Dark Web

James Scott aptly quotes that there’s a compounding and unraveling chaos that is perpetually in motion in the Dark Web’s toxic underbelly. The so called Dark Web is a dispense of the clandestine internet,is usually conjoined with a host of illegitimate activities along with the purchase and sale of drugs, arms and ammunition, stolen financial information and other sorts of valuable data. The merchandising point? Total obscurity.

Notwithstanding the fact that not everyone uses the dark web to do criminal activities. There is a psychology of humans to do things but in a manner that they don’t get found. There is a part to this dark web which is nefarious and that you might see something which you wouldn’t be able to forget.

Criminals have been exploiting mundane communication methods for decennaries. Beginning with customary telephones,they found ways of articulating in codes to not get caught by law enforcement. Transitioning into the modern area, systems of communication have evolved ineluctably. With the invention and consequential evolution of the internet the world became more connected than ever, allowing people to access every corner of the globe
digitally. There are three realms of the web namely Surface Web, Deep Web and Dark Web. The Deep Web consists of websites that are not indexed by search engines such as Google Chrome or safari, they are arduous to find than traditional websites. While the Deep Web does not maliciously contain illicit material, Dark Websites are classified as Deep Web because they cannot be accessed by traditional internet browsing methods. The dark web markets have been a major source of controversy because these sites are hosted by many countries and law enforcement struggles to locate the servers and find the identities of those responsible for setting them up. A study performed by the RAND Corporation revealed that the purchase of illegal drugs on the dark web have risen three fold since 2013.

It is important to differentiate between TOR(the onion routing) and the dark web when looking to establish an understanding of how illegal activity is able to evade being caught. You can access the dark web using TOR, but TOR is not the dark web. The original purpose of the onion routing was to create a secure way to send messages across the internet. TOR offers excellent anonymity to both legitimate and non-legitimate users. Some developers have created tools
such as Tor2web, Onion2web that may allow individuals access to Tor hosted content without downloading and installing the Tor software, though accessing the dark web through these means does not anonymize activity.

Bit coin is the currency that is often used in transactions on the dark web. Its is a decentralized digital currency that uses anonymous, peer to peer transactions. Bit coin acts more like a digital ledger. Since the personal information such as names associated with the accounts are not there so its a more secure form of sending currency to another users.

One of the studies done on Alphabay demonstrates the high volume of vendors available on alphabay at its peak point. An article published in the international journal of drug policy stated that “The analysis of the market place ‘alphabay’ found that 2188 unique vendors offered goods and ‘drugs and chemicals’ section. However, only 1750 of those vendors were actually able to send drug items during the servey period.” (Tzanetakis, 2018) This volume of vendors not only speaks to the importance of the sites take down, but also how much dark web markets have grown.

Spearheaded by the FBI, the investigation was comprised of agencies from a number of country worldwide. After acquiring months of intelligence, the FBI located the servers an individual responsible for operating Alphabay. In a press release, the FBI stated that “In early July, multiple computer servers used by the alphabay website were seized worldwide, ans the site’s creator and administrator — — A 25 year old Canadian citizen living in Thailand — — was arrested.”

Just as criminals can rely upon the anonymity of the dark web, so too can the law enforcement, military, and intelligence communities. They may use it to conduct online surveillance and sting operations. Reportedly, officials are continuously working on expanding techniques to de-anonymise activity on the dark web and identify malicious actors online.

Written by Vaishnavi Kaushik
(Runner-up of Techni-Kalam an event of Fluctuation Online 2020)

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