanks guys!

And for a bit of nostalgia, here’s the blue screen of death from Windows XP!!

Windows_XP_BSOD

 

 

 

 

Can You Access Tor on iOS Devices?

As M. Bison would say:

утиные-истории-duck-tales-Magica-De-Spell-NSFW-2198641

Thus far on my articles, I’ve mainly talked about Android devices, so maybe I’m showing a little bias.

The answer, of course, is yes! What I don’t know for certain is how good the various iOS apps are, but I can at least share some of the available offerings.

The three most popular apps available from the iTunes Store (at the moment) are called Onion Browser (by Mike Tigas), Red Onion (by Omar Mody), and VPN Browser, (by Art Fusion).

That’s Just, Like…Your Opinion, Man

Lebowski_Landscpe_LR_RUSSIAN

So, all three of these Tor-powered apps have high ratings on the iTunes Store itself, but those can be misleading – after all, the developers could’ve written them, right?

Since I don’t have a lot of personal experience using these apps, I turned to the community to see what they thought.  The site iPhone.informer features reviews of all kinds of different apps.

Even on there, Red Onion seems to have overwhelmingly positive reviews.  Onion Browser, on the other hand, received mixed reviews.  (Many users complained that it crashes frequently, which is also a problem with the desktop version).

As for the VPN Browser, it also has mainly positive reviews, with the exception of one, who said, “Every time I try to watch a video the app crashes.”  I almost never watch videos on Tor anyway, so that doesn’t concern me!

Internet Is Leaking!

What I’ve heard through the grapevine, on articles like The problem behind mobile Tor browsers’ IP disclosure, is that all three of these apps do work well in terms of being user-friendly, but on the downside, I’ve also heard that they have a serious problem with IP leakage (which would defeat the purpose of using them!).

On the plus side, the developers have apparently fixed these errors in more recent versions of Onion Browser and Red Onion.

mobile browsers' IP disclosure

Screenshot: courtesy of xordern.net

Actually, an update to the above post says that the HTML5 multimedia leak and download-related leaks were fixed in later versions – hopefully that’s no longer a problem.

One of the ways in which IP addresses are leaked on mobile devices is via external HTML5 canvas image data, which is essentially what I was referring to in the May I Have Your Browser Fingerprint? post.

The current version of Tor (or the desktop version, at least) now warns you if a URL attempts to do this (Tor users are probably familiar with this message):

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 14.27.28.png

Even if the leak problem is “fixed,” I would still be cautious about using some of these mobile apps to access the Tor network.  There are other methods that can be used to deanonymize users, and the very act of using Tor raises suspicion…

Aww, but I was just looking at pictures of cute cats!! Anyhow, it seems that at the moment, no version of Tor is 100% anonymous, but if you’re careful enough, it may not matter.

Just don’t ask about buying any nuclear missiles, OK?  (I’m serious about that.)

 

 

Zocalo: for All Your Weed Needs!

zocalo_market_weed

Update: I have no idea if this one is an exit scam or not; I’m going purely based on the layout of the site and some of the feedback I’ve heard.  A few people on Reddit were posting “RemindMe! One year – exit scam” links.  So…we shall see!

No, I’m not talking about the Mexican restaurants in this case – although if you buy some of the stuff above, you may suddenly crave Mexican food!

As a matter of fact, a helpful Google+ user informed me that Zocalo is named after the famous business district on Babylon 5.  How very appropriate!!

Zocalo

As darknet markets go, some carry all sorts of goods, but Zocalo (at the moment) specializes in cannabis and hashish. Here’s the URL, for the curious: Zocalo.  It’s a traditional escrow market, and uses an invite/referral system for membership.  (It’s not that difficult to find a referral, actually.)

Although the listings above include such things as “Beverage,” Clothing,” and “Self-Defense,” the most popular sales are still in the cannabis/hash category.  There’s a listing for paraphernalia (bongs, pipes, etc.) as well, but none seem to be available yet.

Because so many of the listings are empty, I’m going to assume that this market is very new.  Perhaps, as more vendors and buyers join, the listings will vary a little more!

As I’d said in a previous post, I haven’t personally tried the marijuana, so I can’t vouch for the quality of that, but I like the site as a whole.  It’s easy to use, and seems relatively straightforward.

You might say that one disadvantage it has, compared to the larger markets like Alphabay, Dream Market, and Valhalla,  is its selection.  If you’re in the market for 420, that’s definitely a good place.  On the downside, it carries no other drug type items (like, for instance, ecstasy or LSD).

On one of my favorite sites, Deep Dot Web: Zocalo, you’ll find a few reviews from people who were apparently customers of the market:

zocalo_market_deepdotweb.png

I’m particularly amused by the “YOU ARE MY ACCET” review.  As for the one at the bottom, “SCAM MARKET ALL USERS ARE ADMINS!” – well, I’m not an admin (I swear), but the reason that so many of the users are admins may simply be because the site is new. Even if you aren’t planning to visit any of these markets, the reviews can be hilarious, by the way.

Of note: weed isn’t the only good for sale on here, it’s just the most popular (by far).  Zocalo also happens to sell books, including some hacking guides, a few sex advice books, and (not surprisingly) books about weed!

By the way, Zocalo also features a messaging service and a forum, which I have yet to try out, but from the glimpse that I got, they looked to be helpful as well. You have to sign up for the forum separately, but it isn’t all that difficult.

Now, as prices go, I haven’t really had the opportunity to compare their marijuana prices against other markets, but I would imagine they’re relatively similar.  I suppose if you’re genuinely interested in purchasing goods from here, it would make sense to comparison shop, so to speak.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any coupons for the place, otherwise I’d certainly offer:

Growpon

Note: This is not a joke.

As the one user on Deepdotweb said above, “This market looks like it has some serious potential.”  And I think it does, too.  At the moment, they merely have a limited selection of goods and vendors.

Well, you know what that means, smokers!  If this is the kind of thing that interests you, head on over there!  (Don’t forget your bitcoin.)

P.S. I may have an update on this later, after I gain a bit more experience.  At first glance, everything looks good.

tumblr_o7ampz27o11v8md15o1_500

 

AlphaBay Market: on the Clearnet?

AlphaBay-Market-Fraud-Listings-1024x557

Well, sort of.  There’s a site by the name of AlphaBay Market | News, Reviews and How to Use AlphaBay that gives information about the infamous market, but you can’t actually buy any products from there.

They do, however, offer a direct link to the actual market that you can access, particularly if you’re viewing it from the Tor browser: AlphaBay Market.  (NOTE: just because I’m offering the link does not mean I advocate buying narcotics; do so at your own risk!!)

In a sense, this site has a few things in common with my friends Deep Dot Web and Dark Web News.  They feature current stories related to Tor and other darknets, such as New Tool Checks to Ensure Darknet Sites are Truly Anonymous.

It also has an AlphaBay Coin Tumbler Guide, which gives a basic explanation of how coin tumblers work, and then promotes itself as a superior coin tumbler to others that offer the same service (one advantage it features is a fixed fee of 0.001 BTC; many other services take 3% or more of each transaction).

There’s a site similar to the AlphaBayMarket.com that exists, called Mr. Squirrel’s Guide to the Agora Marketplace; that market, however, has since closed down.  Some of its former vendors have since opened their own independent shops.

Ironically, as I was in the process of researching this post, the clearnet site shut down; were they having server issues, or is someone spying on me?  (Could be either!) (wink)

In any case, the clearnet site more or less explains how to register for the market, how to use it, and also features a few reviews (mostly positive, of course).  You won’t see this kind of bold darknet market promotion for many of the smaller markets, though.

Why is that?  It may be that the smaller markets don’t have the reputation of ones like AlphaBay, and thus they don’t feel as confident parading their names around the clearnet. Again, however, that’s just conjecture on my part.

On my earlier post Exploring Darknet Markets: One Pill Makes You Larger, I listed a number of the most popular markets and explained a little about them.  Per contra, I didn’t go into much detail about specific markets, because to be honest, I lacked experience in that area.

Later on, I did in fact visit one called Apple Market, and wrote an actual review: Darknet Markets: Apple Market.  As far as I know, that one is still one of the higher rated markets that’s still active.  It works similarly to its competitors: it offers Multi-Sig transactions, and sells quite a few different products – drugs, hacked accounts, iPhones, iPads (hence the name).

There-isnt-drug-category-preview-so-I-took-a-screenshot-of-a-cannabis-category

Though I have visited some more of the markets since then, I will say this straight up: I have never purchased any of their products (check the bitcoin blockchain if you don’t believe me, fellas!).

Still, I find them intriguing for various reasons; I’m interested in the security protocols involved, and also the processes behind running them.  Also, the “dramas” that take place (exit scams, takedowns, etc.) are fascinating.

At the same time, I’m fully aware that it’s a high-risk business, not unlike selling meth on the street (or, take your pick).  In fact, on the abovementioned AlphaBay Market site, they featured a news story entitled Caliconnect, Darknet Market Vendor Busted in CA.

Apparently, Caliconnect (real name David Ryan Burchard) was one of the more high-profile vendors, who had even operated on the notorious Silk Road!  It seems to me that authorities aren’t going to waste their time busting every darknet market vendor.  However, if someone’s as successful as Mr. Burchard in that regard, they’re going to attract attention, and it’s more likely that the feds will want to make an example out of them.

So, readers – once again, I remind you: feel free to explore these markets, but to (mis)quote the old adage:

 

“If you’re playing with bitcoin, you’re gonna get burned!”

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