It is not the first time an administrator of a dark net marketplace has been convicted of a crime. Topix2, a one famous dark net market, has seen its admin sentenced to a fee of 17,000 GBP and 200 hours of community service. David Trai, who used to run this platform, was convicted for his role in selling illegal substances to customers all over the world.
Topix2 Admin Gets Off Lightly
There does not seem to be a fair measure of punishment when it comes to running dark net marketplaces, by the look of things. Whereas Ross Ulbricht, who operated the Silk Road platform, was sentenced to life in jail, David Trail gets a proverbial slap on the wrist. On paper, both gentlemen did the same: running a dark net marketplace where users could sell drugs online and accept Bitcoin payments.
In fact, Trail should be off far worse than Ulbricht, as he was convicted of another crime as well. He hacked into one of his former employer’s computer and stole credit card information from customers. Similar to how Ulbricht was arrested, the FBI tracked down the Topix2 administrator by collaborating with German authorities. This partnership disclosed how the Topix2 administrator was a person residing in Scotland.
It is unknown how they managed to link Trail’s real life identity to is online identity when using the Tor protocol. Allegations have been made as to how the law enforcement agency uses illegal tools – including malware – to deanonymize users. However, that has not been proven, and the truth will most likely never be revealed either.
Edinburg Procurator Fiscal Andrew Richardson told the media:
“Criminals such as this should be aware that law enforcement agencies here in Scotland and throughout the world have state of the art forensic systems analysis at their disposal to identify and trace those seeking to stay below the radar when using the ‘dark web’ for criminality. In addition to the vast technical resources available, by sharing information across continents enables the capture and prosecution of individuals wherever they may commit their crimes.”
The sentence, consisting of 200 hours of community service and 17,000 GBP in fines, is next to nothing. In fact, he got off very lightly, despite the clear intent of doing wrong things on the Internet. His home computer ran a sophisticated operating system, and his keyboard was completely blank. Moreover, he customized all keys for his purposes, not allowing anyone to access his private files.
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