Use of the anonymising Tor network has increased exponentially in the past couple of weeks, leading to not only the highest tracked user numbers since the birth of the service, but the largest growth spike too, leaving many people wondering what's been behind it.
One of the suggested reasons, are continued revelations from ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, prompting more people to seek refuge in the more secretive Tor browser software. However, this might not be the only contributor. It's possible than once again online drug marketplaces like Silkroad and Atlantis have had an impact on the deep web.
Previously, Tor use and Bitcoin value have grown hand in hand and it looks like it might be the case once again. Looking at the latest stats from Blockchain, it's at $145 per Bitcoin at the time of writing, up from a low of $69.70 just over a month and a half ago. This is of course, still way down on the currency's all time high of $237 in April, before the crash that brought it back down to more reasonably levels.
But nothing happened around the middle of August that could have sparked this boost… did it?
A little publication called Forbes, might have written something…
Looking at the share stats of a piece like this, you might not think it would have a huge impact, but drugs aren't usually the kind of thing people want coming up in their social networking feeds, so any sharing would have been done privately, via direct URL.
KitGuru Says: I'm not saying that the Silkroad piece saw over a million more people dive onto Tor, but I think it will have been a big contributor. If there's one thing the 30 year long war on drugs has taught us, it's that a lot of people like taking them and if there's an easier and safer way to get them, they'll probably do it.