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TheCthulhu: Shoddy “Dark Web” Journalism

Originally posted by @TheCthulhu (Thomas White) on his blog – Since this topic is close to me (and also mentioned it earlier today), i asked his permission to repost it here to give it more visibility, and was happy to get it. So here it is:

As outlets have a history of removing content where they make some mistakes, I have made a copy of the article below:

http://thecthulhu.com/wp-content/uploads/article_biuk/index.html

The original can be found here:

http://uk.businessinsider.com/dark-web-researcher-discovers-ip-addresses-in-plain-sight-2015-6?r=US

A few days ago I complained that part of the “dark web” problem is that we often see sensationalist claims from media outlets who don’t put the time into proper research. Well, I have one excellent example of this that I was to dissect for some quite key errors.

“This specific forum, called the Tor Carding Forum v2, was quietly shut down, but White was still able to uncover its hosting address even though the forum currently appears to be completely shut down. “

The article on Motherboard, along the with the accompanying information on my blog and Twitter, made clear that I seized the unmasking information many months prior to publication. I intentionally placed emphasis on this fact through the use of hashes and including the original tweet, which is dated. I have not in any way been able to recover the IP address of the service since it shut down. The reason that it is published now is precisely due to the fact it is now offline.

“Additionally, White found another dark web marketplace’s IP address: A site called Kiss Marketplace, which reportedly offered goods like illegal drugs. The IP address White posted on his website still works if you put it in any browser, meaning that the servers powering this site have ostensibly been unmasked.”

No. Again, this marketplace is now offline and has been for a few weeks according to DeepDotWeb before I published, this was an intentional action. The IP address, therefore, does not work and at this point, is obvious to me you haven’t even tried. The screenshot included on Motherboard was taken by @josephfcox several months back when I first showed him the information. We sat on the information until we deemed it safe to release.

“With the IP addresses of these dark web marketplaces becoming public knowledge thanks to White’s recent discoveries, the police will also be able to use this knowledge to shut down the websites if they decide to follow up on White’s findings.”

The police might be able to chase up who rented the server associated with the IP address, but at this point it is questionably useful since it is unlikely there will be remaining forensic data to extract. Furthermore, for it to stand it court it is likely they would need my testimony on how the evidence was obtained. I have made clear that I am totally unwilling to assist law enforcement at this point for how they have treated me in recent months/years.

“It appears that criminals are scrambling online to use these new ways to create black markets, but their lack of diligence shows.”

Speak for yourself.

See Original post and comments: https://www.thecthulhu.com/shoddy-dark-web-journalism/

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