Dropgangs, or the future of darknet markets

Mirimir mirimir at riseup.net
Sun Jan 13 19:43:56 PST 2019

Dropgangs, or the future of dark markets

| Instead of using websites on the darknet, merchants are now
| operating invite-only channels on widely available mobile
| messaging systems like Telegram.
| ...
| The other major change is the use of “dead drops” instead
| of the postal system which has proven vulnerable to tracking
| and interception.
| ...
| Furthermore this method does not require for the customer
| to give any personally identifiable information to the
| merchant, which in turn doesn’t have to safeguard it
| anymore. Less data means less risk for everyone.
| ...
| Instead of the flat hierarchies witnessed with darknet
| markets, merchants today employ hierarchical structures
| again. These consist of procurement layer, sales layer,
| and distribution layer. The people constituting each layer
| usually do not know the identity of the higher layers nor
| are ever in personal contact with them. All interaction
| is digital - messaging systems and cryptocurrencies again,
| product moves only through dead drops.
| ...
| This concept of using messaging, cryptocurrency and dead
| drops even within the merchant structure allows for the
| members within each layer being completely isolated from
| each other, and not knowing anything about higher layers
| at all. There is no trace to follow if a distribution
| layer member is captured while servicing a dead drop.
| He will often not even be distinguishable from a regular
| customer. This makes these structures extremely secure
| against infiltration, takeover and capture. They are
| inherently resilient.
| ...
| If members of such a structure are captured they usually
| have no critical information to share, no information about
| persons, places, times of meeting. No interaction that
| would make this information necessary ever takes place.


Nice. It's cool to see serious tradecraft applied to this stuff.
Especially compartmentalization.

And yes, using traditional shipping systems is a serious problem for
old-school dark markets. I've thought off and on for several years about
the potential for using dead drops with accurate GPS. I mean,
geocaching. Many years ago, when I was dealing LSD, it was pretty common
to use dead drops. But then, they were typically rental lockers in bus
and train stations.

I agree that ubiquitous surveillance is a problem. However, it's
~clueless customers and low-level distributors who'll most likely get
pwned. And they won't know anything importnt about the operation overall.

Anyway, time will tell.

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