It has been a really good week for law enforcement and those fighting online crime – one The Pirate Bay co-founder was sent to jail, another has finally been captured, and now the notorious Silk Road website has been taken down for a second time.
If you were the nefarious type, Silk Road would have been your first port of call if you wanted to procure all manner of illegal things such as weapons, drugs or even credit card information. The site was available on the identity-hiding Tor network, and users could pay for their purchases using Bitcoin – making it virtually impossible to track down the users, sellers and buyers.
But after some very careful investigations, the FBI has pounced on the second iteration of the website after the first one was shut down just over a year ago. The founder of Silk Road 2.0 was also arrested in San Francisco – a Blake Benthall, who used to work for Elon Musk’s SpaceX program.
Benthall went by the online pseudonym of ‘Defcon’ and has been charged with conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking; conspiring to commit computer hacking; conspiring to traffic in fraudulent identification document; and money laundering conspiracy.
“As alleged, Blake Benthall attempted to resurrect Silk Road, a secret website that law enforcement seized last year, by running Silk Road 2.0, a nearly identical criminal enterprise. Let’s be clear—this Silk Road, in whatever form, is the road to prison. Those looking to follow in the footsteps of alleged cybercriminals should understand that we will return as many times as necessary to shut down noxious online criminal bazaars. We don’t get tired,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a FBI statement.[Source – FBI]