Unearthing Criminal Activity from the Parallel Universe of Dark Web

February 2020

As most of us go about our daily online routines, surfing, shopping, and chatting with like-minded friends, others are doing the same  – on the Dark Web. If you think this sounds mysterious and even scary, you’re right.  It is where those wishing to remain anonymous or untraceable hang out, and predictably, those types of people also draw the attention of law enforcement.

Dark Web sites look just like “surface web” sites, but frequently host criminal activities. They serve as a marketplace for opioids, pedophilia and human trafficking, counterfeiting, and stolen passwords. Many Dark Web users prefer Bitcoin, which enables purchasing in relative anonymity. Non-Dark Web users usually only hear about the Dark Web on the news, when events taking place there lead to arrests or even deaths.  But Dark Web is very much on the minds of law enforcement officials, who unfortunately are not always able to see the impact of Dark Web activities until tragedy strikes their community.


Jumping Down the Rabbit Hole

In Dark Web’s early days, an open marketplace platform such as Silk Road sold hundreds of millions in goods and services, and took years for authorities to stop. While marketplaces no longer operate on that scale, the reduced size simply makes them harder to detect. Like any market where demand is high, marketplaces open regularly, and at a much faster rate than authorities can close them down. 

These sites offer a menu of illegal activities, from stolen credentials, ransomware and other cyber attacks to bomb-making and murder-for-hire, often complete with how-to instructions for those new to the game. Keeping track of these sites, which carefully take extreme measures to avoid police detection, is an ongoing challenge – one that many law enforcement agencies lack the resources to handle.    

Difficult – but not Impossible

The Dark Web doesn’t make life easy for those who police it, but at the same time, it’s certainly possible to unearth its secrets.  Voyager Labs gives law enforcement investigators a platform from which they can analyze Dark Web marketplaces and even closed forums on an ongoing basis. To learn more about how Voyager Labs can help you identify Dark Web threats, click here


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