Posted by: Johnny Walker
August 6, 2015
These are the words ringing out from three Victoria University computer science students to the New Zealand Police who are investigating their “dark web” site trading in illegal and prescription drugs. Party drugs, painkillers, and fake doctors’ scripts are for sale on this anonymous marketplace, called NZ Underworld.
Started in June, and originally known as Vic Underworld…it now has a base of more than 150 members and boasting a join rate of around 3 new users per day according to local media reports.
Joining is not easy and will occur on invite only, vetted by existing members. According to their Facebook Page – NZ Underworld (https://www.facebook.com/Underworldv2) their mission statement is as follows: “NZ Underworld is an anonymous trading platform, but we also have a strong political aim to drive the legalization and decriminalization of drugs within New Zealand.”
The seemingly “unwanted” attention they receive through local media will undoubtedly attract the attention of Big Brother. With New Zealand being part of the The “Five Eyes”, often abbreviated as “FVEY”, which refers to an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and USA, it is almost certain that the FBI will soon come knocking.
Remarkably, they taunt the authorities by challenging them to “Catch us if you can”, claiming to be untouchable by using the Tor network. With their address: jrhnass2rzjwwasy.onion advertised on Facebook as well as how to setup and use Tor it will only be a question of time before greed takes over and the invite system is dropped.
One cannot help but wonder if these students really did their homework (no pun intended) prior to embarking on this journey with no return ticket? Did they research the SimpleMachines Forum Platform 2.0.10 for vulnerabilities and penetration? Did they create the Facebook account with a fake identity and not using their own hardware and own IP address?
Takedown history has shown us that it is not the technology that fails us, rather it is us that fail each other. Anonymity has no room for tardiness and requires dedication and due diligence. Facebook and Google are typically the sites you want to stay away from, especially when advertising an illegal trade.
This month a 20-year old student was jailed for seven years for importing a “supermarket of drugs” worth $167,000 from Silk Road via post office boxes around Dunedin. Another non related conviction went to a 31-year-old man who was jailed eight years for importing packages of methamphetamine, ecstasy and LSD ordered online from Las Vegas to his mother’s house according to local media.</p>