He escaped the greatest destruction of the dark web.Now he is back

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Just past four Years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice announced AlphaBay’s delisting, The largest dark web market in history collapsed. Thai police arrested the 26-year-old administrator of the site Alexandre Cazes in Bangkok. The FBI confiscated AlphaBay’s central server in Lithuania and destroyed a hard drug, hacker data, and other contraband that sold hundreds of millions of dollars a year. More than 400,000 registered users. The FBI called the destruction of the site a “milestone action.”

However, the fate of a key participant in this large-scale black market project has never been explained: AlphaBay’s former No. 2 administrator, security expert, and self-proclaimed co-founder, his name is DeSnake. Now, four years after the demise of his market, DeSnake seems to be back online and restarted AlphaBay under his own unique leadership. Four years later, he did not remain silent about his return.

In an extended chat interview, DeSnake told Wired how he left unscathed when AlphaBay was shut down, why he reappeared now, and his views on the resurrected and once dominant online Black market plan.After proving his identity in the following ways, he communicated with WIRED through encrypted text messages, which came from a series of frequently changing pseudonymous accounts Use DeSnake’s original PGP key to sign public messages, A number of security researchers confirmed this.

“The biggest reason I came back was to make AlphaBay’s name remembered, not because the market was destroyed and the founder proved to be suicidal,” DeSnake wrote. Cazes is Was found dead One week after his arrest, he apparently committed suicide in a Thai prison; like many people in the dark web community, DeSnake believes that Cazes was murdered in prison. He said that after reading news about the FBI, he was forced to rebuild AlphaBay Briefing on the arrest of Cazes He considers it disrespectful. “After the raid, AlphaBay’s name was exposed. I am here to make up for this.”

DeSnake’s message to WIRED was full of practical paranoia, both on a personal level and in his plan to improve AlphaBay’s technical protection. (DeSnake says he uses male pronouns.) For example, AlphaBay’s revival version allows users to use only Cryptocurrency Monero, It’s designed to be harder to track than Bitcoin, Bitcoin Blockchain has been proven to sometimes allow powerful forms of financial tracking. AlphaBay’s dark website can now be accessed not only through Tor like the original AlphaBay, but also through I2P. This is a less popular anonymous system. DeSnake encourages users to switch to this system. He repeatedly described his vigilance that Tor might be vulnerable to surveillance, although he did not provide any evidence.

DeSnake said that his security practices—whether they are applied within AlphaBay or on a personal level—are far beyond those of his predecessor, Cazes, who used the online handle Alpha02. Cazes was captured to some extent through Bitcoin blockchain analysis, which confirmed his role as the boss of AlphaBay, if not impossible, Monero will be more difficult, if not impossible. DeSnake believes that new protection measures like this will make AlphaBay more difficult to remove from the dark web this time. “I gave [Cazes] Many anonymous “Holy Grails”, but he chose to use only certain things, and he referred to other methods/methods as “overkill”,” DeSnake wrote in his seemingly foreign intonation and occasionally misspelled English. “In this game In, there is no overcorrection. “

DeSnake attributed his continued freedom to an approach to extreme operational safety.He said that his work computer is running an “amnestic” operating system, such as Linux security-centric Tails distribution, Designed to not store data. In fact, he claimed that he would never store any guilty data on hard drives or USB drives, whether encrypted or not, and refused to explain further how he achieved this obvious magic. DeSnake also claims to have prepared a USB-based “kill switch” device designed to wipe his computer’s memory and turn them off within seconds when the computer leaves his control.

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