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[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 1/2)
Source | Guestbook Note: Some answers were repetitive, but were not edited out.
Have you ever gotten into legal trouble by exploring the dark places of the internet? Like, "sorry, officer, I was only surfing drug markets and child molester forums for my next journalism piece..." Do you worry about that? Do you have to take extra steps to protect yourself?
I'm very careful not to go anywhere that it is illegal to visit. You will hear loads of stories about how easy it is to "stumble upon" child porn, but the fact is that those sites usually have names like "Preteen cuties" so you know exactly what they are, and in order to access them you have to register. So you have to make a very deliberate choice to log into them. I have no interest whatsoever in viewing any child abuse material, so I don't go into those places. When I was researching The Darkest Web, I went to the discussion forums that didn't allow any images (though they did link to sites that did), and even there I turned off images.
As for the drugs, weapons etc, there is nothing illegal about surfing them and looking around.
I do get a bit nervous every time I visit the US, especially when I was invited to a "friendly" lunch with Homeland Security once (it was reasonably friendly as it turns out, it was also terrifying)
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Why did homeland security want to talk to you?
They said it was about the murder-for-hire stuff, but some of the questions leaned toward something else
Is there anything that really concerns you about the dark web? Some of the things already discussed are beyond barbaric and that is only the stuff that has been found out about and been picked up by the media and your fantastic work. Do you think the public should expect worse and more horrific revelations from the dark web or is it just "more of the same" for lack of a better term and do you think the authorities are getting better in shutting this inhumanity down and catching the people responsible?
I am definitely not against people taking back their online privacy and I actually think that buying drugs from the darknet markets is a safer and more sensible option than buying them from the dodgy dealer down the road. However the one thing that is really disturbing is that the dark web has provided a place for child predators to find each other and form communities where they support and egg each other on. Imagine a few years ago, someone who was into hurtcore could never tell anyone else and would be unlikely to ever come across another person with the same perversions. Now it is as simple as finding the relevant site on the dark web. When there are suddenly hundreds of people who all think and act in the same way, it normlalizes what they are doing.
One of the guys who got caught, Matthew Falder, was a sadist who used to crowdsource "ideas" for torturing the children and teens he was blackmailing into doing heinous things for him online. But apparently he was a "normal" intelligent popular guy
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But how does everyone participate in those illegal sites without getting caught? You said in other comments that you tried to stay away from underaged sites because they were illegal. Can't they be tracked down, even with tor and a vpn? The thing that I don't understand is that even on the dark web people say you should stay away from illegal sites, but how are pedos not getting caught?
they are getting caught, but the way they are getting caught is through painstaking detective work, looking for clues in photos, befriending them online and getting them to reveal things about themselves (what is known as social engineering). It takes a long time and many resources.
I say don't go there because (a) it is illegal and (b) you really shouldn't want to go there
Iirc you attended the trial of the person behind the horrific hurt core website that was exposed a few years back. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that happened during the trial that particularly shocked or horrified you that isn't really public knowledge or talked about? Reactions from the judge or perpetrator during the trial etc. As I remember it the guy was a fairly young loner who lived with his parents but would probably never have been expected to be behind the horrific vile things which he was found to be. Also, how did you get into investigative journalism/writing?
I wrote in one of the other replies above about the little mute girl that has stayed with me. Also, at the insistence of the prosecution, the judge had to watch "Daisy's Destruction" which was a video of torture of a toddler. He put it off for two days and when he came back he was white. He didn't have the sound on, which is considered the worst part, but he still looked shell-shocked. I don't envy him.
I'll cut'n'paste re your last question: I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
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Thanks for the reply.. that really must've been horrific for all involved from investigation to trial and for all of the victims (apart from the scum responsible of course). I guess it would be naive to assume that the end of this site did anything other than drive this depraved community even further underground. That is the part which is really scary to me but I suppose all we can do is have faith that the authorities are always close on the tail. Thank you for your work on reporting on this and raising this stuff more into the public consciousness and making people more aware of what kind of evil still lurks.
It was the most disturbing two days of my life, made all the worse because they read out hours of interactions from the site where the children still had not been identified or the predators caught.
Hurt2theCore was not the last site of its kind and there are still hurtcore sites to this day on the dark web. The one hopeful thing is that there are international task forces that seem to work together really well (unlike when it comes to drugs and every law enforcement agency wants to take the lead and they all withhold info from each other). There are a lot of resources allocated to identifying predators and their victims. Sometimes this has involved some very controversial tactics, such as taking over the sites and letting them run, so that they can use social engineering techniques to identify those who are using the sites and who are actually abusing children
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So daisy's destruction is real? Was it referred to by that name court? I always thought it was a myth
Yes, Daisy's Destruction is real, it was referred to by name in court and the judge had to watch the 12 minutes of it that were hosted on Hurt2theCore.
The "myth" part is that it shows a murder. The toddler, Daisy, lived, though she suffered such horrific injuries she will never be able to bear children. Hopefully she was young enough that she will grow up without the memory.
However, Scully did murder at least one child, whose body was found under the floorboards of his house. it is not known whether he filmed her murder as no video evidence of it has come to light.
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Thanks for answering. I actually watched a really good video on Hurt2theCore on youtube once, I think it was by a guy called Nexpo. It was really detailed and informative about the whole case - I forgot those details. Thanks again for replying, this AMA is really informative!
I think I recall that one, it was from a few years ago.
An excellent podcast that came out recently is "Hunting Warhead", highly recommend a listen. It is a tough listen, but exceptionally well-told and respectfully handled
How do you detach yourself from your work? I'm an investigator for a law firm and I've had a lot of difficult working on wrongful death cases recently. Also, how did you first end up getting published? Any tips for people interested in that field? Thanks!
I don't detach. When I was researching hurtcore, it was harrowing and affected me deeply. Writing that part of the book was a very slow process because I just couldn't be in that headspace for very long at a time. Once the book was written I didn't go back there.
I already had a reputation as a blogger and a freelance journalist when i pitched my book on Silk Road. I got an agent and it was auctioned off, with Pan MacMillan getting the rights. At the time, Silk Road was still going strong, and the book I wrote was about this new frontier of drug dealing that was changing the world. I was writing it "from the inside" as I had been an active part of the community for two years. However, right as I submitted the final manuscript to my publisher, Silk Road was busted and Ross Ulbricht arrested, so i had to quickly change the narrative to a "Rise and Fall" thing!
How many times have you approached law enforcement with information and how many times has the approach resulted in action? and... are there times where you know something nefarious is happening but history and the evidence at hand tells you it's not worth the effort?
There is no point in approaching law enforcement to say "I have come across this site". If I've found it, you can guarantee law enforcement has found it as well.
The only time I've approached law enforcement was when I had information that they did not, which was when a friendly hacker provided me with a back door into the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire site. I got to see all the messages and orders etc. Of course LE knew about the site, but they did not have the details of the people who had hits taken out on them. We tried desperately to tell police in several countries that real people had paid real money to have other real people killed, but they just weren't interested. We sounded like crazy people talking about dark web hitmen, who were scams anyway and nobody was dead, so why should they be interested? They became much more engaged when one of the people WE HAD PREVIOUSLY TOLD THEM ABOUT later turned up dead
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By law enforcement, do you mean only local or else the big agencies? I feel like I wouldn't tell my local police department because they wouldn't really know what to do. It would have to the the bigger agencies.
FBI in US. NCA in UK. AFP in Australia. Nobody was very interested, although the FBI did visit at least one of the targets to let her know she was a target. She still wound up dead
What are some of the most prevalent uses of the dark web that AREN'T all shady and nefarious?
We might be getting into semantics here, but people use Tor, which is the most possible darknet that is used to access the dark web, just for private browsing and ensuring that commercial interests aren't following them everywhere to bombard them with ads for some thing they looked up.
Some of the news organizations have a dark web presence so that whistleblowers can upload information safely. Even the CIA has a site on the dark web so that people can anonymously tip off matters of national security.
Other than that, there are just forums, where you don't have to worry that every single stupid thing you post will be saved in posterity forever, to be trotted out years later when you run for congress or something
After everything you've seen, does anything surprise you anymore or are you just numb to it at this point? Do you think there should be more education/exposure about the dark web than there is now or would that just be counter-productive as people would just find another place to hide? I'm curious to hear any favourite stories about the Psychonauts.
I am not numb and I hope I never become numb. I really don't visit the horrible dark places very often, unless I'm researching something specific, and even then I don't look at pictures or videos. Most of the crime is pretty benign - I'm not fazed by people wanting a safer way to buy drugs.
I think there needs to be ongoing discussions about online activity and its misuse in general, but most crime still happens on the clearnet. The dark web is not nearly as large or prevalent as people fear.
For a long time, a dealer provided free LSD to anyone who wanted it for personal use (ie not sale) and to any organizations who were doing psychedelic therapy.
One psychonaut got busted and spent time in prison... only he still had bitcoin in a wallet and by the time he was released he was a millionaire. He would have just spent it on drugs otherwise :)
I know law enforcement has to delve into the predator side of the dark web. With what you've seen do you think it should be mandatory or an industry standard that law enforcement officials seek professional help? I couldn't imagine investigating that daily and not thinking less of humanity at some point.
I'm pretty sure they do. I worked for Legal Aid for a while, and i know there were pretty strict rules in place for the lawyers who had to defend child abusers.
When I was at the trial for Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, I met a cop whose job it was to watch all the videos and befriend the predators in an attempt to get them to slip up and reveal something of themselves. She said she had a little filing cabinet in her brain where she put all that stuff, and that making an arrest made it all worthwhile. She had made several arrests personally. She was a sex offender's worst nightmare :)
What’s one of your personal favorite investigations and what made it unique for you?
By far the Besa Mafia murder-for-hire case. What made it unique was that, first, I was provided a back door into the Besa Mafia site by a friendly hacker, so i had information that nobody else had. But then I became "friends" for want of a better word with the owner of the site, Yura. Besa Mafia, of course, was not killing anyone, but Yura made a LOT of money scamming would-be murderers out of their money. We entered into a weird relationship over the years where i would report on his activities and he would try every trick under the sun to stop me from doing so, so that he could keep scamming people. He even offered me a job, helping him, because he had become so busy. He also provided me with names and details of people who had hits taken out on them so I could pass them on to law enforcement.
It all became horribly real when one of the people who had a hit put out of them wound up dead. It wasn't Yura of course, but the guy had paid him $13K before giving up on the site and doing it himself. The thing was WE HAD TOLD THE FBI about the hit and the $13K and they visited the victim, but then put it into the too-hard basket when she couldn't think who might have paid that much to kill her.
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Wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Reminds me of an old saying. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
It's a seriously bizarre relationship. When I was hired as a consultant by CBS for a 48 Hours expose on dark web hitmen, he actually agreed to meet me in London. But he thought that CBS was going to advertise his site as the real deal and he got excited and sent them details of two people who had hits put out on them. CBS sent them straight to the police and very shortly after two arrests were made and it was all over the news, where they called his site a scam. Yura got so pissed about it, he never turned up to our meeting. They had even hired an Academy Award-nominated master of disguise makeup artist to disguise him!
are "red rooms" actually a prevalent thing, or just a widespread misconception or rumor? I ask in part because it's very easy to see, for instance, Mexican cartels dismembering people alive, etc, just on the clearnet. Hell, a couple days ago I saw a video posted of a cartel member cutting out a dude's heart while the guy was alive, and he ATE it. He fucking ATE it. So it seems plausible...
The most popular myth of all is Red Rooms, where people – usually women – are tortured to death live on camera while those who have paid to watch type in torture commands in a chat box. Think the movie Hostel, with webcams. In this sense these have never been proven to exist. I get where you are coming from with the cartels, and the recent news item where they found those shipping containers set up with torture rooms freaked me out and made me wonder!
There is some truth to this rumour, but the execution is not like you see in the movies. Most notably, because it involves children, not adults abused on demand for paying pedophiles, but not to the point of death
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The news about those shipping containers really made me speculate, since for every one person who gets caught doing something evil, there must be at least several more people who are very honed in their 'profession' doing the same evil deeds and worse, yet who evade being captured for decades. Anyway, based on morbid things I've seen, karma comes around eventually...
I know, right? It really freaked me out, and then when I read that they already had intended victims for them but the police got to them first and put them in protected custody.. IMAGINE SEEING THOSE PICTURES AND KNOWING YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE IN THEM!! I would retire to a deserted island somewhere
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Your line of work could easily result in something like C-PTSD down the road a little ways. I have a morbid curiosity, and have seen worse than those shipping containers had to offer. I'm sure you have as well. So one more question from you, if you don't mind: what are some proactive approaches to mental health you take to safeguard your sanity?
A lot of wine. Cuddle my dog
Hi, there! This has been fascinating to read; thank you so much for sharing! I'm curious: why do you think so many people who don't want to engage with disgusting and illegal content like hurtcore find it so interesting to read about? Do you have any insight into your readership and the ethics associated with reading about these kind of topics?
I think morbid fascination with the dark is exceedingly common - just look at how many people can't get enough about serial killers! In some ways it is probably a self-defense mechanism - the vast majority of true-crime readers are women. People like to be armed with knowledge. We also like to be spooked and scared.
As for my books, I don't really go into much gory detail, but the horror still shines through
Out of all 9-5 jobs out there, why this? What’s your motive?
I got disenchanted by being a lawyer and I had wanted to be an author since childhood. The lawyering put me in a strong enough financial position that I could quit to do a uni course for a couple of years. My plan was to become a best-selling novelist, but my first chick-lit novel was nothing special. However, during the course, I found I did really well at journalism and was soon making a living as a freelance journo before I finished the course. My first major feature was on the Silk Road drugs market, which I had discovered thanks to a friend who was using it. Once I got in there I became fascinated by everything about it and started contacting the owner, users, vendors etc asking for stories (I was upfront about who I was). I began the first serious dark web blog - allthingsvice.com - and also became the go-to freelancer for Australian dark web stories. Then I pitched my first book and got a healthy advance for it.
I like working for myself, working from home and delving into things. Right now I have my dream job (though it wouldn't hurt to pay a bit more. I'm certainly not making anywhere near what I used to make lawyering, but I make enough to get by and I live pretty simply)
Did you ever do any writing on Brian Farrell and his role in Silk Road 2.0? I was Brian's cellmate for all of 2017 at Sheridan Federal Prison and heard all of his crazy stories. Was just curious as to the validity of them all.
DoctorClu! I did write briefly about him in Silk Road, but it wasn't all positive. I remember being frustrated by the shitshow that was Silk Road 2.0 in the beginning, right after SR1 shut and when DPR2 took off and Defcon got all dramatic. It settled down after a bit and lasted a year, when it was revealed THEY HAD A FUCKING UNDERCOVER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICER ON STAFF THE WHOLE TIME. But yeah, anyhow, they are probably true. I'd love to hear them :)
Was there ever something on the dark web that made you surprised ( in a good way) and smile ?
So many things. Back in the day of the original Silk Road, I became obsessed with the forums, the people behind it, the intelligent discourse about the War on Drugs and philosophy. I found it amusing that drug dealers ran sales and giveaways. There were book clubs and movie clubs.
One of the most important people from that era was Dr Fernando Cauevilla, who became a member of Silk Road as "DoctorX". He was a real doctor who provided genuine, free, non-judgmental advice about drug use to the members of the site. It was quite an amazing time.
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Did Ulbricht get taken down the way we were told in the news? What happened to all the Bitcoins?
His arrest went down the way we were told in the news. How they located the server has never been disclosed (other than a fanciful explanation that NOBODY could believe). This explanation may be tested if Variety Jones runs a Fourth Amendment argument at his trial
The bitcoin in the wallet on Ross' computer was auctioned off by the Feds. He may have other bitcoin wallets stashed somewhere but nobody knows
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Book/movie clubs on the silk road?
Yeah, they would set reading and then everyone would come back and discuss the book, or they would have a time when everyone watched the same movie at the same time and chatted about it in real time
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Haha that's amazing! I don't suppose you remember any of the books in question?
They used to be a lot of philosophy books, especially on agorism. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men was one of the books. I remember V for Vendetta on a movie night
You don't seem to be pushing your most recent project and you're actually answering all the questions people ask, so I've got ask...are you some sort of government plant meant to destabilize reddit? This isn't how AMAs are supposed to work. You come in, you half ass a few questions, hawk whatever you're here to hawk, and then leave after 20 minutes. That's how it's done.
lol I'm a genuine redditor from way back, and I love talking about the stuff I do. I did find that after I answered a question in an AskReddit thread a while back that blew up, the sales followed. But that was organic and I don't think you can force it to happen - Reddit can spot that a mile awy
What are some of the best things about the dark web? And can anyone get on it? Things you can buy that you can’t buy normally online?
I really enjoy some of the forums, especially the psychonaut forums where people who like to trip on psychedelics get together and talk drugs and philosophy. There's a real "be kind to one another" vibe.
Getting on the dark web is easy, but not getting scammed when buying things takes a lot of homework. Yes, you can buy most things, but the most popular things are drugs and digital goods, i.e. things that depend on repeat custom and are easily transferable from seller to buyer
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You're doing the Good Work my man. I'd give you one of those awards if i knew how
What would you define the word "Safe" when it come to the internet (both www and dark web) world and are there any tips that I should follow to keep myself safe?
It really depends on what YOU mean by safe. Tor, which is the darknet that provides access to the dark web will keep you safe from prying eyes and surveillance.
If you mean keep your information safe, the old-fashioned advice is to never reuse your password and to enable 2-Factor authentication wherever you can. Your information is quite likely somewhere on the dark web thanks to high-profile hacks of major organizations, but provided you don't re-use usernames and passwords, you really don't have to worry too much about it.
If you mean keeping yourself and/or any kid safe from predators, the only thing is to ensure you are educated about the approaches and methods they use.
Has Covid affected the Dark Web in any real way? Also I just read through all of the post comments, what incredible story’s. I would totally buy a book about the Silk Road or Yaru!
re covid on the dark web, here's some notes I made for an interview I did recently:
* when Trump first hyped hydroxychloroquine as a potential miracle cure for COVID-19, drug dealers on the dark web seized on the claim.
* Listings quickly popped up on the most popular darknet markets
* A vendor on Whitehouse Market sells 100 Pills for $90, calling it a “Miracle Drug For Coronavirus” and suggesting buyers purchase in bulk to sell at a mark-up locally.
* Another makes the dubious claim “This drug will help people to beat Corona Virus” There are 11 listings on Empire Market currently, although more than half are from the one seller, who is a well-known and trusted vendor on the site.
* There were also people claiming to be selling infected blood or plasma of recovered COVID victims
* The infected blood stuff is just bullshit IMO Just because something is listed doesn’t mean it is genuinely for sale
* There's been some claims to be selling vaccines
* At the beginning there were also loads of listings for PPE
* some just used it as a marketing tactic - “fight off the virus with edible cannabis” or “relax with Xanax” and others as an excuse to raise their prices
* However, sales are low compared to sales of other drugs on the site, so it is difficult to say whether it’s something that will really catch on
* It didn’t take long for complaints to come in and market owners to clamp down on anything claiming to be a miracle cure or vaccine
* users were discouraging other users from profiting off the pandemic and requested markets provide health and safety information
* All the major markets forbid anything being sold as a cure for COVID. They flagged keywords and vendors would be told to take any listings down. They also put out PSAs telling people not to buy
* Monopoly: threatened to ban and.. “You are about to ingest drugs from a stranger on the internet - under no circumstances should you trust any vendor that is using COVID-19 as a marketing tool to peddle already questionable goods”
* It was a business decision. They don’t want anything that will attract attention or that might cause desperate people who wouldn’t normally use the DNMs to find their way there
* The idea behind DNMs generally is educated and responsible drug use. They really don’t want people dying - bad publicity and no repeat custom
* However the dark web is rife with scammers and people willing to prey on the desperate so there are still scams out there
* The only way I could ever see it becoming a thing is if there is a well-known potential cure/vaccine that is not being made widely available and could plausibly find its way onto the black market
Hi Eileen :) My question is about how you construct your Casefile episodes - I assume there is an extensive amount of outlining but do you write the final draft like a script specifically thinking about his voice? And about how long are they as far as - for example - does one hour equal 50-60 pages? Thank you.
I initially write them as if I'm writing an article or book, but then go back and edit them to be read out and yes, when I do that, I do have his voice in my head lol. One episode is usually around 12,000 words. It then goes to another editor who edits the episode to be even more "casefileaa' before it finally goes to Casey
Have you been exposed to things in your investigations that have made you second-guess what you do? If so, what has made you keep going back?
i've definitely had days where I question everything, but to be honest, I don't really hang around the horrible really dark places much. I did delve into the child predator forums when I was writing The Darkest Web, but I don't make it a habit to go there. The psychonauts are much more friendly
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To continue with that- have you clicked images, links that make you a suspect in certain scenarios?
Oh absolutely. Sometimes I go to a "Fresh Onion" site, which is a site that crawls all the .onion addresses (dark web URLs end in .onion rather than .com, org etc) and alerts you to any new ones. Sometimes they don't have any description, so you take a big risk clicking on any of those. The most dangerous button on the dark web is the "Random Onion" button, so I avoid that.
I'm pretty careful about what I click, but the moment something looks questionable I nope the fuck right out of there
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Have you ever felt that you may be a suspect whether it be ok a drug site, a pedo site, etc. Have you ever been contacted by someone regarding your surfing habits?
Well my actual surfing habits are protected by Tor, which means they are hidden from prying eyes, so no I haven't been contacted about them. I am very open on the dark web about who I am and what I'm doing there - I use the name OzFreelancer on all of the markets and forums. I don't go to the sites that host child abuse images - you can't un-see that shit and I don't need it in my head.
As noted in another reply, I was contacted by Homeland Security on one of my visits to the US and taken for a "friendly" lunch.
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Psychonauts are more friendly than most people. Something about regular mind altering experiences makes you want to be less of a cunt.
Yeah, I call The Majestic Garden a little corner of sunshine and rainbows on the dark web :)
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More about The Majestic Garden please? What is grown there?
It's a place where people talk about and source psychedelics - most notably LSD, the 2C family, DMT and MDMA. Talk about and sourcing harder drugs is forbidden. In fact the admins snuck in an autocorrect so that any time someone wrote the word "cocaine" it would post as "a raging hardon" :D
Do you fear that seeing all this stuff might turn you emotionally blunt? I'm not watching any of this stuff on purpose (even the clearnet stuff), because I fear that the more you see of it, the more normal it gets, and ultimately, the more it will fuck you up. To quote the movie 8mm... "If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you."
No, I can't even watch "3 Guys 1 Hammer" in its entirety, let alone look at the really dark materials on the dark web. When I was researching The Darkest Web, going into the predator forums did the opposite of making me blunt. It was the shortest section of the book but took the longest to write because it was so emotionally draining
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I have to ask, what is "3 Guys 1 Hammer"?
It's a video of two teenagers murdering an innocent man with a hammer that went viral on the gore sites of the regular internet. It's truly horrible.
The teens killed over 20 people. I wrote about them in my book Psycho.com (excuse the plug)
I heard somewhere that you foster dogs. Is that something you do to counter all the terrible humans you encounter in your research - everyone knows how dogs are better than people. How many dogs have you fostered and which one was your favourite?
After my dog died I knew I didn't want to have another dog as I wanted to travel more. So I thought fostering dogs would be the answer as you give them love for a few weeks and then they go to their forever home. My first foster, Roy, was a big fat failure and now he lives here and sleeps in our bed and is the most spoiled dog alive
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Did you then just decide to quit travelling? I don't know anything about Roy, but I already think I love him.
Nah, he has family he can stay with when I go away, but any major travelling has been thwarted by COVID for now anyway. I'm in a hard lockdown city.
And I'm sure Roy would love you too, u/suckmyhugedong
Given how much you know about the dark web, what kind of crazy awful nightmares have you had? This could be a really good one. Thank you
Probably the worst thing was delving into the forums where child predators gathered. I never looked at any videos or photos, but just seeing their discussions sickened me. The one thing that keeps coming back to me came out of the sentencing hearing that I attended of Lux, owner of Hurt2theCore, considered the most heinous website in history. In court they read out a conversation between him and an abuser who made videos of torture of the mute disabled child in his care. They were joking "at least she won't be able to tell anyone" . the abuser wasn't caught, at least by that stage
As an indie author, how have you sourced freelancers? Did you seek out those that have specific expertise or did you work with editors from your time as a traditionally published author?
I learned to do everything myself before I started outsourcing.
I work with a professional editor who happens to be a friend of mine from back when we did a writing course together. I've been doing my own covers, but now that I have some royalties coming in, I've engaged a professional cover artist from Reedsy to develop a brand and more professional-looking covers for me. It is the hardest thing to find people you really want to work with and who are in budget.
I still haven't got the hang of email lists, newsletters or a website - they are all in a total mess at the moment and I'd love to find someone who can do them, but again it is that problem of finding the right person who is within budget
is it true that most of the internet is in the "dark web"? if so about how much percent is it?
By far the biggest myth is that it 10x larger than the Internet. I mean, this should be common sense anyway, but it gets propagated by tabloid media all the time. It stems a lot from people using the terms "deep web" and "dark web" interchangably when they are different things.
The statement that 90% (or thereabouts) of the internet is hidden is true, and it is called the deep web (not the dark web). The 90% that is hidden is all those pages you won’t get to using google or any other search engines. There’s nothing scary about that – in fact it works in your favour.
The easiest example is your bank. The bank’s major page is available to anyone who searches the web (part of the 10%, also known as the “clearweb”). But once you log in, all those pages you can access that contain your personal details? Not searchable on google. Each one of those pages is part of the 90% of the deep web. Business and government intranets also make up part of the deep web. Honestly, it’s nothing to worry about.
The dark web – the hidden services available through Tor and other anonymising programs – makes up a tiny fraction of the deep web. A really, really tiny fraction. It is infinitely smaller than the clearweb.
Do you think human trafficking happens on the dark web? Last year (I think) there was a really bizarre story here in the UK about a model who was supposedly kidnapped to order, drugged and transported overseas by a group called "Black Death". The official story is that BD doesn't exist, and the kidnapper was a fantasist. Is it likely that humans are bought and sold into slavery over the dark web?
There are no slick websites with auctions for slaves on the dark web, but I have no doubt that human traffickers use dark web encryption to communicate.
(here comes the second plug for the thread) - I wrote about the kidnap of Chloe Ayling and the Black Death Group in Murder on the Dark Web
What ever happened to the plural of mongoose storyline? it seems like after he was arrested in the united states, his case just fizzled away. did you ever find out any more information about yuri after he cancelled the interview with a news program? what happened with peter scully's case? i read that there was a fire where a lot of evidence against him was held and it all went up in smoke. are there any character and/or personality storylines that you feel haven't been told or are still a complete mystery? eg. tony76
1. He is still in the MCC in NY and awaiting trial. It has taken a long time because he had terrabytes of information to go through and things would have slowed down due to covid. I understand he is running the Fouth Amendment argument that Ulbricht probably should have run in the first place
2. I last heard from Yura just a few weeks ago. He is still scamming. There are some more programs in the works about him
3. Yes there was a very convenient fire, but he still got sentenced to life and i hope he rots in hell
4. I am madly curious to know what is happening with the extradition of James Ellingson, aka “MarijuanaIsMyMuse”, aka "redandwhite", MAYBE aka Tony76. I would LOVE to know that full story!
the below is a reply to the above
Wow, this shit is a blast from the past. I used to love following the darknetmarket drama. Did you write about PoM and tony76 in one of your books? Ever since reddit shut down /darknetmarket I've been out of the loop.
I was in touch with PoM/Mongoose when he went on a posting rampage on MyPlanetGanja, then visited him in Bangkok prison several times. Wrote all about it :)
This may have been answered by a previous post pertaining to native language barriers to specific sites on the dark web, but in your investigations, did you come across content/pages/forums from warzones? Middle East, Burma, Afghanistan, etc? If yes, what was the most memorable bit?
There are loads of sites in foreign languages, but it is too difficult for me (a one-language numpty) to attempt to translate through AI, and it is not worth hiring a translator when they could just turn out to be Cat Facts
Bitcoin 11 Years - Achievements, Lies, and Bullshit Claims So Far - Tooootally NOT a SCAM !!!!
That's right folks, it's that time again for the annual review of how Bitcoin is going: all of those claims, predictions, promises .... how many have turned out to be true, and how many are completely bogus ??? Please post / link this on Bitcoin (I am banned there for speaking the truth, so I cannot do it) ... because it'a way past time those poor clueless mushrooms were exposed to the truth. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the Bitcoin's Achievements, Lies, and Bullshit Claims So Far ... . Bitcoin Achievements so far:
It has spawned a cesspool of scams (2000+ shit coin scams, plus 100's of other scams, frauds, cons).
Many 1,000's of hacks, thefts, losses.
Illegal Use Cases: illegal drugs, illegal weapons, tax fraud, money laundering, sex trafficking, child pornography, hit men / murder-for-hire, ransomware, blackmail, extortion, and various other kinds of fraud and illicit activity.
Legal Use Cases: Steam Games, Reddit, Expedia, Stripe, Starbucks, 1000's of merchants, cryptocurrency conferences, Ummm ????? The few merchants who "accept Bitcoin" immediately convert it into FIAT after the sale, or require you to sell your coins to BitPay or Coinbase for real money, and will then take that money. Some of the few who actually accept bitcoin haven't seen a customer who needed to pay with bitcoin for the last six months, and their cashiers no longer know how to handle that.
Contributing significantly to Global Warming.
Wastes vasts amounts of electricity on useless, do nothing work.
Exponentially raises electricity prices when big miners move into regions where electricity was cheap.
It’s the first "currency" that is not self-sustainable. It operates at a net loss, and requires continuous outside capital to replace the capital removed by miners to pay their costs. It’s literally a "black hole currency."
It created a new way for people living too far from Vegas to gamble all their life savings away.
Spawned "blockchain technology", a powerful technique that lets incompetent programmers who know almost nothing about databases, finance, programming, or blockchain scam millions out of gullible VC investors, banks, and governments.
Increased China's foreign trade balance by a couple billion dollars per year.
Helped the FBI and other law enforcement agents easily track down hundreds of drug traffickers and drug users.
Wasted thousands if not millions of man-hours of government employees and legislators, in mostly fruitless attempts to understand, legitimize, and regulate the "phenomenon", and to investigate and prosecute its scams.
Rekindled the hopes of anarcho-capitalists and libertarians for a global economic collapse, that would finally bring forth their Mad Max "utopia".
Added another character to Unicode (no, no, not the "poo" 💩 character ... that was my first guess as well 🤣)
Provides an easy way for malware and ransomware criminals to ply their trade and extort hospitals, schools, local councils, businesses, utilities, as well as the general population.
~~Bitcoin is "striking fear into the hearts of bankers, precisely because Bitcoin eliminates the need for banks. ~~, Mark Yusko, billionaire investor and Founder of Morgan Creek Capital, https://www.bitcoinprice.com/predictions/
"A bitcoin miner in every device and in every hand."
"All the indicators are pointing to a huge year and bigger than anything we have seen before."
"Bitcoin is communism and democracy working hand in hand."
"Bitcoin is freedom, and we will soon be free."
"Bitcoin isn't calculated risk, you're right. It's downright and painfully obvious that it will consume global finance."
"Bitcoin most disruptive technology of last 500 years"
"Bitcoin: So easy, your grandma can use it!"
"Creating a 4th Branch of Government - Bitcoin"
"Future generations will cry laughing reading all the negativity and insanity vomited by these permabears."
"Future us will thank us."
"Give Bitcoin two years"
"HODLING is more like being a dutiful guardian of the most powerful economic force this planet has ever seen and getting to have a say about how that force is unleashed."
"Cut out the middleman"
"full control of your own assets"
"reduction in wealth gap"
"cannot print money out of thin air"
"Why that matters? Because blockchain not only cheaper for them, it'll be cheaper for you and everyone as well."
"If you are in this to get rich in Fiat then no. But if you are in this to protect your wealth once the current monetary system collapse then you are protected and you'll be the new rich."
"Theres the 1% and then theres the 99%. You want to be with the rest thats fine. Being different and brave is far more rewarding. No matter your background or education."
"NO COINERS will believe anything they are fed by fake news and paid media."
"I know that feeling (like people looking at you as in seeing a celebrity and then asking things they don't believe until their impressed)."
"I literally walk round everyday looking at other people wondering why they even bother to live if they don't have Bitcoin in their lives."
"I think bitcoin may very well be the best form of money we’ve ever seen in the history of civilization."
"I think Bitcoin will do for mankind what the sun did for life on earth."
"I think the constant scams and illegal activities only show the viability of bitcoin."
"I think we're sitting on the verge of exponential interest in the currency."
"I'm not using hyperbole when I say Satoshi found the elusive key to World Peace."
"If Jesus ever comes back you know he's gonna be using Bitcoin"
"If this idea was implemented with The Blockchain™, it would be completely flawless! Flawless I tell you!"
"If you're the minimum wage guy type, now is a great time to skip food and go full ramadan in order to buy bitcoin instead."
"In a world slipping more and more into chaos and uncertainty, Bitcoin seems to me like the last solid rock defeating all the attacks."
"In this moment, I am euphoric. Not because of any filthy statist's blessing, but because I am enlightened by own intelligence."
"Is Bitcoin at this point, with all the potential that opens up, the most undervalued asset ever?"
"It won't be long until bitcoin is an everyday household term."
"It's the USD that is volatile. Bitcoin is the real neutral currency."
"Just like the early Internet!"
"Just like the Trojan Horse of old, Bitcoin will reveal its full power and nature"
"Ladies if your man doesnt have some bitcoin then he cant handle anything and has no danger sex appeal. He isnt edgy"
"let me be the first to say if you dont have bitcoin you are a pussy and cant really purchase anything worldwide. You have no global reach"
"My conclusion is that I see this a a very good thing for bitcoin and for users"
"No one would do such a thing; it'd be against their self interests."
"Ooh lala, good job on bashing Bitcoin. How to disrespect a great innovation."
"Realistically I think Bitcoin will replace the dollar in the next 10-15 years."
"Seperation of money and state -> states become obsolete -> world peace."
"Some striking similarities between Bitcoin and God"
"THANK YOU. Better for this child to be strangled in its crib as a true weapon for crypto-anarchists than for it to be wielded by toxic individuals who distort the technology and surrender it to government and corporate powers."
"The Blockchain is more encompassing than the internet and is the next phase in human evolution. To avoid its significance is complete ignorance."
"The bull run should begin any day now."
"The free market doesn't permit fraud and theft."
"The free market will clear away the bad actors."
"The only regulation we need is the blockchain."
"We are not your slaves! We are free bodies who will swallow you and puke you out in disgust. Welcome to liberty land or as that genius called it: Bitcoin."
"We do not need the bankers for Satoshi is our saviour!"
"We have never seen something so perfect"
"We must bring freedom and crypto to the masses, to the common man who does not know how to fight for himself."
"We verified that against the blockchain."
"we will see a Rennaisnce over the next few decades, all thanks to Bitcoin."
"Well, since 2006, there has been a infinite% increase in price, so..."
"What doesn't kill cryptocurrency makes it stronger."
"When Bitcoin awake in normally people (real people) ... you will have this result : No War. No Tax. No QE. No Bank."
"When I see news that the price of bitcoin has tanked (and thus the market, more or less) I actually, for-real, have the gut reaction "oh that’s cool, I’ll be buying cheap this week". I never knew I could be so rational."
"Where is your sense of adventure? Bitcoin is the future. Set aside your fears and leave easier at the doorstep."
"Yes Bitcoin will cause the greatest redistribution of wealth this planet has ever seen. FACT from the future."
"You are the true Bitcoin pioneers and with your help we have imprinted Bitcoin in the Canadian conscience."
"You ever try LSD? Perhaps it would help you break free from the box of state-formed thinking you have limited yourself..."
"Your phone or refrigerator might be on the blockchain one day."
The banks can print money whenever they way, out of thin air, so why can't crypto do the same ???
Central Banks can print money whenever they way, out of thin air, without any consequences or accounting, so why can't crypto do the same ???
It's impossible to hide illegal, unsavory material on the blockchain
It's impossible to hide child pornography on the blockchain
All Bitccoins are the same, 100% identical, one Bitcoin cannot be distinguished from any other Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin can only go up because of scarcity / 21 million coin limit. (Bitcoin is open source, anyone can create thir own copy, and there are more than 2,000+ Bitcoin copies / clones out there already).
immune to government regulation
"a world-changing technology"
"a long-term store of value, like gold or silver"
"To Complex to Be Audited."
"Old Auditing rules do not apply to Blockchain."
"Old Auditing rules do not apply to Cryptocurrency."
Bitcoin now at $16,600.00. Those of you in the old school who believe this is a bubble simply have not understood the new mathematics of the Blockchain, or you did not cared enough to try. Bubbles are mathematically impossible in this new paradigm. So are corrections and all else", John McAfee, 7 Dec 2017 @ 5:09 PM,https://mobile.twitter.com/officialmcafee/status/938938539282190337
2013-11-27: ""What is a Citadel?" you might wonder. Well, by the time Bitcoin became worth 1,000 dollar [27-Nov-2013], services began to emerge for the "Bitcoin rich" to protect themselves as well as their wealth. It started with expensive safes, then began to include bodyguards, and today, "earlies" (our term for early adapters), as well as those rich whose wealth survived the "transition" live in isolated gated cities called Citadels, where most work is automated. Most such Citadels are born out of the fortification used to protect places where Bitcoin mining machines are located. The company known as ASICminer to you is known to me as a city where Mr. Friedman rules as a king.", u/Luka_Magnotta, aka time traveler from the future, 31-Aug-2013, https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1lfobc/i_am_a_timetraveler_from_the_future_here_to_beg/
2018-12: Listen up you giggling cunts... who wants some?...you? you want some?...huh? Do ya? Here's the deal you fuckin Nerds - Butts are gonna be at30 grandor more by next Christmas  - If they aren't I will publicly administer an electronic dick sucking to every shill on this site and disappear forever - Until then, no more bans or shadow bans - Do we have a deal? If Butts are over 50 grand me and Lammy get to be mods. Deal? Your ole pal - "Skully"u/10GDeathBoner, 3-Feb-2018 https://www.reddit.com/Buttcoin/comments/7ut1ut/listen_up_you_giggling_cunts_who_wants_someyou/
2018-12: "Bitcoin could be at$40,000by the end of 2018, it really easily could", Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, ex-hedge fund manager of the Fortress Investment Group and a longstanding advocate of cryptocurrency, 21-Sep-2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lC1anDg2KU
2018-12: Bitcoin will end 2018 at the price point of$50,000, Ran Neuner, host of CNBC’s show Cryptotrader and the 28th most influential Blockchain insider according to Richtopia,https://www.bitcoinprice.com/predictions/
SPOILERS [S3E10] The loop of Elliot "saving the company / stopping the hack" in S1E1, the logistics "mirage" of S3, and Hot Carla's take on Elliot in Red Wheelbarrow
SUMMARY - When Elliot is heralded as a hero for "saving" something, he is actually hacking and/or destroying it, and the pattern continues. This premise builds Elliot's loops, hacks, and undo/restarts, and he's not done. Here is what I think really happened in S3 and where things will go in S4. Like Tyrell said, "old habits, they die hard". Remember the pilot where everyone on the show congratulated Elliot for "saving the company" (Allsafe) and "stopping the hack" (ecorp)? Elliot was heralded as being a savior for stopping the big hack, when in fact he was starting another hack that would later end Allsafe and severely damage ecorp. Elliot's trip to the Dulles server farm to stop the big ecorp hack was the cover he used, and that is where he actually planted the .dat file, right in front of us, under our noses, that would later be exploited. https://www.usanetwork.com/mrrobot/timeline-gallery/mr-robot-season-1-easter-eggs Elliot's actions and patterns throughout the series mirror the rootkit that was the cause of that big ecorp hack of the pilot, with Elliot as the rootkit physically and digitally. E: I think they got a rootkit sitting inside the servers. A: What's a rootkit? L: ...it's a malicious code that completely takes over their system. It could delete system files, install programs, - viruses, worms - A: How do we stop it? E: That's the thing, it's fundamentally invisible. You can't stop it. L: All of their servers are timing out. None of them are coming back up. This means every time we restart a server the virus replicates itself during boot-up, then crashes the host. L: How are we supposed to bring up the network if we can't restart the servers? E: We can't, which is what they wanted. By defending ourselves, we ended up spreading the virus everywhere. This kind of deceptive loop of Elliot taking action to "save" something, and TELLING US he is saving something, while he is doing something entirely different is a pattern for him, and is augmented by the fact that Elliot TELLS US he hacks everyone and lies to us, so we do know that is one truth of the show....Elliot HACKS and LIES. We see Elliot do this with Stage 2, where only he knows the whole plan and Tyrell/Darlene are left wondering what is happening, even though they are both working for Elliot. We see it with Elliot's Stage 3 fakeout to own the Dark Army. To continue that pattern, we see Elliot take control of the ecorp logistics system under the guise of creating a "paper record mirage" to keep the paper records from being blown up by his own work (allegedly as Mr. Robot) in Stage 2, in which Elliot ended up "failing". But that isn't the ONLY result of that hack. Here is what I believe really happened. Remember that at the fancy dinner attended by Zhang/WhiteRose and Price in S3E6-7, Zhang/WR assigned a task to Price: shipping her project to the Congo using ecorp's logistics system. The very same logistics system we saw Elliot own when he started working at ecorp.....and STILL OWNS in the S3E10 finale. Elliot needed to own ecorp's logistics system and make it seem like he had a purpose for it other than his goal later on, much like his trip to the Dulles server farm in the pilot, for a later move and payout. In the case of the logistics system, Elliot needed it as the first part of his plan to get to the side of WhiteRose, since he is the ONLY PERSON who can bust through the logistics issue of getting her project to the Congo. We don't know yet HOW Elliot knows WR will want to move her project to the Congo or how long he might have known of it (possibly since childhood if he got wind of it when visiting his dad at ecorp, which we were subtly told he did in S2E6's scene w/young Elliot and Edward in the car outside the Mr. Robot store), or if he knows because he is working fowith another high-level player (like Price) that hasn't been disclosed yet, so this will need to be addressed in S4, but Elliot knows WR has a project to move to the Congo before he hacks the DA. Back to the point, this logistics move only gets Elliot one-third the way there. Unfortunately, this means Elliot has to produce another set of circumstances that will challenge the shipping of WR's project to the Congo. What is that block? MARTIAL LAW. Martial law circumvents a lot of current DA operatives and bribes because there are a new set of players/rules/circumstances put into effect that are too new and numerous for the DA to get control of quickly enough to overcome this obstacle. Why is there martial law in effect? Because the 71 buildings blew up. Unpleasant as it is to think about, Elliot needed those 71 buildings to blow in order to create the martial law situation, so I believe that no matter what any form of Elliot told us, we were witnessing a loop similar to the pilot hack. I believe that Elliot was NOT trying to actually stop the buildings from blowing at all, but had another agenda that needed to be started under cover of the hoodie-clad rioter chaos (and I don't think those rioters in HOODIES were any coincidence, especially on the only ecorp workday where Elliot NEVER took his hoodie off....) in the main ecorp building, and completed in the 2nd ecorp building that he snuck into after the chaos of the bomb threat that he called in, after he was fired and his access to ecorp allegedly revoked (providing a cover story and plausible deniability for Elliot should anyone suspect or try to pin things on him). What Elliot did there has yet to be revealed, but I strongly suspect that he owned ECOIN and perhaps something else that we haven't yet seen...possibly the new technology prototype that Tyrell spoke of in his "prep for Price pitch" that we saw in S1E3", possibly WHITEROSE'S PROJECT. Whatever it is, I believe we are due for another big ecorp hack reveal in S4. So while Elliot kept our confidence and sympathy, and earned the sympathy of Darlene and Angela in his apparently valiant attempts to stop his own Stage 2 plan, I believe that Elliot NEEDED Stage 2 to happen exactly as it did....with the full force of the Dark Army taking out the 71 buildings....because this series of events facilitated martial law being imposed and allowed Elliot to own one or more things that haven't yet been revealed. Without the martial law blockade, Elliot cannot get to the side of WhiteRose with his "miraculous save" that he offered - and apparently delivered - at the end of S3. And creating a plan that one DELIBERATELY SABOTAGES is an EXCELLENT way to trace response preparedness/power pathways/players and test loyalties along the way, which is exactly what Elliot did with Stage 2 and in S3. We got a small-scale sample of that when Elliot was released from prison in S2 and wanted Cisco to arrange a meet with Xun, where Elliot asked about Stage 2. I believe Elliot knew full well what Stage 2 was (despite what he told us), thus causing intended confusion among the players ("this will get them talking"). Sam Esmail and the cast mentioned over and over that loyalty was a key theme in S3, and indeed it was. In the end of S3, Elliot has much more information about players, pathways, and the bottom line of the desires/motivations/loyalties of people in his realm, including Angela and Darlene. There was one more component to Elliot's solution to WhiteRose, which was the Stage 3 deception that he already admitted to us was a ruse to own the DA. Elliot still owns everything DA at the end of S3, they have no time/way to recover before the end of the season, and he impresses WR enough that she sacrifices Grant to keep Elliot around, which is exactly where Elliot wants to be. Elliot's attempts to "save" something literally blow up....but I believe those were the intended consequences the whole time. We hear Elliot and Mr. Robot occasionally comment over the 3 seasons about casualties, persistence, the losses, and the cost to get to that point, especially in their last subway conversation of S3. And in that conversation, we HEAR Elliot literally say that he did all this "for ME...I'm doing this FOR ME." That line is classic Mr. Robot, because even though Elliot tells Mr. Robot/us DIRECTLY that he did all this for himself, the context used to frame up what he did and why he did it, and the brilliant acting of Rami Malek that imbues those words with such pained sincerity, leave us feeling like Elliot really wants to try to fix things by undoing the hack. So at the end of S3, we see Elliot send the encryption key to some general ecorp address. But, as many posters here have written, and the Parsons-educated prostitute notes in the post-credit scene of S3, undoing the hack will not be beneficial, and will make things worse. As smart and thorough as Elliot is, I believe he already knows this, I don't think he is in any way ignorant of that fact. Not sure exactly what he has in store, but I'm guessing it isn't what he told us in S3. If Elliot owns Ecoin, he could lock up all the wallets (like we saw with Ray's situation of S2) and then restore debt with the ecorp records, inciting outrage among the masses as they would have no access to money. Whatever it is, it will probably be the fuel to fire a full-scale revolution that Mr. Robot told us about in the pilot, especially since Elliot has even more ways to kill the public's confidence in ecorp, which is so deeply embedded in the world's economy that destroying it will rouse the whole world to revolution. Side note - I also think that between Elliot's "metadata" hack of the FBI of S3E4 and the access to FBI's Sentinel that Elliot was literally given (by Dom, under protest) as a way to get the encryption keys (which he had the whole time...and I believe he knew it), Elliot probably owns SENTINEL. Sentinel is a key database not just for the FBI, but NSA and the CIA as well, so if Elliot owns that, he is much closer to god access than he ever was before. I believe that Elliot had his "key" plan in motion and spotlighted Romero as the pathway to get into Sentinel under the guise of trying to find the encryption keys, which would also support the idea that many folks have had on the sub, that Elliot is ultimately responsible for Romero's death. And let's not forget that last we knew, Elliot still owned Vera's whole operation, we never saw him actually turn anything over to the authorities...that was just dropped. Vera also showed back up in the post-credit scene of S3, so will be very interesting to see where that leads in S4. So by the end of S3, Elliot STILL owns ecorp, as he has since S1, and has increased his access there, and he likely owned Ecoin before S3 ever ended right under our noses. Elliot still owns the DA. Elliot likely owns Sentinel. Elliot may well still own Vera's operation, maybe he has also procured funds/resources from other criminals he turned in before he turned them in (I think he was creating the problems for Ray's site/hot-cold wallet system that caused Ray to seek out Elliot's help in prison, and I'm betting Elliot might still have some of that bitcoin). Elliot might even own WR's project, or be positioning himself to do that (even if WR suspects that is what Elliot will do, which she has to at this point). And Elliot managed to own ALL OF THIS while telling and/or showing us he was doing something different, or for a different purpose than he said he was doing it, just like he did in the pilot. So Elliot is repeating his loops and starting new ones, going back to the beginning. As the S3 finale title command told us...."shutdown -r"....shutdown and restart...just like the rootkit from the pilot, spreading the virus everywhere. On to HOT CARLA. In the companion book RED WHEELBARROW, Hot Carla heralds and admires Elliot, writing about how he changed the world for the better, essentially "saving" it (in the past tense). We don't know yet exactly what Hot Carla defines as changing the world "for better" or why she regards Elliot as a savior, and it might actually line up with something Elliot did. It is possible that Hot Carla might want to see the world burn since she is a pyro who has apparently led a life filled with challenges and "saves" books by burning them. But if the pattern Elliot has demonstrated time and time again holds true, then it is likely that Elliot's "changing the world for the better" or "saving the world" is similar to Elliot "saving Allsafe", which resulted in Allsafe's total destruction, and "stopping the ecorp hack", in which Elliot was hobbling ecorp and just getting started.... ETA: Another point to consider is why Elliot is using complicated, convoluted routes to get to his end goals, and thanks to u/bwandering for bringing up some specific questions on this here. If we follow the patterns of the show so far, we see people going to great lengths to avoid being spied on and followed. Angela zig-zags her way across town to meet with Darlene in the smart house in S2. We watch Darlene get on/off the same subway train or go to a different car to avoid followers. The DA drives Darlene and Trenton by limo to Cisco in S1 even though Darlene knows full well where he lives. Tasks are also separated and delegated, with no one having the full picture of what is going on except Elliot (even if he tells us he doesn't know), and introducing middlemen where it doesn't even seem they are really necessary, like Cisco. The convoluted route as cover for a plan so complex would be necessary so that no one could track or anticipate where Elliot or his project are going and keep him separated from evidence and interference. The show has even followed that route, giving us scenes out of order, leaving things ambiguous and not sure where things are going while Elliot is moving forward with his plans, even while in jail, while we try to keep up. This is why I believe the indirect, complex routes are chosen, as cover. I have written before about things related to these ideas in other posts and comments, but I wanted to update and pull it together here heading toward S4. I know thinking of Elliot doing these kinds of things can be unpleasant (going to apologize in advance to u/The_Firmament and u/yeswithanh) because they are NOT attractive prospects. This character who is so near and dear to us, whose pain and loneliness we see - and which I do think is real, BTW, because you can't be that calculating of a person and take all those actions and be mentally healthy - seems to still be hacking the world and hacking us, and, as Elliot told us, "even if it's him (Mr. Robot), it's ME". In fact, Elliot is SO GOOD at hacking people, that despite him telling and showing us what he is doing over and over, telling us that he lies and hacks everyone, we still root for him. We still feel for him. We still care for him. We still BELIEVE him. We want him to succeed in his battle with himself and take down the top 1% if 1%, even when he IS the one playing god without permission. It mirrors Elliot's hack of Krista where he literally tells her he hacks her and everyone else, yet because of how he related to her in his "just like me" expressions of loneliness, and how expertly he hacked and pivoted the Lenny Shannon situation to his advantage so that Krista would process that information/hack as Elliot being protective of her, she gives Elliot a pass AND continues to be his therapist. By the time we get to the end of S3 where we see the Mr. Robot persona literally confess Elliot's involvement in the 5/9 hack and the 71 buildings blowing, KRISTA DOES NOT BELIEVE THE CONFESSION. Says it sounds like delusions of grandeur. Granted, the show could still go this route and have none of this stuff be happening, but for now, I'm working with the premise it is less likely. So Krista continues to root for Elliot and so do we, because we relate to him. When Irving told his car salesman how to relate using simple phrases and objects like the "world's best dad" mug to "make the sale", he noted EXACTLY how to do it, and underscored the hacking method Elliot has been using with everyone since the pilot. If I am near the mark, then how safe and secure can we be in our own world if we can't tell the good guys from the bad ones on TV? I have grappled with the thought of Elliot as VILLAIN (which is literally spelled out on the movie poster Elliot shows up undenext to 3 times in the pilot - https://imgur.com/a/diGFpNv) with respect to things I recently read about how closely Sam Esmail relates to the character of Elliot, while still following this particular path of clues from the show. While I am only guessing, I do suspect that Sam was/is trying to tell a bigger cautionary tale, especially with his comments about how technology opens the world up to more vulnerabilities than we are prepared to recognize/combat, and how that kind of hacking could affect the world (which ended up being utterly prophetic by the time the show was released). And since Sam was also inspired by the events of Arab Spring, in which a sense of hope for so many people and nations tragically didn't work across the board, leaving many with worse circumstances in the end than they started with, I think this could line up. After all, in this world of virtual reality, one often has to experience things personally to truly be able to relate and metabolize them. I don't know if this is what Sam is trying to say with this beautiful show, but I think at least part of his message must want us to come away as more aware, more decent, and better prepared humans. Maybe Mr. Robot is OUR empathy, or gullibility, test. So whatever Elliot's definitions of "undo", "restart", or "save" actually are, they will be complicated and create more chaos and undesireable results that only Elliot might understand or want. Elliot is certainly sitting with a lot more power going into S4, and even if he takes down WR and the other 1%, which I think he will, he has become the monster he told us that he allegedly sought to destroy in the process. In the end, Elliot might have to "save" us from himself.
Got scammed out of 70K... is there anything I can do?
BREAKING -- the scam websites (x7) are now offline thanks to the work/complaints from this postTLDR: Don't trust new wallets unless you're 100% sure or you will lose everything First off, Yes - I feel sheepish, yes had I spent more time researching it wouldnt of happened, Yes I realize that I am a moron for letting $70K USD slip out of my hands, so please dont remind me of that, I learned that lesson. The website was legit looking, I trusted it wouldnt come from googles top searches pointing to Reddit which then pointed to a scam from this user > https://www.reddit.com/usejhkansen1 Secondly, I lost my BTC after importing a private key (after I had sent my funds to a new wallet) into a wallet downloaded from electrumbtcp,com (DO NOT GO HERE.) I then transferred my funds BACK into Exodus but mistakenly didn't create a NEW address by clicking the ARROW on the right. This mistake cost me $70K USD. I got into cryptocurrency a few years ago, but not in a heavy sense, just as a merchant accepting BTC. I ran a large minecraft server and a small portion of our user base shopped in BTC back when it was $200-300. While this didn't give me anywhere near the $70K that I lost, it got me started. I then invested what I could into ETH early on and hodl'd it as long as possible. I wouldn't consider myself a "newbie" at trading, investing or mining for awhile. I've done several forked coins and I didn't, in my wildest dreams, think that it'd be a malicious wallet. I've been trained to "Send coins, get the private key - send funds back to newly created address" - I thought thats what I was doing. I know my funds are probably gone forever, I want to know how I can warn others, how I can report this to (whatever? country authorities) as a malicious website. I'm not looking for attention as much as I'm looking for possible help with bringing down this website. https://www.whois.com/whois/electrumbtcp.com For ref heres the wallet that stole my funds: https://live.blockcypher.com/btc/address/1EgaeuKXBs1kJGx68JtqhxeDGLsAxkDfbx/ Can I get a upvote for awareness? If you lost BTC and have the (https://www.electrumbtcp.com/download/Electrum-Private-windows-x32-1.0.2.exe) please post it on mediafire and send it to me for evidence/analyzing
Edit 1: I have reported this to the French authorities (Though I am a USA resident I dont think anything will happen with it). I appreciate the kind words.
Edit 2: Any french law enforcement or lawyers that want to help?
Edit 5: should I even bother reporting this to the FBI / police? Will they try to pin me for fraud or something for not reporting buying BTC? (crazy I know but I dont want a double hit here...)
Edit 6: It looks like user (jhkansen1) here on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/usejhkansen1) is alerting everyone to navigate to the scam website. Can I get in contact to find his IP / authorities?https://i.imgur.com/pk0Tw7r.png - it looks like its the same user that scammed people out of BCH and BTG - the same websites that are using the "electrum X . org/com" variables. These scammers seem to be pretty big and unconfronted, which doesnt make me feel good about where things are in the crypto realm.
Edit 7: Friendly and nice advice from an investing group on how to track / what to do:
@Kainzo sorry to hear this. I’m sure you know this information already but watch these wallets carefully (below). They contain all your BTC. Try to see if you can set reminders or notifications on them to monitor activity. These wallets contain all your BTC (they won’t add up to the same amount due to transaction fees). The pattern of the transfers definitely seem programmatic so I doubt you are the only victim. That being said, the scammers are human, too. Not sure if they’ll HODL or want to liquidate in this dip. If they liquidate, then they will either 1) send to an exchange (you’ll be able to identify wallet addresses that are linked to an exchange so keep an eye out for activity) in which case once you notice the activity you should alert the exchange immediately, or 2) they will sell it off locally with a platform like local bitcoins, in which case it will be highly improbable to trace. If it is option 1, if the exchange cooperated with you, then you may be able to retrieve your lost funds. Fiat-to-coin exchanges like Coinbase should be on your side as they are under strict regulation to avoid processing dirty money, and they are well aware of this. I doubt, though, that the scammers will go the online dump route, due to the transparency and risk I just mentioned, but at this point it’s still worth the watch. Even if they go on some other exchange, still contact the exchange immediately. Because in that case they may be trying to transfer out in something like Ethereum, and you will have no way of tracking it once it leaves the exchange.
Edit 8: Another mod from Cosmic Trading on Discord
@Kainzo wallet addresses associated with exchanges will usually be dumped into a central wallet owned by the exchange or some subwallet that is also owned by the exchange, which contains other people’s bitcoin too. If blockchain.info recognizes the address it will display which exchanges wallet it is. If not you can try to google the wallet address you suspect to be and exchange and it should provide some transparency. You can try to alert authorities to identify the user who stole from you but it is unlikely they will be able to do anything about it since the scammer probably resides outside your country and law enforcement only has jurisdiction within, unless your case is escalated to some FBI equivalent in France Even so, it is unlikely they will escalate or prosecute for a financial crime this size. Not saying $70k is small by any means, but the type of cases they deal with are more money laundering to the extent of millions
Edit 9: Someone asked me to post my LTC address (LXzurqezb6PZsnJvoyiYfD5HnzLhFf6nPh)
Edit 10: Going to bed feeling very defeated. Unsure how to push forward in this scene and feeling wholesomely stuck.
Edit 14: Nothing new, I'm talking with Cogent LLC to try and pursue legal action against the phishing host or other avenues. I've written off this loss and I'm using it as a way to better map my future in the coming years.
Edit 15: Contacted the FBI - they basically shrugged it off and sent me to the website. Unlikely /anything/ will come from this but it was worth a shot.
Edit 16: Called my dad, I had 1 BTC of his (the air drop was for him to try and capture more coins for him - it was very emotionally but he said its just money and he loves me, that hit me really hard.)
Edit 17: Someone put together a list of their phishing sites | Here's the list of the phishing websites put together. | electrum-btcp.org who.is electrumgold.org who.is electrum-lcc.org who.is electronbch.org who.is electrumb2x.org who.is They seem to be hosted by this company https://www.shinjiru.com.my
kraken.us Customer Support Number +1(888)-780-0222 Get Help Now If any Issues u/WeirdAcanthocephala6
📷 kraken Customer Support Number +1-888-780-0222 In this guide, we’ll learn everything there is to know about the Coinbase vs Kraken rivalry! So, you’re on our way to becoming a crypto buff and you’re ready to get trading! But, where do you start?! Cryptocurrencies aren’t like bread, eggs, and milk. We can’t go down to our local store to get them, and Amazon definitely isn’t sending them with next-day delivery! Instead, we need to go to an online cryptocurrency exchange. Essentially, these exchanges help us swap our local currency into cryptocurrency. They also provide a platform for trading cryptocurrencies, selling them and storing them. But with so many options available, which should you choose? Kraken and Coinbase are some of the largest and most reputable online currency exchanges. However, it’s also important to understand their differences. Back in 2011, the founder of Kraken, Jesse Powell, was working at the largest cryptocurrency exchange of its time, Mt. Gox. There had just been two major hacks, and security was becoming difficult to manage. Bitcoins were going missing. If this continued, the future of crypto was bleak. Jesse thought that he could do a better job. He knew he could create a secure cryptocurrency exchange which would help people trust in the system and bring crypto into the mainstream! So, he created Kraken. He focussed on security when creating Kraken; hackers were never going to get past his security system. And so far, it has worked — Kraken has never been hacked. Now, Kraken aims to be the exchange that offers the widest range of cryptocurrencies that you can buy using fiat currencies (USD, EUR, JPY, etc.). After its public refusal, Kraken expressed an intentionto return service to New York residence pending the removal of what it perceived as unfair and counterproductive licensing. Coinsetter, announced to clients in December 2015 that it would thenceforth impose a $65 fee to offset the cost of the very same BitLicense Kraken refused to afford. In absorbing Coinsetter, and by extension Cavirtex, the following month, Kraken opened up its platform to residents of 37 other states, and to all Canadian residents. Alongside this deal, Kraken announced partnerships with payment providers SynapsePay in the U.S. and Vogogo in Canada, in order to provide its newest clients with access to fiat deposits and withdrawals respectively. One month later, Kraken announced the completion of its Series B round of investment lead by SBI Investment, a prominent Japanese venture capitalist firm under SBI Holdings. Following this investment round, Kraken announced two major acquisitions that year: Dutch exchange CleverCoin, which was acquired in June, and Glidera, a wallet service allowing users to directly fund Glidera bank accounts with fiat for the purchase of cryptocurrencies on the Kraken exchange. Kraken's reputation for security was challenged amidst 2016's buildout of partnerships and acquisitions. Multiple claims emerged in the latter half of July via news media and social networks that clients’ accounts had been compromised and funds stolen. As Kraken went silent reportedly for investigation, users threatened to alert and petition the FBI's Cyber Crimes Division for redress. Within a month, Kraken presented clarification that ‘Kraken’ was never compromised; that is, after internal investigation, the security team reached the conclusion that Kraken systems, servers, and databases were not accessed by malicious attackers due to any identifiable vulnerability for which they would be responsible. The company attributed affected users’ missing funds to phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks, and stressed the importance of enabling Kraken websites security features, such as two-factor authentication for withdrawals or the Global Settings Lock to restrict unfamiliar IP access. In the aftermath of the hack that wasn't, Kraken asserted recognition of their continued responsibility to protect clients, and stressed equally so, the client's responsibility in protecting him- or herself.
A few stories about Brian Krebs: The independent cybercrime journalist who exposes criminals on the internet
First, a bit of introduction before we get into the living drama that is Brian Krebs. Brian Krebs has been a journalist for decades, starting in the late 90s. He got his start at The Washington Post, but what he's most famous for are his exposes on criminal businesses and individuals who perpetuate cyber crime worldwide. In 2001, he got his interest in cybercrime piqued when a computer worm locked him out of his own computer. In 2005, he shifted from working as a staff writer at The Washington Post's tech newswire to writing for their security blog, "Security Wire". During his tenure there, he started by focusing on the victims of cybercrime, but later also started to focus on the perpetrators of it as well. His reporting helped lead to the shutdown of McColo, a hosting provider who provided service to some of the world's biggest spammers and hackers. Reports analyzing the shutdown of McColo estimated that global spam volume dropped by between 40 and 70 percent. Further analysis revealed it also played host to child pornography sites, and the Russian Business Network, a major Russian cybercrime ring. In 2009, Krebs left to start his own site, KrebsOnSecurity. Since then, he's been credited with being the first to report on major events such as Stuxnet and when Target was breached, resulting in the leakage of 40 million cards. He also regularly investigates and reveals criminals' identities on his site. The latter has made him the bane of the world of cybercrime, as well as basically a meme, where criminals will include references like Made by Brian Krebs in their code, or name their shops full of stolen credit cards after him. One of his first posts on his new site was a selection of his best work. While not particularly dramatic, they serve as an excellent example of dogged investigative work, and his series reveal the trail of takedowns his work has documented, or even contributed to. And now, a selection of drama involving Krebs. Note, all posts are sarcastically-tinged retellings of the source material which I will link throughout. I also didn't use the real names in my retellings, but they are in the source material. This took way too long to write, and it still does massively condense the events described in the series. Krebs has been involved with feuds with other figures, but I'd argue these tales are the "main" bits of drama that are most suited for here.
Fly on the Wall
By 2013, Krebs was no stranger to cybercriminals taking the fight to the real world. He was swatted previously to the point where the police actually know to give him a ring and see if there'd actually been a murder, or if it was just those wacky hackers at it again. In addition, his identity was basically common knowledge to cybercriminals, who would open lines of credit in his name, or find ways to send him money using stolen credit cards. However, one particular campaign against him caught his eye. A hacker known as "Fly" aka "Flycracker" aka "MUXACC1" posted on a Russian-language fraud forum he administered about a "Krebs fund". His plan was simple. Raise Bitcoin to buy Heroin off of a darknet marketplace, address it to Krebs, and alert his local police via a spoofed phone call. Now, because Krebs is an investigative journalist, he develops undercover presences on cybercrime forums, and it just so happened he'd built up a presence on this one already.
Guys, it became known recently that Brian Krebs is a heroin addict and he desperately needs the smack, so we have started the "Helping Brian Fund", and shortly we will create a bitcoin wallet called "Drugs for Krebs" which we will use to buy him the purest heroin on the Silk Road. My friends, his withdrawal is very bad, let’s join forces to help the guy! We will save Brian from the acute heroin withdrawal and the world will get slightly better!
Fly had first caught Krebs' attention by taunting him on Twitter, sending him Tweets including insults and abuse, and totally-legit looking links. Probably either laced with malware, or designed to get Krebs' IP. He also took to posting personal details such as Krebs' credit report, directions to his house, and pictures of his front door on LiveJournal, of all places. So, after spotting the scheme, he alerted his local police that he'd probably have someone sending him some China White. Sure enough, the ne'er-do-wells managed to raise 2 BTC, which at the time was a cool $200 or so. They created an account on the premiere darknet site at the time, The Silk Road under the foolproof name "briankrebs7". They found one seller who had consistently high reviews, but the deal fell through for unknown reasons. My personal theory is the seller decided to Google where it was going, and realized sending a gram of dope into the waiting arms of local law enforcement probably wasn't the best use of his time. Still, the forum members persevered, and found another seller who was running a buy 10 get 2 free promotion. $165 of Bitcoin later, the drugs were on their way to a new home. The seller apparently informed Fly that the shipment should arrive by Tuesday, a fact which he gleefully shared with the forum. While our intrepid hero had no doubt that the forum members were determined to help him grab the tail of the dragon, he's not one to assume without confirmation, and enlisted the help of a graduate student at UCSD who was researching Bitcoin and anonymity on The Silk Road, and confirmed the address shared by Fly was used to deposit 2 BTC into an account known to be used for money management on the site. By Monday, an envelope from Chicago had arrived, containing a copy of Chicago confidential. Taped inside were tiny baggies filled with the purported heroin. Either dedicated to satisfied customers, or mathematically challenged, the seller had included thirteen baggies instead of the twelve advertised. A police officer arrived to take a report and whisked the baggies away. Now, Fly was upset that Krebs wasn't in handcuffs for drug possession, and decided to follow up his stunt by sending Krebs a floral arrangement shaped like a cross, and an accompanying threatening message addressed to his wife, the dire tone slightly undercut by the fact that it was signed "Velvet Crabs". Krebs' curiosity was already piqued from the shenanigans with the heroin, but with the arrival of the flowers decided to dive deeper into the сука behind things. He began digging into databases from carding sites that had been hacked, but got his first major breakthrough to his identity from a Russian computer forensics firm. Fly had maintained an account on a now-defunct hacking forum, whose database was breached under "Flycracker". It turns out, the email Flycracker had used was also hacked at some point, and a source told Krebs that the email was full of reports from a keylogger Fly had installed on his wife's computer. Now, because presumably his wife wasn't part of, or perhaps even privy to her husband's illicit dealings, her email account happened to be her full legal name, which Krebs was able to trace to her husband. Now, around this time, the site Fly maintained disappeared from the web, and administrators on another major fraud forum started purging his account. This is a step they typically take when they suspect a member has been apprehended by authorities. Nobody knew for sure, but they didn't want to take any chances. More research by Krebs revealed that the criminals' intuition had been correct, and Fly was arrested in Italy, carrying documents under an assumed name. He was sitting in an Italian jail, awaiting potential extradition to the United States, as well as potentially facing charges in Italy. This was relayed to Krebs by a law enforcement official who simply said "The Fly has been swatted". (Presumably while slowly removing a pair of aviator sunglasses) While Fly may have been put away, the story between Krebs and Fly wasn't quite over. He did end up being extradited to the US for prosecution, but while imprisoned in Italy, Fly actually started sending Krebs letters. Understandably distrustful after the whole "heroin" thing, his contacts in federal law enforcement tested the letter, and found it to be clean. Inside, there was a heartfelt and personal letter, apologizing for fucking with Krebs in so many ways. He also forgave Krebs for posting his identity online, leading him to muse that perhaps Fly was working through a twelve-step program. In December, he received another letter, this time a simple postcard with a cheerful message wishing him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Krebs concluded his post thusly:
Cybercrooks have done some pretty crazy stuff to me in response to my reporting about them. But I don’t normally get this kind of closure. I look forward to meeting with Fly in person one day soon now that he will be just a short train ride away. And he may be here for some time: If convicted on all charges, Fly faces up to 30 years in U.S. federal prison.
Criminals are none too happy when they find their businesses and identities on the front page of KrebsOnSecurity. It usually means law enforcement isn't far behind. One such business was known as vDOS. A DDOS-for-hire (also known as a "booter" or a "stresser") site that found itself hacked, with all their customer records still in their databases leaked. Analysis of the records found that in a four-month time span, the service had been responsible for about 8.81 years worth of attack time, meaning on average at any given second, there were 26 simultaneous attacks running. Interestingly, the hack of vDOS came about from another DDOS-for-hire site, who as it turns out was simply reselling services provided by vDOS. They were far from the only one. vDOS appeared to provide firepower to a large number of different resellers. In addition to the attack logs, support messages were also among the data stolen. This contained some complaints from various clients who complained they were unable to launch attacks against Israeli IPs. This is a common tactic by hackers to try and avoid unwanted attention from authorities in their country of residence. This was confirmed when two men from Israel were arrested for their involvement in owning and running vDOS. However, this was just the beginning for this bit of drama. The two men arrested went by the handles "applej4ck" and "Raziel". They had recently published a paper on DDOS attack methods in an online Israeli security magazine. Interestingly, on the same day the men were arrested, questioned, and released on bail, vDOS went offline. Not because it had been taken down by Israeli authorities, not because they had shut it down themselves, but because a DDOS protection firm, BackConnect Security, had hijacked the IP addresses belonging to the company. To spare a lot of technical detail, it's called a BGP hijack, and it basically works by a company saying "Yeah, those are our addresses." It's kind of amazing how much of the internet is basically just secured by the digital equivalent of pinky swears. You can read some more technical detail on Wikipedia. Anyway, we'll get back to BackConnect. Following the publication of the story uncovering the inner workings of vDOS, KrebsOnSecurity was hit with a record breaking DDOS attack, that peaked at 620/Gbps, nearly double the most powerful DDOS attack previously on record. To put that in perspective, that's enough bandwidth to download 5 simultaneous copies of Interstellar in 4K resolution every single second, and still have room to spare. The attack was so devastating, Akamai, one of the largest providers of DDOS protection in the world had to drop Krebs as a pro bono client. Luckily, Google was willing to step in and place his site under the protection of Google's Project Shield, a free service designed to protect the news sites and journalists from being knocked offline by DDOS attacks. This attack was apparently in retaliation for the vDOS story, since some of the data sent in the attack included the string "freeapplej4ck". The attack was executed by a botnet of Internet of Things (or IoT) devices. These are those "smart" devices like camera systems, routers, DVRs. Basically things that connect to the cloud. An astounding amount of those are secured with default passwords that can be easily looked up from various sites or even the manufacturers' websites. This was the start of a discovery of a massive botnet that had been growing for years. Now time for a couple quick side stories: Dyn, a company who provides DNS to many major companies including Twitter, Reddit, and others came under attack, leaving many sites (including Twitter and Reddit) faltering in the wake of it. Potentially due to one of their engineers' collaboration with Krebs on another story. It turned out that the same botnet that attacked Krebs' site was at least part of the attack on Dyn And back to BackConnect, that DDOS protection firm that hijacked the IP addresses from vDOS. Well it turns out BGP Hijacks are old hat for the company. They had done it at least 17 times before. Including at least once (purportedly with permission) for the address 184.108.40.206. Aka, "leet". It turns out one of the co-founders of BackConnect actually posted screenshots of him visiting sites that tell you your public IP address in a DDOS mitigation industry chat, showing it as 220.127.116.11. They also used a BGP Hijack against a hosting company and tried to frame a rival DDOS mitigation provider. Finally, another provider, Datawagon was interestingly implicated in hosting DDOS-for-hire sites while offering DDOS protection. In a Skype conversation where the founder of Datawagon wanted to talk about that time he registered dominos.pizza and got sued for it, he brings up scanning the internet for vulnerable routers completely unprompted. Following the publication of the story about BackConnect, in which he was included in, he was incensed about his portrayal, and argued with Krebs over Skype before Krebs ultimately ended up blocking him. He was subsequently flooded with fake contact requests from bogus or hacked Skype accounts. Shortly thereafter, the record-breaking DDOS attack rained down upon his site. Back to the main tale! So, it turns out the botnet of IoT devices was puppeteered by a malware called Mirai. How did it get its name? Well, that's the name its creator gave it, after an anime called Mirai Nikki. How did this name come to light? The creator posted the source code online. (The name part, not the origin. The origin didn't come 'til later.) The post purported that they'd picked it up from somewhere in their travels as a DDOS industry professional. It turns out this is a semi-common tactic when miscreants fear that law enforcement might come looking for them, and having the only copy of the source code of a malware in existence is a pretty strong indicator that you have something to do with it. So, releasing the source to the world gives a veneer of plausible deniability should that eventuality come to pass. So who was this mysterious benefactor of malware source? They went by the name "Anna-senpai". As research on the Mirai botnet grew, and more malware authors incorporated parts of Mirai's source code into their own attacks, attention on the botnet increased, and on the people behind it. The attention was presumably the reason why Hackforums, the forum where the source code was posted, later disallowed ostensible "Server Stress Tester" services from being sold on it. By December, "Operation Tarpit" had wrought 34 arrests and over a hundred "knock and talk" interviews questioning people about their involvement. By January, things started to come crashing down. Krebs published an extensive exposé on Anna-senpai detailing all the evidence linking them to the creation of Mirai. The post was so big, he included a damn glossary. What sparked the largest botnet the internet had ever seen? Minecraft. Minecraft servers are big business. A popular one can earn tens of thousands of dollars per month from people buying powers, building space, or other things. It's also a fiercely competitive business, with hundreds of servers vying for players. It turns out that things may have started, as with another set of companies, two rival DDOS mitigation providers competing for customers. ProTraf was a provider of such mitigation technology, and a company whose owner later worked for ProTraf had on at least one occasion hijacked addresses belonging to another company, ProxyPipe. ProxyPipe had also been hit with DDOS attacks they suspected to be launched by ProTraf. While looking into the President of ProTraf, Krebs realized he'd seen the relatively uncommon combination of programming languages and skills posted by the President somewhere else. They were shared by Anna-senpai on Hackforums. As Krebs dug deeper and deeper into Anna-senpai's online presence, he uncovered other usernames, including one he traced to some Minecraft forums where a photoshopped picture of a still from Pulp Fiction contained the faces of BackConnect, which was a rival to ProTraf's DDOS mitigation business, and another face. A hacker by the name of Vyp0r, who another employee of ProTraf claimed betrayed his trust and blackmailed him into posting the source of another piece of malware called Bashlite. There was also a third character photoshopped into the image. An anime character named "Yamada" from a movie called B Gata H Hei. Interestingly, under the same username, Krebs found a "MyAnimeList" profile which, out of 9 titles it had marked as watched, were B Gata H Hei, as well as Mirai Nikki, the show from which Mirai derived its name. It continues on with other evidence, including DDOS attacks against Rutgers University, but in short, there was little doubt in the identity of "Anna-senpai", but the person behind the identity did contact Krebs to comment. He denied any involvement in Mirai or DDOS attacks.
"I don’t think there are enough facts to definitively point the finger at me," [Anna-senpai] said. "Besides this article, I was pretty much a nobody. No history of doing this kind of stuff, nothing that points to any kind of sociopathic behavior. Which is what the author is, a sociopath."
I don't have the time or energy to write another effortpost, and as is I'm over 20,000 characters, so here's a few other tidbits of Krebs' clashes with miscreants.
A source and security researcher he was talking to started blabbing about him working with Krebs, and also was selling data to hackers on the side. His example data in his sales post was fucking Brian Krebs'.
The seizure sparked an ongoing public discussion about the future of Bitcoin, the world's most popular digital currency, but it had an unforeseen side-effect: It made the FBI the holder of the world's biggest Bitcoin wallet. The FBI now controls more than 144,000 bitcoins that reside at a bitcoin address that consolidates much of the seized Silk Road bitcoins. Those 144,000 bitcoins are worth ... As reported yesterday in this sub, the FBI and Department of Justice arrested Michael Richo on October 5th for running a darknet market scam in which he would create copies of DNM's, create new onions sites, and then capture the username/passwords from unsuspecting users and steal their bitcoin in the real market.. Yesterday, PACER did not have a case in the system tied to him. A Bitcoin Cash Hardware Wallet With a Secure Chip and Low Form Factor . The Bitcoin Cash community was pleased to hear about a new Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) hardware wallet manufactured by ... The FBI official wouldn't say how the agency had determined that the Bitcoin 'wallet' — a collection of Bitcoins at a single address in the Bitcoin network — belonged to Ulbricht, but it was sure they were his. ' This is his wallet,' said the FBI official. 'We seized this from DPR,' the official added, referring to the pseudonym 'the Dread Pirate Roberts,' which prosecutors say Ulbricht ... For instance, bitcoin was the sole currency accepted on Silk Road, the Dark Web marketplace for drugs and other illicit goods and services that was shuttered by the FBI in 2013.
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