Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FBI Says Silk Road Operator Made 'Simple Mistake' That Lead to His Identification

Andy Greenberg at Forbes reports:
On Wednesday, the FBI announced that they arrested Ross William Ulbricht, the Silk Road’s alleged administrator, in the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library at 3:15 Pacific time on Tuesday. Ulbricht has been charged with engaging in a money laundering and narcotics trafficking conspiracy as well as computer computer hacking. The Department of Justice has seized the websites of the Silk Road’s websites as well as somewhere between $3.5 to 4 million in bitcoins, the cryptographic currency used to buy drugs on the Silk Road[...]

Earlier this summer, the Silk Road’s administrator calling himself by the Dread Pirate Roberts pseudonym gave his first extended interview to Forbes[...]

“This is supposed to be some invisible black market bazaar. We made it visible,” says an FBI spokesperson, who asked not to be named. “When you interviewed [Ulbricht], he said he would never be arrested. But you can’t resist the FBI. We will find you.”

The FBI hasn’t yet revealed how it managed to track down Ulbricht in spite of his seemingly careful use of encryption and anonymity tools to protect his identity and those of his customers and vendors who visited Silk Road as often as 60,000 times per day. The FBI spokesperson declined to offer details about the investigation, but told me that “basically he made a simple mistake and we were able to identify him.”


  1. "You can’t resist the FBI. We will find you."

    But we can't find the Oklahoma City bombing surveillance tapes. And we'll never arrest the people responsible for murdering Kenneth Trentadue in a federal prison, because we can't arrest ourselves.

  2. Agent Douchebag should look in mirror and look around the office to find out who the real criminals are.

    Anyways, details on how he got caught:

    Basically there seemed to have been way too many personal information leaks in connection with SR, not only his email addresses, but also publicizing his interests e.g. Mises Institute, Austrian economics, his book club (on Tor):
    which helps other people identify you

  3. and now the FBI has a very large list of drug dealers and "anonymous" Bitcoin users....

    It will be the mother of all busts when it's all said and done.

  4. Giving interviews to Forbes is not how you avoid capture. It's how you raise your profile and become a target. I'm not impressed.