Andy Greenberg, a Forbes journalist focusing on technology, privacy, and information security topics, authored two startling articles about the online drug market. Both Justin and Jeffery have touched on the increased attention that online drug markets (like Silk Road, the focus of Greenberg's articles) have received over the past year. Greenberg's recent reports, however, provide a new look into the illicit trade, and both articles are a must read.
Meet the Dread Pirate Roberts, The Man Behind Booming Black Market Drug Website Silk Road, Forbes, August 14, 2012
Greenberg's first article provides a rare interview with the self-proclaimed "center of trust" for one of the web's most notorious online drug exchanges, Silk Road. Greenberg's interview with "Dread Pirate Roberts," the site's operator, details how Silk Road has amassed, according to Forbes' estimates, an "annual run-rate of $30 million to $45 million." The interview with Dread Pirate Roberts details how Silk Road uses anonymity software (such as Tor) and open-source cryptocurrency (such as BitCoin) to facilitate the purchases on the site. Even more interesting is Greenberg's take on how, "[a]s with physical drug dealing, a turf war has emerged" in the online drug trade. This article is also set to appear in the September 2, 2013 issue of Forbes.
Here's What It's Like To Buy Drugs On Three Anonymous Online Black Markets, Forbes, August 14, 2012
Taking his investigative report on the online drug trade a step further, Greenberg and the team at Forbes actually tested the drug-buying process. Using "the three most well-known online anonymous black markets: The Silk Road, Atlantis and Black Market Reloaded," Greenberg's article describes how he and his team "purchased . . . small amounts of marijuana." Don't worry, as Greenberg's article explains, the team's lawyer insisted he destroy the "product." This video, released by Forbes, accompanied Greenberg's articles (and documents the "product's'" distruction)
These recent articles by Andy Greenberg and the Forbes team are quite compelling and demonstrate how the drug trade, unfortunately, has started to transform and grow in a digital age.