The Boys are Back in Town: Deep Web Marketplaces Back Online
While Ross Ulbricht, the accused operator of the first Silk Road Marketplace, remains in trial in New York, a new version of the deep web site, named Silk Road 2.0, has been launched yesterday. The launch was announced through the Twitter account of Dread Pirate Roberts, the pseudonym Ulbricht allegedly used while operating the site.
Figure 1. Twitter announcement of the new Silk Road
The new site has a new login page which parodies the FBI seizure page of the old Silk Road site.
Figure 2. Login page of the new site
According to its new front page, the new Silk Road offers users the additional option of being able to use their PGP keys to secure their communications.
Figure 3. Silk Road main page
In an official announcement published on the Silk Road Forums, a separate site hosted in the TOR network, Dread Pirate Roberts explains that the launch will take place over several days, starting with an initial launch on the 5th of November, and ending on the 9th of November, when the marketplace is supposed to regain full functionality.
Figure 4. Silk Road announcement.jpg
News of the resurrection of Silk Road has been immediately picked up by the mainstream media, with some speculation that the newly launched site may be just a honeypot setup to catch the remaining user base of the old Silk Road.
More Deepweb Marketplaces Online
However, relaunched Silk Road is not alone, as other marketplaces have also sprouted online. A new marketplace, named Pandora, was spotted. According to its creator, Pandora features better security for customers because it has a stronger verification process for sellers and high fees for first time vendors, discouraging possible scammers. Pandora currently has more than 2,000 active users, with most activity revolving around narcotics.
Figure 5. Pandora home page
The Black Market Reloaded, a Silk Road competitor, is also back online after being shut down after the Silk Road arrest. Currently, there are more than 6,000 posts related to narcotics and more than 1,000 posts about services such as coding, hacking, and counterfeiting money or documents.
Figure 6. Black Market Reloaded home page
These marketplace launches and relaunches show just how active and vibrant the deep web is. Such activity is the reason why Trend Micro is actively involved in analyzing and monitoring activities related to the deep web.
Our Forward Looking Threat Research Team recently published a detailed report covering all the technologies related to deep web sites and the kind of transactions that take places, focusing on the kind of goods such as credit cards, counterfeit moneys or e-crime services. You may read the paper, Deepweb and Cybercrime: It’s Not All About Tor.
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