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Glowing reviews tout counterfeit cash on the dark web (latimes.com)
137 points by prostoalex 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 126 comments

Why does American law enforcement resort to such high profile raids if they know the suspect was dangerous.

Surely they have better tactics to neutralize someone without ending up in a gun battle.

A night raid, tailing the suspect, gas masks?

Note: I am a Brit not American, therefore genuinely interested to hear from law enforcement people on this.

American law enforcement agencies spend hundreds of millions on equipment to support violent raids. There is strong incentive to continue to use the equipment so that they can justify the spending as well as justify larger budgets for more spending on similar gear.

If they don't have high profile violent raids to point at they risk people questioning the armament and spending.

Not only that, but it sends another message: this can happen to you if you too if displease us. We have the weapons and the training, do you really want to risk your child getting grievously injured by a flashbang[1], or do you want to comply now?

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2014/10/07/us/georgia-toddler-stun-grena...

As an American who has seen blasphemous spending on similar terms at all of my workplaces, I technically believe this, but I have trouble relating or visualizing it. The whole thing is just so surreal in the context of law enforcement.

Let me help you visualize it, in the midwest i live in a town of ~80k people. The local police department just spent money on buying a armored bearcat assault vehicle.[0]

At the city council meetings we were assured that the vehicle would 'hopefully never' need to be used. And people fought back saying that the there is no need for this in our small town. There are literal gun ports out the sides of the thing like a tank.

They ended up buying it, and now that they have spent massive amounts of money on it, they are probably going to find some excuse to use it.

For reference they bought the Military warzone model not the SWAT model.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenco_BearCat

I think the glorification of the military they did during the Gulf wars to avoid a backlash like during Vietnam is backfiring now. Now everybody wants to get on the "military warrior" bandwagon. Cops don't just want to do boring police work to keep the peace, even in tech we now have "boot camps".

American police forces were paramilitary forces in several cases originally created largely as ethnic gangs to violently suppress other ethnic gangs, and have always been on a warrior model (and in many ways less restrained in use of force than the actual military); the problem does not stem from Gulf War propaganda. (OTOH, it has been exacerbated in the last couple decades by War on Terror propaganda, and by policies around military to law enforcement transfers of surplus equipment, complete with “use it or lose it” rules.)

and all that sweet, sweet military surplus.

Bootcamps don't make me think of war/military though. It just makes me think of pushups and climbing over walls and crawling through mud under rope.

Where I am the term instantly conjours up visuals of Lycra clad men and women shouting to each other as they do push ups on my driveway while someone else changes the music to a different track every 30 seconds. Generally it’s 5.45am and I hate them.

And swabbing the latrines with a toothbrush

Yep, fellow Bloomingtonian (IN) here as well. I'm the one who stood in city council and asked 6 questions (and emailed as requested) regarding corruption of Mayor Hamilton and Police Chief Diekhoff. If you dig deeper, you also find things like how a sitting judge over criminal proceedings is also the police cheif's wife.

It's moving the overton window that more violence is normalized alongside sliding military tools into civilian countermeasures.

But hey, they brought out the bearcat for a "possible gun domestic disturbance". And the sliding window goes further to fascism.

> Type: Non-military armored vehicle [picture of armored car with MG nest on the roof follows]

Recognise newspeak when you see it.

The military version was likely cheaper than the SWAT model. There is a lot of surplus military hardware being bought up by local PDs.

Which I see as a much larger problem... you're putting military hardware in the hands of local police officers.

Right?! How that's used as any kind of justification seems insane to me. Oh, don't worry! It's surplus military equipment... ?! That alone is startling. It's infinitely worse when you consider that this military equipment will then be used to raid alleged drug dealers/users--AKA killing puppies, flashbanging babies, and stealing private property with no practical legal recourse. Even if it were ONLY ever used for 100% guilty drug users and dealers, it's in the name of a failed drug war.

Law enforcement is like the military in that they are organizations in charge of legitimate use of force. At the same time, they are bureaucracies and bureaucracies are hierarchical organizations in charge of translating public will and resources into quantifiable results.

The hierarchical element means that the people at the top in charge of making overarching decisions that the entire bureaucracy then has to follow has very little visibility into the "facts on the ground". Even worse, they can have zero insight into how said problem space actually works because they're often political appointees and not people that rose from the ranks.

This normally isn't that much of a problem in other types of endeavors. But when the use of legitimate force comes into play, decisions from 'on high' can be amazingly arbitrary from a public interest standpoint. The military generally solves this by making it so there aren't any purely political appointees in the chain of command. That, plus the fact that the military generally doesn't exercise force within the borders means that any problems can be hidden from public scrutiny.

But law enforcement does not have this luxury.

In this case they were actually dealing with a dangerous guy so I don’t see the problem here. But there are plenty of cases where they use the same tactics against people where there is no suspicion of them being dangerous. Example here : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berwyn_Heights,_Maryland_may...

Right, they needed to apprehend him in a low population area in case of a shootout, and apprehending him at home makes him more likely to barricade himself or possibly use explosives. Seems like getting him on the road in an isolated area was the best possibility.

Indeed, a dedicated prepper which carries ar-15 around and starts shooting upon a first sight of sirens ain't somebody you want to ambush in place he had years to prepare in end-of-the-world they-are-coming-for-me mindset.

Maybe he had some mental issues that might get better with proper medication, but then he most probably wouldn't be able to hold a steady relationship so I don't believe that.

I am far from a fan of gun-ho US style of police force, but in this case it really seems dangerous person was removed from society.

I’m impressed the same person was into counterfeit money, instead of gold.

Like any massive bureaucracy federal agents have processes and policies to determine what tactics are used. Night raids may pose a higher risk of alerting the target and allow them to flee or fight from a fortified position. A person like this is far more likely to have alarms, booby traps, gas masks, and weapons stockpiles than your average citizen. Don't forget that in the US it's relatively easy to get a wide range of extremely powerful weapons.

Also the target seems to have known they were being surveilled and may have been fleeing. This may have been the agents last best chance.

There's also confirmation bias at work: a raid isn't high profile unless it's big and flashy and potentially violent. You hear more often about violent raids than quiet arrests. Even if they're reported as frequently, quiet arrests are just less memorable.

Sad truth. A lot of the officers enjoy raids and gun battles like this.


"Overcrowded prisons? I know a solution! ratatatatatata U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A" -- Homer Simpson

American law enforcement is populated with many people who want the violent intensity of real-life Call of Duty without the risk and sacrifice of joining the Marines. Storming counterfeiters with Bin Laden-level firepower is their way of doing this.

I’m going to prefer an obvious planned and announced arrest that could go sideways to no knock nighttime door kickers where risk of issues like family, pets, getting the wrong house all together go way up.

A night raid against a prepper seems like it's even more likely to wind up with a big firefight than this. Think about it they're then going into their house knowing they're stockpiled food and arms there. Trying to arrest them on the road avoids trying to storm their home and avoids endangering anyone else like doing it in town might.

Even in the UK the raid would have been fairly large for someone suspected of being armed or possessing explosives. The usual tactic is the "dawn raid": https://www.itv.com/news/2017-06-05/fresh-raids-in-wake-of-l...

It's just that because firearms are so widespread the US does a lot more raids, so there are more to go wrong. And the US has no equivalent of HMIC or IPCC, so the standards are a lot lower.

In New Zealand ‘Dawn Raids’ were violent raids on alledged overstayers, mainly Samoan or Togan. A grim period.


Well, they train like they're military, so then they treat everything like it's a war.

They don't have anything close to the discipline of the military.

This is a major part of it. They get the military toys and just left to run wild. Even the most basic points like not point a weapon at someone you dont intend to shoot are missing completely.

I think it's the expert beginner problem.

They believe they have trained like the military, and treat everything like a war. I doubt many drill sergeants would agree that they've trained like the military though, and in these threads we occasionally hear from a few who very clearly don't. Last time I read one of these there was a guy ranting about the sad state of trigger discipline even on SWAT teams.

Not an American but I see two obvious incentives:

1) Finances. US police seems to hoard military grade equipment. Creating a high risk situation demonstrates the need for superior firepower because it doesn't even suggest the possibility of a less expensive/dangerous alternative.

2) Politics. Violent raids against armed criminals make for good optics. Escalating the situation demonstrates the threat of violent criminals while also demonstrating a strong police force, allowing politicians to appear "tough on crime".

Additionally Americans have a more Puritan idea of how criminals should be treated (cf. capital punishment, jokes about prison rape, felonies being permanently banned from voting, etc). And a fairly well-established dehumanising "us-vs-them" mentality in media coverage and pop culture.

Personally I'm surprised.

Whenever I've heard of the arrest of high profile suspects , there is almost always some smart plan to get the person before they can engage in violence.

This is done to get them to cooperate and get the network that supports the high profile suspect.

I'm not sure why it went down as it did. But I know reality is complex, so I'd guess they were aiming for better but things went badly and they preferred to take him out for sure than let him get away. That would be my guess. That or someone wanted him dead, but the latter is less likely (stupidity being more common than malice and all) - There are probability other probabilities I'm not considering and the fact that multiple factors could be at play... it's hard to tell, the article was short on details.

I'm not a LEO but it seems pretty obvious. Better to take him somewhere he's unprepared rather than somewhere he could potentially have laid traps or have an early warning system like cameras.

A night raid against a preppier would be way worse. That’s exactly what these lunatics are “prepping” for.

And tailing the suspect is incompatible with assembling a sufficiently concentrate force to have a decisive advantage

In order to ensure a conviction, law enforcement needs to apprehend the suspect and seize the contraband in the same physical location. Otherwise there can be room for reasonable doubt at trial.

The 2002 Moscow theater attack shows gas-based raids are not any less dangerous

The Moscow theater attack had 850 hostages in a wide-open area, guarded by 40 CRI terrorists. The gas pumped into the building was also rather violent, some Fentanyl derivative IIRC. That's not even remotely comparable.

> violent

I think the intent here was to have the fentanyl put the assailants to sleep. Granted, it went horribly wrong. But violent isn't how I would describe the intent.

From what I remember it was most probably carfentanil.

Holy shit, I had never heard of this attack and the whole this is super sketchy when you read the wiki page. I have no comment in relation to this counterfeiter but damn, that theater attack, that was dark.

well, they're as dangerous if you use carfentanyl. if you just use tear gas or something...

>if you just use tear gas or something...

The FBI tried that once upon a time in Texas. Most formulations of tear "gas" are actually a powder that happens to be flammable powder. It makes nasty poisonous things when it burns (burning already poisonous things has a tendency of doing that). It didn't go well.[1] It's generally not prudent to use tear gas if you're not ok with substantially increasing the likelihood of many people in the target area dying. What's acceptable when you're trying to gas some enemy combatants out of a tunnel in a war zone is not necessarily acceptable for a civilian law enforcement agency to do domestically.

(possibly NSFW) https://www.documentingreality.com/forum/attachments/f240/14...

Except for drills and riot control, it's illegal for militaries to use tear gas.

Tear gas is pretty unpleasant and also the impact is very uneven. We did an exercise at military with a very low dose and there were people who were in serious trouble while others barely noticed. I think it’s more of a movie phantasy.

In the US(Army) we all have to do a gas exercise. We go into a chamber with our gas masks on and watch the agent being activated and released. Then we remove our masks, recite our name, rank, and serial number, then put them back on. It doesn't last long, but no one in my platoon "barely noticed". It was pretty debilitating - vomiting, coughing, snot smeared all over your face...etc.

That said, there are a lot of different gas varieties, and I've only been exposed to that one.

We did that exercise too. But we also did one outside which is more realistic. There the distribution was very uneven. I don’t think think you can find a dosage that makes sure the bad guys are incapacitated while not killing others.

As far as I know this is also a factor why chemical weapons weren’t used in WW2. They are way too hard to control to be useful.

I have done these a few times and there is usually one or 2 that seem to shrug it off as mildly irritating, as the rest of us choked and teared. Seems to happen more with CS based stuff than 'Teargas'. Also, the new generation pepper spray is a legitimate torture device and I question its use, ethics and legality. I would rather be waterboarded again.

During the Moscow theater attack, there were 40-50 assailants holding at least 850 people hostage using, among other weapons, explosives. Vomiting from tear gas can't be relied on to stop assailants resigned to suicide from detonating explosives to kill hostages.

It was pretty damn shitty that the Russian government did little to assist doctors treating hostages in the aftermath, but aside from that their gas plan worked pretty damn well, considering the circumstance they were up against. The only other realistic option was for the Russian government to give in to the demands, as they did years before during the lesser known but larger Budyonnovsk hospital attack after conventional attacks failed (over the course of which something like 150 hostages were killed and hundreds more injured.)

when i went through the chamber it got me a bit, but for me it wasn't especially debilitating... at least in comparison to some.

From the reports I've read the Dubrowka theater hostage taking was kind of an impossible situation.


Stop watching mainstream television.

Unless of course he murders her.


On the flip side this also means if you're involved in high crime, you should expect the police to intend to kill you so you should prepare for killing them first.

>>Johnson had served three years in federal prison for selling pirated copies of Microsoft Office.

Like, that's just fucked up.

How so? He committed a crime. He wasn't in prison for having a pirated copy of Office – he was literally profiting from selling it to others.

Because I'd like to think that we put people in prison when they are danger to others or the society. Someone selling pirated copies of Office is neither. Fuck,I'm a software developer and I wouldn't want someone selling pirated copies of our product to go to prison. Especially not for 3(!!!!) years. Especially not in an American prison. Maybe my complaint should be with the ridiculous system that allows this to happen though - there's plenty of other punishments that could be used instead of locking someone up for three years.

> The agent clicked “buy” and in September 2017 purchased four fake $100 bills for $120 in bitcoin, the online cryptocurrency.

That's a fairly conservative ROI if you ask me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Keep in mind, his overhead is only that of ink/paper/his own time (presuming it was a one man operation), so that's still probably 99% profit margins. Plus, counterfeit currency would need to be substantially cheaper than real currency to be worth using in the first place.

Is simple possession of counterfeit cash illegal in and of itself, or only when spent? I have a collection of 'fakes' and this would be a fun addition, but wouldn't want to risk federal prison for it.

I looked through 18 U.S. Code Chapter 25. I am not a lawyer. It does not look like simple possession is illegal, you have to spend it with an intent to defraud.

That said, it could also be illegal to buy counterfeit currency, even if you don’t intend to sell it.

I wonder how research gets around it. Most printer/copiers have detection software in them to determine if someone is trying to print out money and then cancels the print job. I can imagine that those kinds of folks would need counterfeits to test against. Also, there is a good case for educational purposes and museum collections, in addition to things just like stamp collecting.

> Most printers/copiers have detection software

Do you have a source for this? I've never heard of it but would be really interested in looking at, say, a disassembly of applicable firmware.

The Eurion Constellation is how this is usually done. Most US bills above a certain value and most larger Euro bills have this embedded somewhere.


I've only heard of the built-in recognition of currency within image editing software, e.g. Photoshop. If you scan in currency and try to open it, the software (usually) detects it and won't let you: https://hyperallergic.com/195922/what-happens-when-you-try-t...

I actually tried that - scanning and printing money on a normal office scanner/printer combo from HP. Euros worked fine, as did Scottish pounds. So unless the ATM I used to withdraw cash was loaded with fake notes, it doesn't seem to be true in general. Maybe it's only done on devices with really high DPI? I mean nobody would get deceived by a grainy 600DPI simple image of a banknote printed on standard office paper.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Secret Service (who regulates counterfeiting) works directly with printer/copier/scanner manufacturers.

It's much larger than just the US SS. Most governments have the EURion constellation in their bills: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EURion_constellation

Hmmm if you are collecting them with no intent of using them, I would think you would have a good freedom of speech defense, (but don't quote me on that INAL).

From : https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/can-i-be-cha...

"Crimes Involving the Use of Counterfeit Currency The use of counterfeit currency can violate both federal and state law.

Under federal law, the use or attempted use of counterfeit currency is illegal if the person has the intent to defraud the recipient. A conviction for the offense carries up to 20 years in prison and a fine. A conviction for producing counterfeit currency similarly carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine, as does a conviction for merely possessing counterfeit currency. All of these crimes require that the prosecutor prove that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud."

"intent to defraud." being key here...

Hmm, interesting. I'm in no rush, so will certainly be doing more research.

I currently have some counterfeit boullion and fake Magic the Gathering cards. I find the idea of effectively-worthless items that appear very valuable to be quite aesthetically appealing. Fake art seems cool, and I've been looking into movie prop money.

"Real" counterfeits would be an interesting collection item, but would probably deface the back/front of each bill with word "FAKE - do not spend or accept" so I could display them, but reasonably say I did not intend to spend them.

I've heard stories that this is sometimes an issue for the film industry. See:


[Scratches head...] If you're worried that it is illegal, are you sure you shouldn't be posting this anonymously?

If I had intended to do it regardless of legality, I would not have asked about legality.

I find it ironic that the guy spent so much energy prepping for the end of the world. Then he chose a profession that would end his life severely prematurely.

Oh wow, providing a tracking number, huge OPSEC mistake

> Oh wow, providing a tracking number, huge OPSEC mistake

Double mistake: he habitually used the same postbox to mail his packages. He might have had better luck if he drove well out of his way to mail them.

Though I'm kinda surprised the police weren't able to get a firmer lead on him from the tracking numbers. Is it really possible to get those anonymously issued? I'd assumed they'd at least be able to track him back to a store with security camera footage.

The article mentioned that he mailed them from a box across from a police station, not a store.

And basically yes. You get the tracking number when you create the shipping label, and the info is generated when it's first scanned, no need to be physically present when that occurs

Probably he could use a stolen identity to buy postage online.

> Double mistake: he habitually used the same postbox to mail his packages.

I suppose the problem here is scale and habit. To avoid using the same postbox you'd need to drive far, and send a lot at once. If you do small transactions like 120 USD it'll take a long time to make real money. Maybe you could use a mail relay service in another country, but still..

That said, look at the resources this operation took, how likely was it that he would be caught? Most small fish like him probably won't be.

I miss the dark net subreddits where people would talk about OPSEC like this. Until right now, I forgot they got banned and stopped showing up in my feed.

only way to prove fulfillment of services on a dnm

Seems like a huge risk though. Is it worth saving yourself from a few refunds if you substantially increase your target surface?

I see the neee to proove shippment though. But surely giving out the tracking number to the receiver is unneccessary. Any of his customer could find out where he ships from, not just leo

At the same time if he was following standard OPSEC to not ship from the same place twice, and not ship from near where he lived, tracking number would have been completely fine.

Except then he'd spend all his time driving instead of earning money. And if he got caught despite following standard OPSEC then armchair commenters would invent new OPSEC that he "should have" followed.

Sure, I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing, OPSEC in and of itself is definitely a perpetually unfinished iterative process by its nature. If you are actually interested in this gwern has done some excellent statistical analysis on all known arrests related to DNMs over a few specific timeframes.[0]

The canonical method seems to be (though I can't confirm this, I am armchair commentator as you say) that most sellers wait until they have a queue of several packages ready and then only do one drive to drop them in the mail, so then it doesn't cut into their time or profits dramatically, whilst also giving them an extra bit of protection.

[0] https://www.gwern.net/DNM-arrests

Customers inevitably get the tracking # when they receive the product, no?

Usually the tracking number is used by the seller and the moderators to settle disputes. I’ve never had a tracking number sent to me but have had sellers say “it’s supposed to be coming tomorrow”

This is on cgmc

Generally my cgmc orders come with the tracking # on the packaging, USPS kind of needs that to be able to update the tracking.

Curious how much bitcoin he had.

> When they searched Johnson’s body, they found a computer thumb drive jammed in an ankle holster. The device contained 50 screen grabs of text messages.

Wallet word seed?

It’s interesting they couldn’t decrypt his computer.

Does anyone know if FileVault on mac has any known exploits?

That's what they say.

It could be what they would say if they wanted to keep you using it. Although, they could say they decrypted it when they didn't to get people to switch to something possibly less secure. This is all speculation though.

> It could be what they would say if they wanted to keep you using it.

I mean, for most users it's better than nothing, since they're not likely to use anything else.

It seems to just fall back to the user's password, at least on my Hackintosh. That's not an exploit but it does require repeating a password.

I've never heard it said that it also explicitly doesn't do something like falling back to hardware encryption a la BitLocker. That's just paranoia-baiting though.

How can someone buy a truck for $58,000 in cash and not set off one billion alarms?? :O

The strategy drug dealers use is they know the cash limit before required notification. Let's say it's $5k. Buy a $4k car, drive it a couple months, trade it in for an $8k car paying the difference in cash, rinse and repeat.

It's not like using cash is an egregious practice. Assuming he provided his driver's license / ID, proof of residence and any other necessary documents, the seller has no reason to suspect the buyer

‘They were so good that even I accepted them as legal tender!’


In case this question was serious:

because under quantitative easing, the money eventually gets recalled (the bonds they bought eventually comes due), or it's used for constructive purposes (eg. building infrastructure).

Perhaps he wanted to die, but wished for something more dramatic than shooting himself in the head. It is good that he didn’t kill anyone else.

It's interesting that the reviews also touted the fact that a "your money back" guarantee was offered. ISTM that very few people would trust a money-back guarantee from a counterfeiter.

If the counterfeiter has a history of actually providing the money back, they may actually be quite trustworthy.

I don't know much about counterfeiters, but with ransomware, there's the danger that you pay the ransom and the criminal doesn't decrypt the data they were holding for ransom. If ransomware hackers don't decrypt the data regularly, they'll gain that reputation and people won't pay out the ransoms, which destroys their business model. So ransomware hackers almost always decrypt their victims' data.

I suspect something similar happens with counterfeiters and other DNM sellers: they actually have to provide good customer service, including refunds when promised, in order to keep a good reputation.

EDIT: I'll also add, that assuming people doing illegal things don't follow a system of ethics is a very "square" viewpoint. Sure, some criminals do behave completely amorally, but many simply have ethical systems which don't agree with the law.

because the payment would be in bitcoin, can't counterfeit bitcoin.


It cost $120 in bitcoin to buy a $100 counterfeit bill? How does that make any sense

> four fake $100 bills for $120 in bitcoin

You get $400 for $120 in bitcoin.

A 330% ROI.

I can understand the appeal, though I question the sanity of ever trying to pass the $100 bill off after purchasing it on the black market.

Trade them to suckers for more bitcoin and repeat?

A friend of mine was scammed in exactly that way. So, yes.

> “There are so many questions I would have liked to ask him,” said Wesley Gillespie, a Secret Service agent who chased Johnson for a year. “How did he learn to make these so well? Who taught him? Where is the bitcoin?”

The Dark Web is very educational

Its the real HackerNews

Is it, though? Do you have first hand knowledge of this? Every time I try to look at things on "the dark web", I read through hidden wiki, see a few completely empty forums, laugh, then turn tor back off.

That's because hidden wiki was seized and doesn't exist anymore. What you saw was a mirror of now severely outdated information + with more unsavory links deleted.

Exactly the same experience as GP. Please educate how to find better sites/forums/discussions. Once I saw one ad for 'r* *e videos' in some onion site while exploring and I immediately closed tor.

There exists at least one website or user that is available only as a hidden service on that network which has better information than sites on clearnet

So maybe you are asking the wrong question?

> Every time I try to look at things on "the dark web", I read through hidden wiki, see a few completely empty forums, laugh, then turn tor back off.

Your search techniques aren't useful. All the information is bought from vendors, and they likely will only send you a file over a peer-2-peer encrypted chat, or in a message with their pgp encryption.

Vendors do not talk on forums much to avoid analysis.

All you have are user reviews.

Vendors come and go.

Maybe we're talking about different things. I don't mean "looking for things" as in: "looking for things to purchase". I mean that I'm looking for the weird hackery message boards of my youth.

It doesn't matter, information is disseminated in encrypted peer 2 peer chats, and nobody will talk to you or give you a username to message them unless you paid them

It is not indexed. The only thing that is indexed are reviews, which you can only use the reviews and the escrow systems to have a better chance of not being duped or scammed

I wonder if we're confusing some terms here. When you are saying "the dark net", are you specifically talking about darknet markets?

So, for instance: there aren't hosted forums, or other repositories of information? How does somebody get an index of the people to even talk to in these chats?

It is accurate that you would find these people on dark net marketplaces, and those places frequently also host forums

when I say "the dark web", I'm referring to things I know are hosted on TOR.

what are you having trouble with here? I told you how to use them, you won't be able to recreate your childhood. The most useful hidden services are the dark net marketplaces, and they do harbor an extremely efficient level of tools, exploits, and more. now that there is a monetization model, and still privacy concerns, you won't have hackers posting stuff just for bragging rights, so there are a variety of reasons why there is nothing to be indexed.

So much this. I miss all those forums, mailing lists and IRC chats. I

I think you have the words 'hacker' and 'cybercriminal' confused.

There are probably also good hacker resources.

Supposedly theres some docs about secret nsa tech, though I never tried to verify any such claims


Could you please increase the amount of information in your comments? We're here for thoughtful, substantive discussion.


You're the one who mentioned education. It's sort of odd to call people out for misinterpreting your own statement in a certain way when they didn't note anything about that that aspect of your statement.

I think you're trying too hard to justify your original comment. At a minimum, you should address the point in question, not just throw a random non-sequitur back.

> not just throw a random non-sequitur back.

(I would respond to other posts, but Hackernews mutes users for 2 hours after getting downvotes. They believe this is a helpful system, even though responses often shed light on perspectives and the poster's actual intent, flipping the direction of how people perceive a thread)

Sure lets dissect that

I responded to a non-sequitur, I originally said the Dark Web is an educational place, and it is likely where the person learned how to make the high quality counterfeits. A coherent response to the article. Better hacking techniques are discussed on at least one website that is only accessible on that form of the internet.

I said it was educational, because you can read about the latest techniques. Only criminal actions make a criminal, which the dark web does not do. So to reply as if it does is a non sequitur.

I am also aware of an antiquated use of the word hacker that some people on this site want to defend and disassociate with unauthorized entry into system, even when that antiquated use isn't mutually exclusive from the colloquial direction that word went 30 years ago. There is a time and place for semantics, and there is no improvement to the conversation for that place to be here and now.

Nobody made any claim it wasn't educational, just that they took issue with the terminology for who it targets. That wasn't a non-sequitur.

You ignoring that aspect entirely and focusing on it being about its educational aspects. That's the non-sequitur.

As to the terminology in question, there is a time an place for semantics, and to a greater or lesser degree, it's always. Sometimes you can get away with being very loose, sometimes you should be more specific. In dealing with a community which identifies with a specific aspect of a term, ignoring that identification or contradicting it is at best tone deaf, and at worst needlessly confrontational.

Semantics improve communication by signalling a common agreement on the meaning or terms in a conversation. In that respect, they improve conversation. Just because you place little value on something (even if in a specific situation) does not mean it actually has little value, or that others do not benefit from its presence.

To be clear, I didn't care about your first comment one way or another. I didn't think it added much, but it wasn't worth me downvoting. Your followup which was at best confusing but possibly entirely unrelated to the point it was responding to (thus the non-sequitur designation) that then went on to denigrate the entire community of this site to suggest in an off-hand way that we are all falling for propaganda was definitely not advancing the conversation usefully. If you had presented it in a more coherent and supported manner, as you attempted in your reply to me, I would have considered it a useful and welcome addition to the conversation, even if the subject matter was to call me out as subject to the whims of propaganda presented here (a topic related somewhat to ones I touch on often here, such as contextual interpretation and state of mind).

I find this conversation interesting and worth participating in and contributes something, even if not on the original topic entirely, I just didn't think your original rebuttal remotely met that bar.

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