How Resourceful Drug Dealers are Using Instagram



Law enforcement agencies have had their work cut out trying to keep up with recent trends in online crime. But as technology and policing become more sophisticated, so do criminals. According to VentureBeat, some drug dealers are getting inventive with methods to sell on Instagram without repercussions.

VentureBeat contributor Fletcher Babb, has been covering this story for several months now, and has identified seven steps in setting up an anonymous drug-dealing presence on Instagram:

  • Get a laptop
  • Install Ubuntu (a variant of the linux operating system)
  • Install Virtualbox, which allows users to run another OS inside Ubuntu
  • Run an Android emulator inside Virtualbox
  • Subscribe to a VPN (virtual private network) which will anonymize your outgoing data
  • Connect the Android OS to the VPN
  • Download Instagram through the emulator, and start posting.
  • At this point the Instagram account will be connected to a phone that doesn’t really exist, and tracking the data associated with the account is nearly impossible. Combined with an anonymous messaging app for discussing specific transactions and an anonymous payment system like Bitcoin, this process makes transactions essentially untraceable, according to Babb.

    Instagram is by no means the only platform making less than legal transactions — Reddit has a gun trading community that has been accused of acting suspiciously. And even though Silk Road keeps getting shut down, the site is not without competition.

    As crime develops, it will always find ways to use new technologies to either expand its customer base or to outfox the police. And try as they might to keep up, law enforcement agencies frequently seem to be one step behind.

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    As sinister dealers in mass death, the CIA could at least spare us its snarky tweets


    Intelligence analysts at the CIA’s Open Source Center have been sifting through 5 million tweets a day since at least 2011. So it was inevitable that the agency would want to join Twitter itself.

    The spooks’ first tweet, issued yesterday, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day (I can neither confirm nor deny that the timing means anything), made news for its self-aware sense of humor:


    The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), replied to the CIA with a joke of its own:


    The link goes to DARPA’s Vanishing Progammable Resources program (VAPR) page. VAPR “seeks electronic systems capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner.”

    News media was highly amused.

    A little context: the CIA kills people. DARPA makes things that kill people.

    Most people killed by U.S. drones die at the hands of CIA employees. We’re talking about thousands of people. Most victims are innocent civilians.

    Torture at Guantánamo concentration camp was (and is) run by CIA agents. (After 9/11, the FBI was so appalled that pulled its agents out after witnessing CIA-run waterboarding.)

    Extraordinary rendition” — kidnapping innocent men and delivering them to Third World shitholes to be tortured and murdered — was (and is) a CIA program.

    The CIA is not — and should not try to be — funny or cute or cool. The CIA is an unbelievably sinister law unto itself, a highly effective tool of mass terror whose mission is to reinforce the economic and military domination of the United States over the planet; domestically, it exists to eradicate anyone or anything that threatens the relentlessly accruing wealth and power of corporate and political elites.

    The CIA is the KGB. The CIA is the SD. The CIA is the ISI.

    As evil as the Nazis were, at least their messaging was consistent with their actions. The SS weren’t nice guys; lest anyone be confused about that, they wore skulls and crossbones on their uniforms. Had Germany won the war, you wouldn’t turn to @Gestapo for droll quips. Hitler didn’t make Holocaust jokes; Mao didn’t turn meta on the Cultural Revolution at the Forbidden City Correspondents Dinner.

    The CIA’s Twitter entrée follows President Obama’s squirm-inducing one-liners about Predator drones.

    We live under an out-of-control dystopian police state that tracks our every movement, uses killer robot planes to slaughter countless innocents, and reserves the right to assassinate anyone, even an American citizen on American soil, without so much as a warrant from a small-town judge. While badass uniforms, Cathedrals of Light and cool banners are too much to ask of America’s ruling madmen, the least they can do is act serious.