“A Look Below The surface Into the Deep Dark Web”
The Dark Web has become a resource for the shadier side of society to conduct business and network with other like-minded individuals who seek to engage in criminal/amoral activities incognito. Anyone who wants to sell illegal drugs, guns, sex, fake IDs, engage in identity theft, commonly use the dark web. “The Dark Web refers to a portion of the deep web that can only be accessed by certain types of browsers and is intentionally hidden from most common search engines.”(Matt Egan, techadvisor.co.uk) Although the dark web is not only used for criminal activity, its cloaked attributes make it ideal for unlawful aspirations. While there may be some justifiable uses for the dark, the truth is that the invisibility of using it makes it the perfect venue for the black market.
It’s possible for anyone, who really wants to, to use the dark web. “The dark web is not a single, centralized place. Just like the surface web, it is scattered among servers around the world. This article will instruct you on how to access the dark web through Tor, short for The Onion Router Individuals that are interested in accessing it do so by using something called onion networks.”(Paul Bischoff, comparitech.com) Tor is a very common, user friendly, anonymous network that is compatible with most operating systems. Using this type of software is not illegal but is generally used to accomplish illegal interests.
The dark web effectively facilitates criminals who need a viable marketplace to conduct their type of business. Users can find just about anything they want on the dark web. As an example, when large companies are hacked, their customer information is placed on the black market using the dark web. “Mature PayPal and eBay accounts (accounts with years of transaction history), are sold for up to $300 each. Mature accounts are less likely to be flagged for suspicious transactions.”(trendmicro.com) The dark web has a multitude of black market marketplaces where a person anyone could buy or sell illegal goods or services. Some of those market places are successfully infiltrated by law enforcement, but when one shuts down, a new one appears. One of the most despicable uses of the dark web is human trafficking and child pornography
Locating an illegal market place is pretty simple, once a person get on the dark web. For example, Silk Road, one of the most popular of all dark web black market places, has been removed, still brings up vast amounts of alternatives in a search. Buyer beware though, as with any criminal transaction, a person is putting themselves at legal risk with the authorities if they chose to shop on any of these types of sites.
“The Silk Road website, which has a customer-friendly electronic storefront that displayed bricks of cocaine as deftly as Amazon displays books, was the cyber-underworld’s largest black market, with $1.2 billion in sales and nearly a million customers. Beyond illegal drugs, the site served as a bazaar for fake passports, driver’s licenses and other documents, as well as illegal service providers, such as hit men, forgers and computer hackers.”(Joan Murphy, Tory Hargro, Kevin A. Kepple, Donna Leinwand Leger and Jerry Mosemak, usatoday.com) In 2013, the FBI shut down the site and arrested Ross William Ulbricht, the founder of the site. Ulbricht went on to being convicted of charges related to his role in operating Silk Road and received a life sentence from the charges.
One of the first rules in law enforcement is “fallow the money trail” and the dark web is no exception. For years, law enforcement has been catching criminals by following their illegal transactions. This is why the dark web is so dependent on cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is the digital form currency that uses cryptography to secure its transactions. They are a subset of digital currencies.
The most well-known currency is bitcoin. Bitcoin’s success is predominantly associated to its use of blockchain. “Basically, cryptocurrencies are entries about token in decentralized consensus-databases. They are called CRYPTOcurrencies because the consensus-keeping process is secured by strong cryptography. Cryptocurrencies are built on cryptography. They are not secured by people or by trust, but by math. It is more probable that an asteroid falls on your house than that a bitcoin address is compromised. After confirmation, a transaction can’t be reversed.”(blockgeeks.com) These specific properties allows both parties to engage in a transaction with a certain level of confidence that does not depend on trust or a third party. This type of transaction is ideal for criminals because of the precarious situations it eliminates.
Because it’s so hidden and cannot be found by surface searches with the common everyday search engines, the dark web is ideal for career criminals. Even when law enforcement is aware of the illegal transactions, it’s still sometimes impossible to trace the perpetrators. Although the dark web is commonly used for illegal purposes, it is also used for political resistance and activism. This means that, even though it may be easy to ban onion networks, most countries have elected to avoid infringing on those types of basic freedoms. As it stands, the dark web serves other invaluable purposes and isn’t going anywhere for now.
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