Home Tech He trained police officers to fight cryptocrimes and allegedly ran a $100 million dark web drug market.

He trained police officers to fight cryptocrimes and allegedly ran a $100 million dark web drug market.

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He trained police officers to fight cryptocrimes and allegedly ran a $100 million dark web drug market.

The message explained that Incognito was now essentially blackmailing their former users: It had stored their messages and transaction logs, it said, adding that it would create a “whitelist portal” where users could pay a fee (which for some dealers would later be set at up to $20,000) to delete their data early. All of the incriminating information was leaked online at the end of this month. “YES, THIS IS EXTORTION!!!” added the message.

In retrospect, Ormsby says the site’s apparent ease of use and security features were perhaps a multi-year scam that set the stage for its end, a type of extortion of users never before seen in the drug markets of the dark web. “Maybe it was all planned to create a false sense of security,” Ormsby says. “The extortion thing is completely new to me. But if you’ve made people feel safe, I guess it’s easier to blackmail them.”

In total, Incognito Market promised to leak more than half a million drug transaction records if buyers and sellers did not pay to have them removed from the data dump. It is still unclear whether the market manager (Lin, according to prosecutors, who they accuse of personally carrying out the extortion campaign) planned to carry out the threat: he appears to have been arrested before the deadline set for Incognito victims. . blackmail.

An expert in ‘Anti-Money Laundering’

At the same time the FBI says Lin was laying the groundwork for this betrayal, he also appears to have briefly attempted to devise an entirely different plan. In the summer of 2021, during Incognito Market’s relatively quiet first year, Lin’s supposed alter ego Pharoah launched a service called Antinalysis, a website designed to analyze blockchains and allow users to verify, for a fee. , whether your cryptocurrency could be connected to criminal activities. proceedings.

In a post on the dark web marketplace Dread forum, Pharoah made it clear that Antinalysis was not designed to help anti-money laundering investigators, but rather those seeking to evade them, presumably including users of his own dark web marketplace. “Our goals do not lie in aiding the surveillance autocracy of state-sponsored agencies,” Pharoah’s post read. “This service is dedicated to people who need to have complete privacy on the blockchain, offering a perspective from the opponent’s point of view so that the user understands the possibility of their funds being flagged under illegal autocratic charges. “

After freelance cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs wrote about the Antinalysis service In August 2021, describing it as an “anti-money laundering service for criminals,” Pharoah posted another message complaining that Antinalysis had lost access to its blockchain data source, which Krebs had identified as the anti-money laundering tool. AMLBot, and that it would disconnect. “Stay informed and screw LE,” Pharoah wrote, using the abbreviation LE to mean “law enforcement.” However, Antinalysis eventually returned and last year pivoted to act as a service for exchanging bitcoin for monero and vice versa.

Meanwhile, Lin appears to have maintained his obsession with cryptocurrency tracking and blockchain analysis: his final LinkedIn post Last week, before his arrest in New York, he announced that he had become a certified user of Reactor, the cryptocurrency tracking tool sold by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. “I’m excited to share that I have completed Chainalysis’s new qualification: Chainalysis Reactor Certification (CRC)!” Lin wrote in Mandarin. His last X post shows a Chainalysis diagram of money flows between dark web markets and cryptocurrency exchanges.

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