A Manhattan court convicted Ross Ulbricht, the owner and operator of the deep web site, Silk Road, on all seven counts, including drug trafficking, criminal enterprise, aiding and abetting the distribution of drugs over the internet, computer hacking and money laundering. Dread Pirate Roberts, as he was known down under, faces the possibility of life imprisonment.
The US attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, said Ulbricht’s conviction should send a message to anyone attempting to operate an online criminal enterprise. “The supposed anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield,” he said. Well, maybe, but those doing business in the deep web don’t seem to be getting this message.
I went there this morning to see if there had been any disruptions in business due to this verdict. What I found was that, for the most part, it’s business as usual. Here is what I found for sale this morning on one of the market sites (click to enlarge):
And there are hundreds more ads in the same vein.
No, the deep web denizens seemed to be more interested in the threats by the hacking group, Lizard Squad, to take over the Tor network. This relatively new hacking group has gained a certain notoriety recently when it claimed it had nude pictures of Taylor Swift and had also been behind the bringing down of North Korea’s internet. The Lizard Squad is not respected by deep web hackers, who consider them to be nothing more than a group of mischievous teenage amateurs. They were subsequently attacked by the more ‘sophisticated’ hacking group, Anonymous, who, took them down on January 29th, beginning what is being called, Hacker Wars. Here’s how they announced it on Twitter:
It will be interesting to see how this war plays out.
For now, most of the deep web traders consider Ulbricht to be a hero, and most expect he will eventually be given a light sentence in the retrials. However, no matter what happens, it seems that the deep web will continue to operate with or without him.