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Friday fun for the IT crowd: The dark side of the Web

November 07, 2014

Silk Road 2.0 Goes Dark

The FBI has shut down the underground website Silk Road 2.0 and arrested programmer Blake Benthall, who had resurrected the original Silk Road. The website served as a back-alley channel for illegal transactions, including millions of dollars in drug deals.

In related news, The Hidden Wiki—another dark site only accessible to anonymous Tor users—is hosting a public death threat against the judge overseeing the original Silk Road criminal trial. In addition to inviting people to murder the judge, the threat also provides her Social Security number, home address and other personal details.

Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme

A Ponzi scheme that promised investors up to 7 percent in weekly returns unraveled earlier this month, and its operator was arrested on fraud charges yesterday. In support of the (sometimes true) argument that “You can’t cheat an honest man,” the con man told investors he was able to earn such high rates by brokering Bitcoins to people wishing to remain off the radar. Unlike the Silk Road Bitcoin heist, this wasn't a technical hack; rather, it was an old-fashioned con.


The anonymous Web browser has two sides. To journalists and other people for whom privacy is important—or potentially life-saving—being able to protect their IP addresses and digital identify from surveillance make Tor a necessary resource. But the dark side of the so-called “Dark Web” is that Tor also protects vicious criminals like child pornographers, enabling them to operate on the Web without fear of detection.

Facebook made news last week when it announced the launch of a Tor hidden service. The company believes it will help people get around censorship and surveillance, an especially important function for citizens in places like China and Iran with strong governmental controls on speech.


Read up on some recent scandals at high-profile technology companies. Or check out why IT doesn’t need to be such a burnout field.

Lisa Dare is a marketing writer for TEKsystems who enjoys learning about IT from some of the smartest folks in tech. She frequently blogs about IT career advice and the lighter side of tech, and on her off days loves to kayak and play with her toddler son.

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