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FBI Shuts Down Grey Website ‘Silk Road’ and Arrests its Mastermind

Threatpost.com reported on 3rd October, 2013 stating that FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has shutdown the notorious 'Silk Road' underground drug-market and has recently arrested it's alleged owner in San Francisco (US) and charged him not just of illegal distribution of banned drugs like heroin and LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) but also with many online crimes including computer hacking.

The complaint filed by FBI describes Silk Road run by alleged mastermind Ross William Ulbricht, aka, Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR) as an online marketplace bringing together buyers and sellers not only for drugs (narcotics) but also for malware like keyloggers,password crackers, computer Trojans, remote access tools (RAT) and many other pieces of software.

Moreover, Silk Road also advertised for hundreds of services about computer hacking like hacking of social media accounts, and hacking of ATM machines, together with spamming & phishing lists.

And payments for such services were accepted on Silk Road only via Bitcoin currency. Bitcoins are not illegal but they can be used for nefarious purposes. The prosecution alleges that nearly a million registered users spent 9.5 million bitcoins (Approx $1.2 billion at current rates) which generated a commission of 614,304 bitcoins (nearly $80 million) for Silk Road.

During Ulbricht's arrest, law enforcement agencies confiscated 26,000 BTC worth approximately $3.6 and charged him with money laundering offence.

Pcmag.com published news on 3rd September, 2013 quoting a complaint by FBI Special Agent Christopher Tarbel as "Ulbricht operated Silk Road on 'Tor' network which is a special network on the Internet designed to make it practically impossible to physically locate the computers hosting or accessing the websites on the network".

Facilitating the sale of drugs is bad enough from a legal point of view but Ulbricht may face even more serious charges. FBI took him down not only for running the illegal Website but also for conspiring to kill another Silk Road user. Ulbricht is said to have contacted someone through the site and requested to kill a user who supposedly had been gearing to release a list of Silk Road users.

If Ulbricht is found guilty then he may spend quite a long time behind bars.

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