The United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has published its annual report and this year made particular note of the issues thrown up by the illicit trade of goods and drugs on the so-called dark web. IT Security Experts from AppRiver and Lieberman Software provided their viewpoints how the police can target dark web superstores.
Troy Gill, Manager of Security Research at AppRiver:
“The level or anonymity provided on the dark web allows providers and the consumers of these products and services to operate with a much greater confidence level than would otherwise be the case on the internet. Knowing the drastic lengths that law enforcement must often go to in order to identify these people makes it such a fertile grounds for these sorts of activities.
The encryption and randomisation that the dark web utilises makes it exponentially difficult for law enforcement to locate the actual perpetrators. While it is not impossible to bring both providers and consumers to justice, it is still the safest alternative to mass distribution of illicit products and services. I imagine authorities will naturally focus efforts on the sites they perceive to be causing the most harm.”
Jonathan Sander, VP of Product Strategy at Lieberman Software:
“Darkweb players like The Real Deal Underground are successful due to a strange brew of assumed anonymity, misplaced trust, and overconfidence in technology. When someone who has grown up in the Internet age pictures buying drugs on a street corner they feel much more exposed than if they are clicking around the darkweb. They feel as if clicks on a website are somehow much more anonymous than a transaction on a street corner, when the reverse is likely true even on the darkest parts of the web. These people trust their own skills and the skills of those who are selling them things, but both are likely bad choices. Only the most skilled can truly hide themselves anywhere on line when the real hunters come looking for them. And the sellers are often risking everything to make a buck and simply trusting the technology to protect them. It’s a house of cards when illegal trade flourishes on line, but as long as that house produces profits people stay in it until the last card falls.
Growing up in the city, it was common to see men selling counterfeit designer goods and a lot worse on the streets. They were ready to run the second anything that looked like a cop walked by, even ready to abandon their goods to make the getaway. I have to imagine darkweb vendors are much the same way. Most of these bad guys are likely nervously looking around all the time ready to run away the minute they think anyone may be there to bust them but few seem to be caught.”