Tracing Crime on the Dark Web
It’s the section of the internet that is unknown to the vast majority of people. The Dark Web is a network of websites and servers that use encryption in an attempt to keep their activities secret. It isn’t indexed by search engines but it’s where fraudsters buy drugs, guns, credit card details and personal information. In fact, when researchers at King’s College, London, looked at the contents of nearly 3,000 sites on the Dark Web, they discovered that 57 per cent were hosting illicit material.
The Dark Web is accessed via special browsers such as TOR, an open source protocol with a suite of plugins that has been built on top of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser. The source and destination of web traffic are anonymised by passing an IP address through a network of other, encrypted IP addresses.
While the Silk Road, one of the best-known aspects of the Dark Web, is used by drug dealers and their clients, financial data is one of the most common forms of personal information sold and bought by fraudsters on Dark Web generally, while login details are also highly sought after. These can be used to access sensitive information on corporate sites as well as personal bank accounts. Information ends up on the Dark Web through sources such as data breaches, phishing or skimming and illegal activity by an individual within the organisation itself.