New, Free, Downloadable Software Called Dark Leaks — Promises An Online Method/Mechanism For Individuals To “Sell Secrets” With Bitcoins — Champions The Site As a Secure Venue For ‘Whistleblowers’
The website New Scientist, and The Russia Times, are both reporting that a soon to be launched, free, downloadable software, called DarkLeaks, is advertising itself as a place ‘whistleblowers,’/leaker’s can go to find out how much their secret might be worth — if they were interested in selling their information — which would be transacted in Bitcoins. “It’s creators,” according to The New Scientist, “describe it as a [online black] market for sensitive information, from Wikileaks like disclosures, to nude celebrity selfies.”
“One of the most notable features of DarkLeaks,” The New Scientist notes, “is how it allows buyers and sellers to hide their identities. The key, is the Bitcoin block-chain — two words highly likely to make your eyes glaze over. But, they are two words that will be increasingly hard to ignore. In essence,’ the publication notes, “the block-chain is a ledger of all the digital transactions; every time a Bitcoin, or part of one, changes hands — a record is added to the chain. A copy of the block-chain is held by every computer running Bitcoin software, making it a reliable; and, permanent record. It is the most important feature of the system; as, it allows the currency to exist….without the oversight of a central authority.”
“DarkLeaks software is free, and can be downloaded from the Internet, together with its source-code; and, where all operations with files take place,” according to The Russia Times. The publication adds, “the files on the sale are encrypted; but, the platform allows the buyer to verify the files before payment. As a buyer selects a file, its randomly encrypted parts, and Bitcoin payment addresses are shown to them. If the data matches the claims of the leaker, Bitcoins can be transferred to the leaker’s Bitcoin address. For the other part, the seller must release the decryption key, which unlocks the encrypted file for the buyer. The mechanism involved makes the environment free from intervention.”
“The developers did not limit the types of files to be sold with the service, meaning it can be movies, trade secrets, government secrets, evidence of corruption, and even celebrity sex pictures. The range of information could potentially raise red flags for authorities (you think?), but, DarkLeaks Project Systems Developer, Amir Taaki, said “no requests have been received by the team so far.”
“Digital currencies — may, or may not be the future of money. But, the block-chain is another matter entirely,” New Scientist contends. “Many technology watchers believe it has the potential to transform the economy. Because, adding information to the block-chain is easy and cheap; it could supersede all kinds of cumbersome systems for keeping records and registering ownership.”
“Ambitious coders are already are already imaging an entire economy built on the block-chain, from allowing you to sell your house…without lawyers, to riding in a driveless car that owns itself. According to one expert, the development of DarkLeaks is a “necessary step” toward this,” the publication wrote.
“Communications technologies often find early adapters in seedy industries: where would the Internet be without pornography? DarkLeaks may have a similar whiff about it;” The New Scientist concludes, “but, it could prove to be a quantum leap for block-chain technology.”
This is a prescription for chaos and anarchy; and, I doubt that DarkLeaks will survive very long, if at all — as currently conceived and described. Silk Road, the original ‘dark web, Internet site, where ‘anything goes,’ so to speak, was taken down by the FBI; and, its creator is now serving time in prison.
The U.S. Government and the Intelligence Community — barring the sites demise because of legal issues — would have to become buyers — as they are to a degree in purchasing zero-day exploits — and buy the leak — before, or at a higher bid than anyone else, and then use the information to prosecute the leaker. But, there might be a version of this that the Intelligence Community might adopt — to entice foreign spies and leakers to provide critical intelligence/leaks that we might otherwise not be able to get; and, get it ‘cheaply,’ and without risking someone’s life, or the potential blow-back from an intelligence collection operation that gets inadvertently exposed or discovered that would cause political embarrassment or difficulties. One would also expect a fair amount of denial and deception to be present in this venue. A digital wilderness of mirrors. Lots to think about here. V/R, RCP