Tor Accuses CloudFlare Of Blocking Its Network

Content provider CloudFlare is no stranger to the spotlight, with being accused of protecting pro-ISIS by Anonymous causing it some issues. Now it would seem that they are instead on the throwing end of a claim, saying that requests they get from the Tor network (a network designed around allowing anonymous browsing on the web) are malicious 94 percent of the time. Tor accuses CloudFlare of mischaracterizing their users and blocking its network, with it going so far as to impact normal traffic.

Tor claims that its users are often getting stuck in CAPTCHA loops or outright failures, stopping them from accessing content in even the simplest of ways. In external research, Tor states that CloudFlare was found to block at least 80 percent of IP addresses from its service, with the number increasing over time. The CAPTCHA loop is caused by a measure CloudFlare has introduced that requires users of the Tor network to fill out CAPTCHA’s, but only users of the Tor network will see these.

Tor isn’t happy about this accusation and wants to see evidence regarding their 94 percent figure. Many are wondering how they reached this figure, or even how they deem if a connection is trustworthy. With so many people now using networks and systems like Tor, blocking or making the experience worse for users can’t be seen as a positive step when it comes to providing content.

Copycat Sites Ready To Take Place Of Silk Road Drug Marketplace

It was only last week that Silk Road was taken offline from the Tor network, it’s owner arrested and taken to court on money laundering and suspected organised murder charges. Days later the vultures are moving in ready to fill the void that the sites closure has left in a bid to grab a part of the highly profitable market that Silk Road operated.

If you’ve never heard of the Silk Road website, you are not alone, as the site was not hosted on the internet as we know it. Running on something known as “Tor”, or the onion router it is effectively on another internet, one that allows for supposedly anonymous usage, a feature that makes it a popular stomping ground for illegal activity.

Silk Road users and a few others recent said in a forum post that “We have SilkRoad v2.0 ready to launch and is now in its final testing stages. Our site has all the features of the original one and we have kept the same style of forum for your ease.”

The representatives of Atlantis (a defunct anonymous marketplace) write:

From a quick scout around I’ve counted at least 5 publicly stated projects with the said aim of replacing becoming “Silk Road 2.0″ and many many more gathering info and building alliances.
And this is what Law Enforcement is now parading as a victory? Over two years of investigation, millions of dollars spent and for what so a couple of armchair programmers can build it again in a few days while in the meantime vendors simply move to other site’s .

Now teams are said to be working on something called BitWasp, a new and even more secure bitcoin marketplace that would be custom made for such services.

It is a big set back for law enforcement, although the current closure and arrest may not slow the tide, it is interesting to see police working harder to take down Tor users.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Silk Road Owner Ross Ulbricht Appears In Court

Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind of Silk Road, the infamous online drug marketplace was arrested earlier this week as the site was taken offline from the Tor (onion network) that it operated on. Tor is a network like the internet which operates outside of the normal world wide web we typically use day to day, it provides a (supposedly) anonymous service that has become a magnet for organised crime.

Ross Ulbricht, 29, has been deemed too dangerous to be bailed. He has been accused of arranging the killing of one of the sites users in which the FBI stated that Mr Ulbricht had sought to pay another Silk Road user to kill another user for threatening to expose details of many of the sites users.

“We deny all charges and that is the end of the discussion at this point,” Mr Ulbricht’s lawyer said.

This is a landmark case given that Tor has been the play ground of many illegal activities and it just goes to show that police are closing in on many of the illegitimate uses of the site. With Silk Road being one of the most popular and well-known services on the network shut down it is likely copy cat sites will take its place.

A request from his legal team for a bail hearing to be pushed back was granted and will now take place on October 9th.

Given the scale of the site which is said to have generated $1.2 billion, we suspect that this case will spawn quite a lot of extra investigations and charges in the coming months.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.


Silk Road Drug Marketplace Shutdown By FBI

Sites like the Silk Road have gained a cult personally on many dark corners of the internet. Silk Road provided people with an anonymous market place to buy and sell illegal drugs and items, mostly via the use of the digital currency BitCoin. Now the FBI have arrested Silk Road owner Ross William Ulbricht, 29, who goes by the name “Dread Pirate Roberts”.

According to court filing Ross was picked up by police on Tuesday in San Francisco, since then the site has been taken off line and is no doubt being investigated and picked clean by FBI agents, who have already seized $3.6 million worth of BitCoin that was tied to transactions on Silk Road. A small percentage of the estimated 9.5 million BitCoins it is believed the site has generate, roughly $1.2 billion worth!

While this isn’t the first Silk Road related bust, most of the catch in the past has been through clients of the site, not the owner. Yet since the site was operated on the Onion Router, also known as the Tor network, catching the people using the service has been complicated.

Users of the service have already taken to sites like Reddit to vent their frustration at lost funds they had deposited on the site, likely in a bid to purchase illegal substances, but the full scale of this shutdown, or how many arrests will come from it, will likely not be known for sometime.

Thank you Orlandosentinel for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Orlandosentinel.