Author Topic: Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime  (Read 2296 times)

Offline Chip (OP)

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source: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/dark-net-drug-marketplaces-begin-to-emulate-organised-street-crime-20160111-gm3k1i.html#ixzz3xWGYiuWf

Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime


Drugs on a site (since taken down) on the dark web.

Online drug marketplaces on the "dark web" have begun to resemble traditional organised crime, according to the latest findings from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) based at the University of NSW. And Australian drug dealers are the most prevalent users of this system per capita than any other nationality.

The NDARC's Drugs Trend Project, which has been monitoring dark web marketplaces since 2013, reports an emergence in extortion, server attacks and conflict over digital territory between online marketplaces and third parties over the past 12 months.

The "dark web" refers to a large collection of websites that use services to hide their server locations.

To find these websites, users must also install anonymising programs such as Tor on their computers, creating a portion of the Internet where user exchanges, activities and purchases cannot be traced to specific computers or people.


The Silk Road site before it was taken down.

"Because of the anonymising features of the Tor network, there is no concern for legality," said NDARC research officer Joe Van Buskirk. "Any sort of substances can be sold."

According to the research the most widely available drug on the dark web is cannabis, followed by pharmaceuticals and MDMA (ecstasy).

Largely, dark web drug stores take the form of online marketplaces, facilitating the sale of drugs from multiple retailers for a cut of the price. 


Reddit users discuss the fluctuating Bitcoin price after criminals running the Evolution drug marketplace ran off with everyone's money.

"Marketplaces on the dark net operate in a very similar way to eBay," said Mr Van Buskirk. "They have a feedback system where both buyers and retailers are rated on the efficiency of the transaction, and the quality of the substance," he said.

A long-term user of dark web marketplaces said she was initially shocked by the high functionality of these websites.

"Going on for the first time I was surprised by how legitimate these websites look, they look like eBay," she said. "I would think anyone who is determined to buy drugs online could do it with relative ease," she said.

As awareness of dark web marketplaces grows, so too are buyer and retailer numbers, said Mr Van Buskirk.

The FBI estimated by the time of its closure, the original dark web drug marketplace, Silk Road, generated $US79.8 million for the website's founder Ross Ulbricht. In February 2015, Evolution, the largest marketplace on the dark web at that time, suddenly shutdown with moderators suspected of taking an estimated $12 million of retailer and buyer money being processed through Evolution's transaction system.

Mr Van Buskirk said that while "exit scams" such as Evolution's are common in the dark web's history, extortion by third parties  began to emerge only last year.

"Third parties are coming on to marketplaces and making a digital threat to take down the marketplace temporarily, they continue these attacks until the marketplace pays them money. They also blackmail moderators with identifying information, and extort money out of them," he said.

A bout of server attacks early last year made many marketplaces inaccessible to retailers and buyers. While marketplaces have stabilised in the past six months, Van Buskirk suspects extortion is still taking place but is "being managed differently." He said it is difficult to identify who third-party extortionists might be.

"It is similar to an organised crime approach that happens in real world crime networks. But really, it could be anyone who has a good knowledge of technology," he said.

Unlike the original Silk Road, which banned the sale of stolen credit cards and weapons, Mr Van Buskirk said large dark web marketplaces have expanded their sales beyond illicit substances.

"As more people see how much money can be made, more opportunistic methods are being used. And that can be seen in the range of products too," he said.

NSW's Drug Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke, said there is no doubt that online drug retailers have involvement with organised crime networks.

"It is another means by which organised crime sells drugs into the community," he said.

The penalties for buying and selling drugs online are the same as when drugs are bought and sold in other ways. 

"Whilst drugs and other illicit commodities are sold over the Internet, they still need to be sent and delivered. The NSW Police Force along with partner agencies interdict where possible."

Dark web drug facts from NDARC

Australians are the most represented nationality of drug retailers on the dark web proportional to population
10% of surveyed regular psychostimulant drug users had bought drugs over the dark web in the past year

Those purchasing drugs over the dark web were more likely to be male and under the age of 25

Psychostimulant users buying off the dark web tended to use a greater variety of drugs at a greater frequency compared to other users.
Over 90% of all computer problems can be traced back to the interface between the keyboard and the chair !

Offline neighbor

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Re: Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2016, 02:16:23 AM »
the DN is definitely changing but to just have your headline state boldly:
Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime

is a pretty extreme over-generalization

interesting bit at the bottom though about australia buying the most per capita or whatever it was.
its not surprising given its isolation and demand for drugs
but it is surprising given that many vendors dont even deal to Oz because of how intense customs is down under.

"I do not thus betray my enjoyments to the vulgar"

Z

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Re: Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 06:16:58 AM »
It's a very clickbait-y title isn't it?  There is really nothing in the article that proves the argument.  The fact that it resembles ebay, or another online store is easily explained.  It's an online store.  It stands to reason that they would follow the form that most online store's currently take. 


I wonder if Australia sees itself as the largest user because of the high rates of seizure?  If they go by those numbers then maybe they have seized more shipments then any other country.  I have noticed that they are highly represented.  I actually get a real kick out of watching those australian customs shows. Like this one:





They're crazy about the food.  They get so aggressive about it, and then they're like you'll have to pay a $200 aussie fine.  The people were thinking they were going to jail up until that point, and they're all "fuck yeah I'm paying a fine." 

Offline Chip (OP)

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Re: Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 08:36:22 PM »
the DN is definitely changing but to just have your headline state boldly:
Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime

is a pretty extreme over-generalization

just to grab your attention, dear reader ...

actually, i just copied the format of the original article.
Over 90% of all computer problems can be traced back to the interface between the keyboard and the chair !

Offline neighbor

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Re: Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 11:10:57 PM »
just to grab your attention, dear reader ...

actually, i just copied the format of the original article.

I wasnt having a go at you, friend

unless you wrote the article, that is
"I do not thus betray my enjoyments to the vulgar"

Offline Chip (OP)

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Re: Dark net drug marketplaces begin to emulate organised street crime
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 11:18:58 PM »
i know that ... damn media sensationalism
Over 90% of all computer problems can be traced back to the interface between the keyboard and the chair !

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