A new website is touting its ability for people to anonymously sell or buy secrets or data in return for Bitcoin payments.
The website, Darkleaks, is being touted as an outlet for whistleblowers as it is “the blackmarket running on the bitcoin block chain for leaking confidential secrets, hollywood movies, software exploits and so on.”
But in reality, Darkleaks could also be used by blackmailers, traitors, malicious leakers, and other less savoury people.
Indeed, Darkleaks could be used to facilitate all kinds of disclosure, positive and negative. It works by offering users a software download (the source code of which can be viewed here).
Once the software is installed, users can then upload the file they want to trade for bitcoins. This could include files, documents, or images, all of which can be viewed by potential buyers browsing the Darkleaks marketplace via the downloaded software.
According to the blog posting about the new website, Darkleaks offers people the ability to “sell and buy information anonymously.”
“Darkleaks is a decentralised blackmarket where you can sell information,” said the blog post. “It has a mechanism for trustless authentication of documents that are being sold through a novel cryptographic mechanism. The authentication is fair, provably fair. Before paying for the file, a random selection of segments are released chosen by the block chain demonstrating the file’s contents match the leaker’s claim.
“The software uses Bitcoin’s block chain to encrypt files which are released when payment is claimed by the leaker,” said the developers. “Files are split into segments and encrypted. These segments are unlocked only when the leaker reveals the key by claiming his Bitcoins. There is no identity, no central operator and no interaction between leaker and buyers.2
And the proof the Darkleak developers have no intention of sticking to the well-intentioned whistleblower route is evidenced by what it lists as can be brought or sold on the website.
One individual has already claimed to be auctioning thousands of passwords and private messages via the site, according to the New Scientist.
So despite the website being touted as a tool for potential whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, it seems that its developers are perfectly happy for it to be used for criminal activity as well.
Governments and businesses could be potential targets, but so are celebrities. Late last month for example, the Twitter and Instagram accounts of pop starlet Taylor Swift was hacked by the infamous hacker group Lizard Squad.
Last year, the FBI investigated the leaking of nude photos of 17 female celebrities, including snaps of Coronation Street sex symbol Michelle Keegan, Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence, Spider-Man star Kirsten Dunst and pop star Ariana Grande.
Presumably, those leaked photos could be easily traded in the Darkleaks website.
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