Slur digital market: Anonymously auction secrets, zero-days or blackmail for bitcoins

Slur is a new digital marketplace for whistleblowers, disgruntled employees and psychopaths to anonymously sell dirty secrets of governments and corporations, to auction off zero-days for bitcoins, or to profit from blackmail.

Not every new online marketplace would dare to go with a tagline of “you’re going to hate it,” but then again there are not too many digital marketplaces setup for blackmail and for psychopaths willing to anonymously sell out their peers in exchange for bitcoin. That’s not the entire purpose of Slur, “an open source, decentralized and anonymous marketplace” that calls itself WikiLeaks 2.0; Slur is setup for whistleblowers and disgruntled employees to profit from the dirty little secrets of governments and corporations, as well as for people inclined to sell zero-day exploits, stolen databases, details about backdoors in software or hardware and proprietary source code.

While you may or may not hate the idea of this anonymous digital market that “operates over the Tor network with bitcoin transactions through libbitcoin,” the type of information expected to be sold for bitcoin on the Slur marketplace is trippy. Suggested items to sell include:

  • Trade secrets.
  • Designs for every type of consumer product.
  • The source code for proprietary operating systems and high end CAD software.
  • Zero day exploits. For the market defined value rather than a price determined by the corporations under the guise of a bounty with the veiled threat of legal action should the researcher choose to sell elsewhere.
  • The details of backdoors covertly installed inside industrial and consumer hardware and software.
  • Stolen databases. Corporations will no longer be able to get away with an apology when they fail to secure their customers confidential data. They will have to pay the market value to suppress it.
  • Proof of tax evasion from disgruntled or underpaid employees. Both the IRS and the public have an interest in that information and the corporations will have to bid to suppress it - a very quantifiable and predictable payoff for the seller.
  • Military intelligence relevant to real-time conflicts.
  • Aerospace and defense designs.
  • Evidence relevant to ongoing trials.
  • Unflattering celebrity photos and videos.
  • The complete databases of social media sites like Facebook.
  • Proof of government corruption. Close to an election.

Are you wondering if this a joke or if it was setup by feds to fill the void after shutting down Tor darknet sites? The u99 group posted videos about Slur. The u99 group has a Tilt campaign to raise $200,000 in order to fund the next six months of Slur’s development. So far there are no takers and I didn’t see a creation date for the campaign. If a Tilt campaign to collect money from a group were opened today, Nov. 12, it could run until Jan. 11, 2015, which is about 60 days. Although the timing may seem a bit suspicious due to the recent shutdown of illicit marketplaces on Tor, the person listed for Slur’s WhoIs posted on the Bitcoin Forum back in July that u99 intended to start a crowdfunding campaign in order to release open source projects.

How does Slur work?

A seller signs, encrypts, uploads and lists a document along with a brief description of the contents on the Slur marketplace. Buyers bid on the digital dirt via auction, but the funds are placed in escrow. When the high bidder gets the decryption key, the losing bid amounts are returned. The high bidder can be an individual or a crowd of bidders pooling their funds so the information goes public.

The auction winner evaluates the decrypted document to make sure it is what it claimed to be before the seller actually receives the bitcoin payment. If the bidder feels cheated because the goods don’t match up with the description and initiates a dispute, then five arbitrators also receive the decryption key to evaluate if the description fits the contents. “In trades where a dispute is initiated a small sum is paid to each arbitrator for their time which is deducted from the funds in escrow.”  

Besides catering to whistleblowers, the Slur site states:

It’s estimated that 5% of the general population are psychopaths. Introducing financial incentive in an anonymous framework will produce a greater yield of leaked information than from say the ideology that drove patriots like Edward Snowden. For every idealist willing to selflessly sacrifice their freedom, assets and even risk their lives for a greater good, there are 1,000 psychopaths willing to anonymously sell out their peers for material gain.

Organizations of every type; governments, corporations and the military are in the unfortunate predicament of having both a great deal of liquid assets and a large number of secrets to protect - accessible by numerous disgruntled or psychopathic personnel. When Slur becomes ubiquitous it will bleed organizations secrets and funds.

Slur claims,“Both buyers and sellers are fully anonymous and there are no restrictions on the data that is auctioned.” Yet neither Tor nor bitcoin are 100% anonymous and secure; it seems like a brave or foolhardy seller should make certain anonymity is guaranteed before trying to blackmail a government or corporation with seemingly endless pockets.

Three years ago Launch called bitcoin "the most dangerous project we've ever seen," suggesting it could "topple governments, destabilize economies and create uncontrollable global bazaars for contraband." Those same phrases could be applied to a digital marketplace such as Slur.

So, back to Slur's tagline of "You're going to hate it". . . do you?

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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