Remember Silk Road? You know the illegal site that promoted piracy, drugs, and assassins? And I mean actual high seas piracy, not the hacker crap. Well it got shut down by an international coalition of law enforcement agencies and the Internet is better for it. But like any good game a whack-a-mole another sinister bunch of idiots show up to sell their horror.
This new site was, and I say was, The Evolution. It had all the drugs and murder you have come to expect from Silk Road but without all the pesky competent shadowy site managers. These guys got taken down fast, but they have one thing on Silk Road. The two owners got away with $12 million in bit coins and are currently at large. And Living large apparently.
Silk Road went offline in 2013, and a couple of months later The Evolution popped up. It was a hidden site on the Tor network, a system of sites used to assist administrators in hiding their identity. Although there are many networks such as this one, the Tor network bounces data through many machines and servers and it is encrypted the entire way.
Ars Technical reported that The Evolution sold stolen Id info, drugs, hacking services, weapons, and other illegal products and services with transactions using bit coins as currency. The Evolution even allowed users to keep bit coins in escrow to help speed up the sales process. This last service was one of the main reasons the administrators could make off with so much currency in bit coin form.
Brian Krebs, online security expert, said the escrow service gave the owners “direct access to a tempting amount of virtually untraceable currency”. It would seem that the temptation was too great because users of the site reported the admins had stolen their money. That bears repeating. The customers buying illegal products and services from a shadowy dark web site complained that their money was stolen.
Evolution started in 2013 and made a ton of cash. It is possible that this type of site may be on the way out of it only takes a year to track them down.