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The dark web is also known to have a Grey Area which cannot be classified as completely beneficial to society

Delivering young minds with holistic information that dives deep into every element of the dark web

Delivering young minds with holistic information that dives deep into every element of the dark web

Within the intricate tapestry of the internet lies a beast, namely ‘ The Dark Web’. Growing on the Internet, it has penetrated deep into the realms of cybersecurity. Encapsulating the figment of the imagination of both cyber enthusiasts and cybersecurity experts, this notorious section of the internet has evolved into a hub of illicit activities, from drug trafficking, and corporate espionage to ransomware attacks.

Skilled at breaking down pillars of cybersecurity, the advent of the Dark Web has opened an altogether new gateway to cybercrimes which has shaken the cores of diplomatic, governance, and entrepreneurial worlds. Elevating the crime rate to a whole other level, India in 2023, as per NCRP’s report, witnessed a seismic 61% increase in cybercrime complaints, with 129 complaints being reported per lakh population.

Uncovering the Integration of Dark Web and CyberCrimes

The dark web has undoubtedly served as a thriving ecosystem for cyber attacks, in tandem with which India’s remote district Nuh recently accounted for more than 28,000 cybercrimes, particularly rooted in the space of the Dark Web. Spawning into a lucrative economy, the dark web has become an illicit marketplace that hosts an array of illegal goods, including drugs, stolen items, weapons, counterfeit money, and much more.

Transcending the bounds of Cybercrimes, the Dark Web has recreated a new form of crime, particularly ransomware attacks, wherein cybercriminals encrypt victim’s data such as financial accounts, social security numbers, or identity cards and demand a ransom for the release of the same. Taking an even more refined form, the Dark Web has become the Hubspot for government and corporate espionage as it sells sensitive information, significantly making apex organizations vulnerable to full-fledged attacks.

Anonymous Dark Web Activities

The dark web is the most secure part of the deep web which provides a safe haven for criminals to carry out illegal and immoral activities. The Dark Web is the place where every illegal and notorious activity takes place. The various activities include.

  • Dark Markets: there are several dark marketplaces such as Silk Road, and Alpha Bay which offer a plethora of illicit drugs, narcotics, and even contraband weapons for sale. Aesthetically these websites resemble any shopping websites with photographs and descriptions of the product but here drugs, weapons, and even exotic animals and their products are sold for cryptocurrencies. It has been suspected that some marketplaces also sell products made of human flesh!
  • Assassination services:  there are websites such as White Wolves and C’thuthlu dedicated to this purpose, where a person can hire a professional assassin to kill someone. The rates of a person varies such the price to kill a politician would be higher than a normal person and the person who’s meant to be killed should be 18 years or above. These websites also provide for betting on the death of a person and people can bet on his date of death or place etc.
  • Terrorism: the anonymity of the dark web enables terrorists and extremist groups to propagate their agenda and attract like-minded individuals. Various forums are used as the recruiting tools for new candidates. This hidden cyberspace also allows them to carry out transactions to fund their operations.
  • Human experimentation: This website is an example of the sadist and twisted mindset of people. This website offers detailed accounts and reports of gruesome medical experiments that were performed on homeless people who were largely unregistered citizens. The experiments on these people include injecting them with deadly diseases and carrying out live surgeries etc.
  • Gambling: Bit-coin became the most preferred crypto-currency as it is the most secure mode of transaction. This feature also makes it most suitable for gambling activities on the dark web. Several websites are offering Bit-coin gambling, most of which have been taken down.
  • Child Porn: The most obnoxious activities on the dark web are relating extreme pornography relating to children and even infants. The multitude of websites offering access to millions of video clips attracts pedophiles. The websites offering such content include Playpen, Lolita City, and Candy Cane to name a few.

The dark web is also known to have a Grey Area which cannot be classified as completely beneficial to society but does possess the potential to make an impact this includes

Hacktivism: This is another issue that falls in the grey area of dark web usage. The hacktivists use their hacking skills to shed light on critical social and political issues. They use offensive methods to do justice. Anonymous is a well-known group that hacked into freedom hosting websites and took down various child porn sites such as Lolita City and also stole the credentials of 1500 visitors of the website. The act of taking down was appreciable but they used illegal methods launching a DDoS (Denial of Service) attack. The vigilante justice is immaterial in cyberspace

Countering the Dark Web through the Network of Cyberpeace

Cognizant of the rising popularity of the Dark Web which poses a direct threat to national security, governance, and economy, the Government of India has stressed the importance of digital trust and legitimacy, urging sovereign-nation states to take caution against excessive freedom in the digital ecosystem. Furthermore, India has begun the formulation of a uniform cyber strategy, real-time reporting of cyber crimes, along with bolstering awareness regarding cybercrimes.

Although India has established the Indian Cyber-Crime Coordination Centre to ensure a comprehensive response to cybercrime, there is still a pressing need to adopt a collaborative approach where private and government players take proactive steps to establish an intricate network featuring cybersecurity experts, who can not only bring down their walls but can also build our stronger than ever. It’s important that apex organizations and governments both inculcate their teams with robust security training, which will not only facilitate awareness but will enable them to be prepared to both identify and counter any such attacks effectively.

Since education goes a long way in fostering a cybercrime-ready workforce, it’s high time that educational curriculums include cybersecurity training and prepare the future workforce to be aware of the workings of the dark web. Delivering young minds with holistic information that dives deep into every element of the dark web and associated cybercrimes, will be instrumental in helping to move beyond the space of cybercrimes and going ahead will actively chart the path towards a culture of cyberpeace.

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