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25.09.17 Dark Web and Cybercrime Roundup

Russian Authorities Announced RAMP Takedown

The Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP), after the Alphabay and Hansa takedown, effectively tied with Dream market for market share and popularity. Many English speaking market users had never heard of the site, given that it was primarily for Russia, Ukraine, and other nearby countries. Most sales were dead drops. Very little shipping ever occurred. But, even if the death of RAMP changed nothing but for RAMP users, it marked a new moment in darknet market history.

RAMP admins literally joked that they would not go down due to a law enforcement intervention. Users believed Russian law enforcement knew of RAMP but simply ignored the market. It had effectively grown invincible, or so users and felt. In fairness, the market launched in 2012; outlived Silk Road during the first round of darknet market heat; lived through Operation Onymous; resurfaced despite perpetual attacks from other markets; and seemingly outlived Alphabay and Hansa.

Of course, it went down prior to the official downfall of both Alphabay and Hansa. It may have avoided Operation Bayonet, but only in the most literal of terms. According to a letter received by a Russian news outlet from Deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Vanichkin, Russian authorities carried out an operation in July that resulted in the marketplace’s takedown. Ultimately, the news is little of a surprise; while it may have simply vanished, many just knew the market’s owner, Darkside, had all but asked asked to get the market removed.

The Deputy Interior Minister wrote:

As a result of the activities carried out in July 2017, the largest Russian-language trading platform RAMP (Russian anonymous marketplace), the largest in the Russian language segment, was terminated. [The MVD has permanently implemented] a set of measures aimed at identifying and suppressing the activities of members of criminal groups engaged in the distribution of synthetic drugs, potent substances, precursors and cocaine in a non-contact way using the Internet.”

DeepDotWeb

Adobe Security Team Published Private PGP Key on Company Blog

A security researcher named Juho Nurminen (@jupenur) seemingly first noticed and pointed out an unusual mistake made by Adobe. More specifically, a mistake made by the Adobe Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT). The PSIRT, for those unaware, exists to keep customers informed of vulnerabilities through security bulletins and security update notifications. They posted their private and public PGP keys this week.

“Working to help protect customers from vulnerabilities in Adobe software,” the PSIRT blog reveals.

Nurminen, on Twitter, posted “oh shit Adobe,” in addition to several pictures of the incident.

The responses were generally hilarious. Except for the rational ones that explained how some it would be too make a mistake while using the Chrome plugin “Mailvelope,” which was obviously the case for the PSIRT team member. They since removed the page and revoked the key. The cached version is up, though. Adobe

DHS Says Darknet Criminals Are Switching From Bitcoin to Monero

Europol, along with several countries that has not conducted their own studies on the subject, kept issuing notices that criminals had turned to Bitcoin. Then organized crime groups. Then organized crime money laundering. And then terrorist financing. At this point, it remains unclear what the general consensus is on Bitcoin, in the US, at least. Except for the IRS’s.

However, since Monero’s introduction as a privacy oriented cryptocurrency, government agencies quietly voiced concerns. Unlike many altcoins (including coins designed with stealth in mind), Monero relies on algorithmic obfuscation to protect transactions. Stealth addresses and ring signatures make tracing Monero transactions difficult. Not impossible, as several published whitepapers have shown over time. Although the US government may not know this just yet.

A Department of Homeland Security agent spoke with CNBC on the current state of the government v. illegal use of cryptocurrencies. He says that the DHS knew denials had started “looking more closely at other currencies like Monero and Ethereum.” No surprises there “What the criminals are starting to see, and some of the trends we’re picking up as well, is that bitcoin also works equally just as much against you as it does for you,” he added as if darknet market users only recently discovered the transparency of Bitcoin transactions. DeepDotWeb

German Man Caught in International CP Bust

A 34-year-old German man confessed to his role in the abuse of a two-year-old child through a darknet chatroom. The man was one of 50 or more that found themselves caught in an international sting operation—the details of which have been kept under wraps. At his hearing at the District Court of Erfurt, the 34-year-old admitted to paying a father and mother 5,000 euros to watch them abuse their two-year-old.

Depending on the price paid by a member of the chatroom, the member would be able to either watch or watch and issue commands to virtually “control” the abuse of the child. Note that the footage may not have always been live. Court documents revealed that some footage had been pre-recorded. Over time, the defendant became “more and more aware of the abominable act he had supported and committed,” the the defense attorney explained.

Instead of a sentence of prison time, the lawyer asked for a supervised probation. This was based on the fact that his client had learned that he had a problem and that he had planned to leave the chatroom at some point. Pending a psychiatric evaluation, the defendant just might get a probation sentence, the judge said.

Both parents received prison sentences of ten years in prison. DeepDotWeb

CEO of JPMorgan Chase bank, Jamie Dimon, takes another shot at Bitcoin

His comments last week caused a stir. This week, traders had greater concerns than Dimon calling Bitcoin fraud. It hardly warrants a comment, save to point out that a CEO of a major bank—a bank that exists solely due to paper money—would be in an awkward position if he told everyone to empty savings accounts, lose hope in the dollar, and buy Bitcoin with the entirety of their funds.

Dimon told CNBC, “right now these crypto things are kind of a novelty. People think they’re kind of neat. But the bigger they get, the more governments are going to close them down.” He later some with the Economic Times in India where he further expanded on his thoughts.

He responded to the following statement: “You created a storm over your Bitcoin comment, you were criticised a lot … many people said that central banks can stop it.”

We already have digital currencies … you can have digital rupee, so I am not against digital currencies. I am talking about the creation of money and value out of thin air. Governments now look at it like it’s a novelty but the bigger it gets the less of a novelty it becomes. Nations make currencies but they like to have central banks controlling them. They like to know who has it, where it is going and why is it going there. And that is not Bitcoin. My point is, the bigger Bitcoin gets the more likely governments are going to close it down… China just did.” Coindesk

Decentralized Darknet Markets Have Arrived: OpenBazaar 2.0 Beta Launches with Support for Tor

With centralized darknet marketplaces in a state of disarray, one option is decentralized markets. In April 2016, OB1 launched the first full release of a their peer-to-peer marketplace software called OpenBazaar. “Tens of thousands” of users downloaded the program and shopped on OpenBazaar stores, the company’s website explained.

OpenBazaar packed an array of neat features that one would expect from any centralized darknet market. (OpenBazaar is not, at it’s core, a darknet marketplace in the sense of the word many understand. The creators even took steps to distance themselves from the name). The first generation lacked something major that ultimately added another reason for a slower implementation of OpenBazaar stores.

The second major release, OpenBazaar 2.0 brings a host of new features that we to the software’s appeal. One of the biggest, Tor support, could change the future of darknet markets—as we currently know them. (Oh, Tor support is not enabled by default; this guide explains how to enable it). Instead of requiring external wallets for various supported cryptocurrencies, OpenBazaar 2.0 packs a wallet as-is. Read through the assorted features on DeepDotWeb.

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