The internet is one of humankind’s best inventions, but it can also be a scary place. There are plenty of predators and crimes that happen in the darkest recesses of the web. In this piece, we will explore some of the most notorious criminals that have been active on the dark web.
1. The founders of Silk Road were two men who shared a vision of creating an online marketplace where people could buy and sell anything they wanted, no questions asked. The site was a haven for drug dealers and other illegal activity, and it is estimated that over $1 billion worth of illegal drugs were sold on Silk Road before it was shut down by the FBI in 2013.
2. Dread Pirate Roberts was the pseudonym used by Ross Ulbricht, the operator of Silk Road. Ross Ulbricht is perhaps the most well-known criminal on this list. He is the founder and operator of Silk Road, an online marketplace that was used to buy and sell illegal drugs. Ulbricht ran Silk Road under the pseudonym “The Dread Pirate Roberts.” Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted on charges of money laundering, drug trafficking, and conspiracy to traffic fraudulent IDs. During his trial, prosecutors presented evidence that showed Ulbricht had hired multiple hitmen to kill people who were cooperating with law enforcement or who he believed were a threat to his operation. Thankfully, none of those hitmen were actually able to carry out any murders.
3. “Biggest drug market on the Darknet,” known as Big dealers in China, was an online marketplace that allowed users to buy and sell drugs anonymously. The site had over 100,000 registered users and $17 million worth of illegal drugs were sold on the site before it was shut down by Chinese authorities in 2015.
4. Bitcoin Fog is a service that allows people to anonymize their bitcoins. The service has been used by criminals to launder money from illegal activity, and it is estimated that over $100 million worth of bitcoins have been laundered through Bitcoin Fog since it was created in 2011.
5.Joshua Schulte is a former CIA employee who is accused of leaked classified information to WikiLeaks. He has been charged with 13 counts of espionage and faces up to 135 years in prison if convicted.
6. Lauri Love is a British man who is accused of hacking into thousands of computers belonging to the U.S. government and military. He faces up to 99 years in prison if extradited to the United States and convicted on all charges against him.
7.’ Phantom Secure’ is a Canadian company that supplied encrypted phones to criminal organizations around the world. The company’s founder, Vincent Rampton, plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and faces up to 20 years in prison.’
8. Cody Wilson is the founder of Defense Distributed, a Texas-based company that designs and manufactures 3D-printed firearms. Wilson first gained notoriety in 2013 when he released plans for a 3D-printed handgun called “The Liberator.” He followed that up in 2015 by releasing plans for an AR-15 lower receiver that could be manufactured using a 3D printer.
Wilson’s actions sparked a lot of controversy, with many people arguing that his actions could lead to an increase in gun violence. In 2018, Wilson reached a settlement with the US State Department that allowed him to release his plans for 3D-printed firearms online. As part of the settlement, Wilson agreed to block users from accessing his website from within the United States.
9. Kim Dotcom is a German-Finnish businessman who is best known for his involvement with Megaupload, a now-defunct file-sharing website that allowed users to illegally download copyrighted material.’ Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand (where he resides) and facing extradition to the United States but was later released on bail. He is currently awaiting extradition proceedings.
10. An Irishman known only as “Piggy” was arrested in 2013 for his involvement in an international child pornography ring. Piggy pled guilty to child pornography possession and distribution charges and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Sadly, there are plenty of cases of this sort as people try to profit off the suffering of children.
These are just a few examples of notorious criminals who have been active on the dark web. If you ever find yourself on the dark web, be sure to exercise caution as you could be putting yourself at risk by interacting with criminals. The dark web can be a strange place, but there are also plenty of people working hard to keep it safe for everyone who uses it. Thanks for reading!