Ross Ulbricht: A Case Study

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In 2011, Ross Ulbricht, a bright 29-year-old man, created an online bazaar where he sold illegal drugs, credit card details, hacking tools, and fake ID’s on the dark market he later called the Silk Road (United States Of America v. Ross William Ulbricht, 2014). Using the demand for narcotics to his advantage, Ross Ulbricht successfully established an organized criminal enterprise that became a huge transnational threat. Thanks to the help of 1) aliases, such as Dread Pirate Roberts, 2) Tor, encryption software to prevent surveillance or tracking, and lastly, 3) Bitcoins, a form of digital currency, Ross Ulbricht was able to cloak his operations and evade law enforcement officials for three years (Bearman, 2015). His operations were mostly anonymous; …show more content…

This hierarchy system allows an organized criminal group to operate as a business that essentially relies on supply and demand to offer a variety of illicit material to their consumers. Today, due to advanced technology, we’re starting to see smaller groups of hackers act as organized criminal enterprises on the Internet. As a result, cybercriminals have been able to adapt a hierarchy and apply it to their own forum, cyberspace. Many cybercrime groups act as a swarm, where there’s a common goal but no central authority (Broadhurst, Grabosky, Alazab, & Chon, 2014). In the case of the Silk Road marketplace, this criminal enterprise was structured as a hub (Broadhurst, Grabosky, Alazab, & Chon, 2014). This means that the Silk Road is more organized with a focal point of criminal authority, essentially outlining a chain of command and allowing for a hierarchy system to come into play (Broadhurst, Grabosky, Alazab, & Chon, 2014). Due to the attention this case brought to this criminal enterprise, the current leadership of the Silk Road is unknown. This shows how the hierarchy of this group is becoming more linear, as advanced technology ensures that members and users remain completely

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