International law enforcement effort takes out hundreds of “dark market” hidden sites

The U.S. and many European countries have cooperated to take down more than 410 hidden web services that were running “dark markets” for drugs and weapons. 17 people have been arrested, including the alleged proprietor of the Silk Road 2.0 site, Blake “Defcon” Benthall. In Benthall’s case, human intelligence (and human error) played a big part in the law enforcement success. Beyond that, the fact that so many hidden services running through Tor were targeted, raises questions over the security of the anonymous browsing network. Europol is not sharing details of its techniques. Earlier this year, Tor — also used by many activists and journalists in oppressive regimes — detected attackers trying to de-cloak hidden services and their users.

Silk Road 2 users’ bitcoins vanish as massive attack continues

Remember that wave of fraudulent attacks sweeping the Bitcoin exchanges? It’s still going on, and this time the attackers pilfered an estimated $2.6 million worth of bitcoins from Silk Road 2, the second incarnation of the venerable online drugs-and-hitmen marketplace. In a “I am sweating as I write this” message to the platform’s denizens, Silk Road admin Defcon conceded that everyone’s cash was gone. “I should have taken MtGox and Bitstamp’s lead and disabled withdrawals as soon as the malleability issue was reported,” he sweated. So much for escrow.