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The main alternative to underground drugs marketplace Silk Road has come back online despite a major security breach.
On Thursday the owner of Black Market Reloaded, an online drug and firearm store similar to Silk Road, announced in a forum thread entitled "End of the road" that the site was being shut down due to a major security breach which could lead authorities to identify him.
However, less than six hours later, the proprietor who goes by the name backopy, updated the post to say Black Market Reloaded would be re-enabled posting the new address to the site.
At the time of publication IBTimes UK was able to access Black Market Reloaded where it offers everything from cocaine to grenades in exchange for Bitcoins. Like Silk Road, Black Market Reloaded is only accessible on the Tor network, also known as the deep web, which is not accessible using traditional browsers or searchable using Google or Bing.
Following the shutdown of Silk Road on 1 October, Black Market Reloaded saw a big increase in traffic as customers sought an alternative place to buy illicit items. As a result the site's servers were unable to handle the increased volume of traffic and backopy decided to employ a virtual private server (VPS) to make sure the site didn't crash.
A VPS can be set up much faster than a physical server and typically people offering VPS services don't ask for identification. The problem however is that VPS services also come with less privacy, as you are not entirely in control of the server yourself.
Backopy found this out to his cost, with the administrator of the VPS "snooping" on the files he uploaded to the server and after figuring out it was Black Market Reloaded who was using the server, leaked the source code of the website to a German discussion forum.
Once the code was released, it was quickly matched with another Bitcoin project which was linked to an account on the Bitcoin Talk forum belonging to someone called BCEmporium. People immediately suggested this was the Backopy.
Following the initial post announcing the shutdown of the online marketplace, Backopy announced on Thursday evening that "after reviewing the code and what could be compromised, I decided to re-enable BMR."
Backopy added he/she would continue to monitor the website for "any potential bugs or holes."
Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of operating Silk Road for two-and-a-half years has been ridiculed in some parts for making similarly sloppy security errors leading the FBI to arrest him while sat in a public library in San Francisco.
As well as shutting down Silk Road on 1 october, the FBI also seized 26,000 Bitcoins which were in escrow and belonged to the people selling items on the site. Following backopy's inital post on thursday afternoon, several Black Market Reloaded sellers voiced concerns over the same thing happening again:
One user, calling themselves TSC, said they lost $46,000 when Silk Road was shut down and was set to lose $3,500 if the same thing happened to Black Market Roloaded:
"I spent all last night putting out packages. I´ve just posted 23BTC [$3,285] worth of product all in escrow. Please tell me that escrows will be automatically released using this URL that you´re putting up. I lost close to 46K on SR, if TSC takes another hit from BMR then we're out of the game for good."