TLDR #5 - Goodbye, Secret, Invisible Internet

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 05:53 PM

Detail of an illustration submitted by Lee for our Are We Alone in the Universe contest Detail of an illustration submitted by Lee for our Are We Alone in the Universe contest

Up until this fall, there was a secret internet. You probably heard about one part of it, the Silk Road, but that was just one secret website among many. This week, we talk to Gawker's Adrian Chen about the rest of the dark part of the internet, and how it's been damaged by the Silk Road arrests.

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Comments [2]

mika from Berlin

I hope this program was sarcastic. Otherwise it just shows misunderstanding and, in fact, spreads misinformation.

First of all, as Globe99 mentioned, there was no questioning of the statement by Adrien Chen about what got Dread Pirate Roberts caught. Had the reporter dug into the matter, however, he would have known that it is far from clear whether the FBI was able to "uncover" the Silk Road hidden service on its own or whether it was done with help of the arrested DPR. Secondly, saying that the "deep web" is dead is outright naive.

Several vulnerabilities that would allow an actor such as FBI to uncover these hidden services have been revealed and discussed in the Tor community, leading to even more secure practices among people who run these sites. This is the basic cycle of improving the security of any product or service: weaknesses are exposed, they are attended to, with the result being a product more secure than before - not dead, as this program would assume the case to be.

The bottom line is, the Tor network and its hidden services (being only one technology for creating a "deep web") will only get stronger through such security breaches.

There are still several Silk Road copycats on the Tor network, and apparently Silk Road itself has been re-erected.

I would liken the deep web with a very resistent virus. It's very hard to take it down totally - you could find with hard work and police work access to one of such sites, but new ones would spawn immediately and the method to catch the first one would not be valid anymore.

Nov. 06 2013 03:04 PM
Globe99

This is ridiculous. "Silk road 2.0"'s are popping up as we speak, stronger and more decentralized than before. Adrien Chen's assertion that Ross Ulbricht was caught because of anything other than his own mistakes is simply repeated by the reporter, without question, fact-checking or serious proof. If they have found a technical flaw in the deep web, why are imitation sites like Black Market Reloaded still going strong?

This reminds me of the early days of the internet, when those occupying tufted chairs in academia and media would delight in tut-tutting the wild techno-libertarians they saw populating the "information superhighway." "Just you wait," they would say, "soon the wild west will be over." And then they'd start spouting off technically illiterate garbage like putting borders on the internet. Here, the convergence of technical illiteracy with the desire to "stick it to those blasted libertarians" is on clear display.

In the battle between decentralized systems and the centralized power of nation states, there will be a clear winner. These "anti-fragile" systems are going to bounce back each time, exponentially stronger than they were before.

Nov. 01 2013 07:47 PM

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