The bowels of the Internet can be a scary place, as evidenced by a site called The Armory—a no-questions-asked, secret weapons-supply store. Accessing it requires the anonymous Internet browser TOR, which routes users’ searches through a variety of other computers in order to register fake IP addresses. Once they have arrived at the site, shoppers can purchase weapons including small handguns, assault rifles and bazookas, as well as body armor, ammunition and explosives.
Once buyers have converted their money to the site’s online Bitcoins, anonymous arms dealers from around the world will ship weapons to them in pieces disguised as everyday goods to foil the ATF. Even though crooks can get firearms fairly easily without the Internet, The Armory represents a disturbing possibility: Criminals are adapting to new technology faster than the government can keep up. Online freedom and anonymity should certainly be protected, but the world needs to remember that anything can be used for nefarious purposes.
—Posted by Christian Neumeister
The Bushmaster M4 is a 3-foot rifle capable of firing thirty 5.56×45mm NATO rounds, and used by spec ops forces throughout Afghanistan. It’s a serious weapon. But in the Internet’s darkest black market, it’s all yours. Who needs a background check? Nobody.
The Armory began as an offshoot of The Silk Road, notable as the Internet’s foremost open drug bazaar, where anything from heroin and meth to Vicodin and pot can be picked out and purchased like a criminal Amazon.com. It’s virtually impossible to trace, and entirely anonymous. But apparently guns were a little too hot for The Silk Road’s admins, who broke the site off from the main narcotics carnival. Now guns, ammo, explosives, and more have their own shadowy home online, far from the piles of Dutch coke and American meth. But the same rules apply: with nothing more than money and a little online savoir faire, you can buy extremely powerful, deadly weapons—Glocks, Berettas, PPKs, AK-47s, Bushmaster rifles, even a grenade—in secret, shipped anywhere in the world.