Man Arrested As Underground Site Silk Road Shut Down By FBI

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Man accused of being secretive website founder Dread Pirate Roberts arrested

The infamous Tor-based website, Silk Road, has been shut down by the FBI and a man accused of creating it arrested.

Ross William Ulbricht, was accused of being Dread Pirate Roberts, the man who founded and ran Silk Road, which was famous for selling almost any kind of drug imaginable, as well as porn and hacking services. All transactions were made with Bitcoins, the cryto-currency that promises to keep the identity of users secret.

He was arrested over alleged crimes of narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.

306px-Tor-logo-2011-flat.svgSilk Road downed

Drugs bought and sold on the site include heroin, cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine, according to the indictment.

The site also saw one member of Silk Road hired to murder another who had threatened to release the identities of thousands of users of the service, the indictment said.

It also claimed over 9.5 million Bitcoins had been traded on the site, with 600,000 going to Dread Pirate Roberts and his team. That’s roughly $1.2 billion in sales and $80 million in commission. Ulbricht himself was said to be in possession of 26,000 Bitcoins, worth $3.6 million

Special agent Christopher Tarbell was a key investigator in the case. He claimed in the court filing that as of 23 September, there were nearly 13,000 listings for various kinds of drugs, alongside 801 for digital gear, including keyloggers, remote access Trojans and banking malware.

Agents involved in the investigation made over 100 individual purchases of controlled substances, finding that the purity levels in many were high. They also bought some of the password stealers and remote access tools.

The FBI tracked back early promotion of the site to a single email address before carrying out a surveillance operation on Ulbricht, who was eventually arrested in San Francisco.

Silk Road is down with an FBI message telling visitors the site had been seized.

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