Interviewer: What is the Silk Road?
William Kroger: The Silk Road is an internet underground marketplace group where you can buy anything you want that's illegal. You can buy drugs, you can buy guns, you can buy female slaves, you can buy licenses, you can buy passports, and you can buy the services of computer hackers. You can buy anything that you want pretty much that's illegal and that's tangible, and that can be transferred in the mail or by some other mails. People have even bought murder for hire.
There are Several Illegal Underground Market Groups Active on the Internet
Interviewer: Wasn't that site shut down by the government or there are just other sites that sprung up and do the same thing?
William Kroger: There are several different sites that are sprung up to do the same thing. There's Black Market Reloaded, there was Silk Road 2 which was just taken down. There are half a dozen other sites that are up right now and doing the same exact thing. The majority of them, probably all of them, only accept Bitcoins for payments and all the sites are very anonymous. To Gain access you have to go through The Onion Browser (TOR). It is a possibility that the government has been hacking into the TOR. TOR a browser that you use that bounces your IP all over the world and therefore it hides your IP.
The Tor Browser Was Helpful in Military Applications in Helping Government Encrypt Information
So, when you're talking to somebody through the Tor browser, they don't know what your real IP address is so they can't trace you. The problem is that the government funds the Tor browser because the Tor browser was helpful in military applications in helping the government encrypt their information that they're providing to the military. It was supposed to be encrypted from the government or hidden from the government as well because of the way that they always hid the IP address and just dispersed all the signals across the globe. The government can locate people on it and can trace IP addresses through the Tor browser.
The Government Has Stepped Up Efforts to Hack Into the Tor Browser
Interviewer: It's because they were involved in the development of the technology and so that's why they're constantly working on breaking it?
William Kroger: Right. They're constantly working on breaking into it and hacking it because they've also put a lot of money into it to start it, which is very interesting. A lot of people are starting to fall from the Silk Road for a number of reasons; one of which is the government hacking. In the original Silk Road case, when William Ulbricht was arrested, he made some common mistakes where he put his real name and some postings earlier on when he was developing the Silk Road, and they were able to follow that and locate him and make the arrest. A lot of people don't understand that the DEA and the FBI always work together and when you think about the DEA or the FBI, you think about the guys on the streets with the guns in the DEA jackets and everything but the majority of DEA agents and FBI agents are in the office acting as analysis providing information to other agents.
The Majority of DEA and FBI Agents Are Analysts Sitting Behind a Desk
They're analysts, they take all the information that the people on the streets gather and they put it in the computer and they crunch the numbers. They're very good and they're very smart people in finding answers they're looking for. There's an estimate that there are 8,000 DEAs around the world and I think a good two-thirds of that or more are analysts. So, it's like when you're watching 24 on TV and you see all these people in the room behind the computers, that's really what the DEA is like. It might be not such a beautiful comfortable room as they portray in 24 but that's what they do. They count numbers, they figure out the problems that the agents on the street have. And then they find answers and pass the information on.
FBI and DEA Agents Are Constantly Scrubbing Databases For Information
Interviewer: Are they using science and computers and algorithms and data manipulation and all that to try to find out what people are trying to hide?
William Kroger: Yes, they're scrubbing databases. They're doing deep-scrubs to database and finding out everything. You can't keep a secret from anybody in this world anymore, all of your email, all of your text messages, everything you have on your phone or on your computer at home, even though you delete it, it's still there. Trained people who know what they're doing and have the software to do it can get anything off your computer that was ever on it.