The Things you’ll Buy on the Dark Web Are Terrifying
The Internet may be a scary place, and one security company has outlined just how scary it is often.
Software security firm Trend Micro released a report on Monday outlining the various ways people can order up drugs, guns, and even murder across the U.S. and Canada. the corporate analyzed sites and forums on the “surface web”—the industry term for the situation of searchable sites—and the “dark web links” where non-indexed sites reside. consistent with the safety company, it’s shockingly easy to seek out “forums and marketplaces” where drug dealers, illegal arms dealers, and even hitmen are waiting.
“Anyone armed with the proper search query can enter,” the corporate wrote in its report. “Underground trains are not a closed space that can access glass cabinets and store intruders. It is an electronic crime case and transparent glass tank that works. Cybercrime operations are treated like regular businesses.”
Perhaps most shocking is that Trend Micro’s analysis took it to underground sites that provide murder for hire. For $45,000, a hitman, offering “professionalism,” would murder someone upon request. Targets within the limelight would cost $180,000. Apparent hitmen also charge for crippling, bombings, making an individual “go missing,” and “simple” beatings of people or entire families.
“Many murder-for-hire sites guarantee a particular level of ‘professionalism,’” Trend Micro says. “Hitmen provide certain guarantees of keeping their clients anonymous.”
The results of Trend Micro are part of a larger “Underground” study.” The underground Internet or dark web is neither new nor by definition illegal—but for the overwhelming majority of individuals, it’s an unknown world they’ve never been to. Law-enforcement officials have long warned that the dark web may be a place where stolen Social Security numbers, credit cards, and illegal pornography are sold. It’s also home to illegal drug stores.
Still, there’s some speculation over just how big the dark web is. In August, Vice took a deep dive into the underground sites to ascertain how they operate. The investigation found that hit-men sites may either be fake or travel by undercover law-enforcement officials. The location called the mysteries surrounding the dark web little quite an “exaggerated myth” that encompasses a “small collection of internet sites .” Indeed, Trend Micro estimates that there are just 100,000 people surfing the dark web. The overwhelming majority of web sites living there—62%—cater to drug users. Just 1% claim to supply murder-for-hire, and a number of other reports over the years from investigators to Reddit users who claim to possess been on the dark web have questioned whether those sites are even legitimate.
Regardless, Trend Micro says accessing the underground Internet is somewhat easy, and users who do so often employ anonymizers to cover their identities. They often also pay within the cryptocurrency bitcoin, which encrypts transactions and hides the identities of these who own the digital currency. All of that anonymizing not only makes it harder to seek out users but also to work out the legitimacy of the sites and services offered.
The underground Internet became a focus earlier this year when Ross Ulbricht, the founding father of Silk Road, an underground e-commerce site where users could order drugs to be shipped to their homes, was sentenced to life in prison. While the location was taken down in 2013, Trend Micro says many others have cropped up in its place, offering customers everything from marijuana to heroin.
“Apart from actual drugs, guides on producing them or the tools needed to try to so also are available,” Trend Micro writes in its report. “We found a guide for creating crack, as an example, sold for a mere $5.”
Drugs and murder are just the ideas of the iceberg. Trend Micro found that customers can access devices that help them gain access to computers and servers. Found by Trend Micro, the e-commerce store has an easy drop-down menu that provides customers with all kinds of counterfeit goods, fake documents, and weapons. Consumers can also buy MasterCard has stolen or stolen passports.
Trend Micro (TMICY) says U.S. and Canadian governments are working hard at taking down the sites and finding those behind them. the corporate also noted that while making the sites more accessible to North American buyers could also be helpful in securing revenue, it also makes them more visible to enforcement seeking out such services.
Trend Micro wrote: “This is an underground window, maybe a glass case, the most opaque, it’s also fragile.” Although some criminal deals are open, they are embarrassing. The lifetime of most underground sites is brief. they might be up at some point and go subsequent. Investigations will need to continue with this fast pace.”