The Crime Associated With Deep Web

The deep web is home to some of the most dangerous criminals in the world. Not only is it more dangerous, but the deep web is “500x larger than the surface web” and that the deep web “makes up 90% of the web” (“Deep Web Crime”). However, not everything on the deep web is illegal. The deep web can be defined as anything on the internet that is not commonly found using a search engine, like Google. For example, a homemade fangirl website about the newest boy band with not a lot of activity is on the deep web, even though it is perfectly legal. However, on the dark web, contraband is surplus with items like weapons, drugs, and hitmen. Users are able to stay anonymous through their browser and buy using bitcoin, an encrypted form of currency which is impossible to track. The dark web is growing at an alarming rate, and actions must be done to prevent it from taking over the whole web. Although some users on the internet do not see the dark web as a threat, the dark web is going to continue to expand and threaten society if awareness is not spread because of low arrest rates, the selling of illegal contraband, and the constant reproduction of markets.

One of the main reasons the Dark Web is so successful and hard to contain is because of the low successful arrest rate by authorities because of the anonymity of the Dark Web. To access the Dark Web, it is recommended that users download a VPN, or virtual private network, to mask their IP address, which is a six digit code that authorities can use to track your location and see where you are accessing the web from. Also, users must use the Tor browser, which is the most popular browser that allows access to these sites. Tor makes the user use an encrypted code as the URL instead of a basic .com or .org site, making it that much harder to track (Guccione). “‘If a person has used tools from the dark web to hide his number, the investigation ends right there, as we do not have the necessary tools and software to trace the person,’ a senior police officer said” (Kaushik). However, not every user gets away with their crime on the Dark Web. Authorities are able to go undercover and impersonate a user trying to either buy or sell contraband, which can lead to receiving an address or even a real life meetup, where authorities would be able to make an arrest. Nevertheless, these attempts rarely succeed because buyers are very cautious and never rarely give their own personal information. The FBI uses malware to hack the users VPN and get their true IP address, but local police offices do not have the technology to do this, making it very hard for the FBI to catch a surplus of criminals on the Dark Web (Kaushik). Because of the anonymity of users, it is very difficult for local police to catch users because they do not have the technology and do not have the addresses of users in order to make an arrest. Because not many criminals get caught, this affects society because there are many more criminals not in jail where they should be, but instead living their free lives.

In addition to the lack of arrests, another reason the Dark Web attracts criminals is because of the surplus of narcotics and other contraband. According to Findlaw Team, there are many crimes committed on the dark web, including illegal drug and arms sales, sex trafficking, terrorism, child pornography, and murder for hire. Websites make is very easy to commit these crimes, for example the trading of credit cards.

AntiOnline's 21-year-old founder, John Vranesevich, is monitoring a popular chat room where 'carders' are trading filched account numbers. A message pops up from a carder using the online pseudonym--or handle--ELGOD: 'Wanna trade USA ccdz? I got 5 Visas, 1 MC, 1 Virgin Visas [sic].' 'Ccdz' are credit cards, 'MC' means MasterCard, and 'virgin' denotes a stolen number that has yet to be used illegally. Carders often seek equal exchanges of stolen numbers, Vranesevich says, but other acceptable trades include pirated software or password access to violated computers. (Mannix)

Since the rise of the dark web, the amount of identity theft crimes continue to increase because of the surplus amounts of illegal activity going on that authorities have trouble stopping. However, why should people buy from the dark web over traditional ways of buying illegal items? On the dark web, the anonymity protects you majorly. The seller does not see the face of the buyer, so would no arrest could be made. Also, the chances of you getting traced off the dark web rather than a local dealer giving the police are much lower on the dark web. Also, the prices of these items are much cheaper on the dark web than any other source. For example, 600 USD can buy you 2500 counterfeit USD, promised to pass the normal ultraviolet tests. On the dark web, the price of an identity is an average of twenty-one USD, while it can cost hundreds of dollars through traditional sources (Deep Web Crime). This presents a danger to society because illegal items should not be able to be received both commonly and cheaply, as well as with a lower risk of being caught by authorities. This causes contraband to be floating around, which is bad for any society. This affects the everyday person because crime rates will go up with the easy access of illegal items.

Not only will the anonymity of users and surplus of contraband on the dark web help it continue to grow, but the constant reproduction of markets and websites are a main reason the dark web is growing so quickly. According to Deep Web Crime, the Dark Web makes around 100 million dollars in yearly revenue, and that number only continues to increase. Not a single market makes all this money, rather many small, easily replaced markets combine to create this number. This is not good for authorities because the reproduction makes it extremely hard to stop the crime as a whole, as new markets appear constantly. However, the reason for the many small markets is because the most popular market, SilkRoad, brought in the majority of the Dark Web’s yearly income. SilkRoad was created by Ross Ulbricht, an American who at the time of his arrest had made around 35 million dollars. “Mr. Ulbricht was arrested and the site taken down in late 2013, but imitators quickly proliferated” (Popper). Ever since SilkRoad was taken down, no major website has taken control, which benefits the criminals and users on the Dark Web. Now, it is nearly impossible for authorities to seize every small website found on the Dark Web. This hurts society because as the dark web continues to grow, illegal items will continue to float around and cause more crime. As for the future of the dark web, it will continue to grow if actions are not taken or if people around the world are not aware of its existence.

Although the dark web is home to some of the worst crime on the web, some say that is does have some positive effects. For example, “the dark web enables the communication of human rights activists and whistle-blowers around the world” (Radunovic). Users in North Korea for example can log into chat rooms to discuss the outside world, which the supreme regime of North Korea does not allow. Citizens may use this information to start resistance groups or have enough knowledge about how bad their country is to leave and start a new life instead of living in poverty for their whole life. This, however, is not entirely good for citizens. It is very dangerous for people to revolt against a very powerful and unforgiving government, and if they are caught using the dark web they are most likely killed and their family will get murdered as well. Also, it is very difficult to access the dark web in these countries. Citizens can listen to other groups in their country about the outside world, which is safer and easier than accessing the dark web. Even though the dark web might have some positive effects on certain societies, the drawbacks outweigh the benefits by far. Nobody should access the dark web no matter their situation because of the risks to their safety as well as easier ways to fulfill their needs.

Although some feel the dark web can be used positively to communicate freely, the dangers of the dark web outweigh the good and produce a threat to society because of low arrest rates, the surplus and selling of illegal contraband, and the reproduction and closing of markets. The arrest rates remain low because attaining personal information during a purchase rarely happens due to the anonymity of buying. The surplus of drugs and other contraband keeps markets fresh and never out of stock, making them available at all times of the day. The reproduction and closing of markets prevent police from making big arrests and keep authorities from being able to track users. Even if you want to communicate without the outside world if you are in a censored country, there are other ways that are not only easier but much safer. The dangers of the dark web should be avoided at all costs but still be made aware to protect society as a whole.

07 July 2022
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