​Cyber Crime in Dark Web and Its Solution to Overcome

By Dzakiyyah Hanifatulqolbi.

The development of technology make people find information easily only with a tap of fingertips. Especially with the growth of internet, the ease of access data, find information, and do communication is getting bigger. But, with the growth of internet too, personal surveillance ensued unwittingly. 

To prevent organization or people with specific interest surveillance user’s datas through internet, anonymous technology named TOR was established. TOR, the abbrevitaion of The Onion Router, is a technology that protects user’s data and information by anonymizing it with a cryptographic hash that replaced the IP adresses of the sender and the receiver.  TOR encrypting user’s data and routing it through its dedicated relay network that changing continously over a period of time. TOR give the packets of data a destination and wrap it with three layers that have been encrypted. When the packets crossing the TOR network, this three layers was peeled one by one at each relay. TOR removed the encryption when the packets arrive in one layers and at that time, the next relay identified. As the packets goes with this arrangement, the entire path from the packets being transfered to the destination are unrecognizable by every system.

The emergence of term called Dark Web is triggered by the presence of TOR. Dark Web is a part of content in internet that can not be access by standard search engine because it was protected by password or encryption and can be accessed by TOR. Dark Web was purposefully hidden from Clearnet, the term to called the regular internet content that accessible.

With the anonymity brought by TOR, a reporter can get a protection, everyone can get a freedom to speech, content that categorized confidential can be censored, and private and confidential communication can be free from intruder.

Despite its benefit, TOR was used by some people or organization to commit a crime in Dark Web such as drugs dealing, assassination, and terrorism altough TOR was created at first to create a secure and free from surveillance communication on internet and be a measure of security by U.S. Navy. This is proved with the advent of the web that is popular back then for drugs dealing known as Silk Road.

Silk Road has approximately 150000 buyers and 4000 vendors based on FBI’s criminal complaint filed in Ross Ulbright’s court. United States is the most populated city by the user of Silk Road. But, those user was contain of people from another country all over the world. Silk Road. Silk Road not only a place to do a drugs dealing and smuggling, this site have a messaging features that allow user, buyers and vendors, to interact. Users can also have a discussions about drugs, its effects, Bitcoin currency, which is the currency that used in Dark Web, vendor ratings, and the competence of the transaction.

Terrorism also have used Dark Web to do their action and complete their needs anonymously. Terrorist organization use Dark Web to spread their ideology, present news, and to declare that the use of violence is a righteous action. Study at the Institute for Security Technology Studies discover five categories of use of the web by terrorist : propaganda (to propagate radical message), recruitment and training (to motivate people to take a part in Jihad and take online training), fundraising (to send funds, defrauding credit card, and do other money laundering), communications (to give instructions, send resources, and give a support and motivation via email, chatroom, and digital photographs), and targeting (to commit online monitoring and search the susceptibility of the potential target).

Not only terrorism and drugs dealing, child pornography also take place in Dark Web. Freedom Hosting is a server that run in France and have contents that had been related to distribution of child pornography. Freedom Hosting that ran by Eric Eoin Marques is not only provided child pornography but also criminal hacking site HackBB and money laundering.

To overcome abuses of anonymity in Dark Web, IT Securities need to give an education and training to give more understanding the type of attacking to get to Dark Web and catch the perpetrators. Technique to find the perpetrators and seizing the illegal Dark Web can be learned by looking back what technique that was used back then to seizing illegal Dark Web that commit cyber crime.

Since Dark Web is a secret web that use encryption to hide the locations and all identity of the user, going undercover by posed as a drug seller or weapon seller is one of tactics to found the perpetrator and search their identity when they buy drug or weapon from the IT Securities that posed by drug seller or weapon seller. This technique was used by investigators to shut down Silk Road. By expropriate account of the staff in Silk Road and obtained trust, the investigators can found the marketplace’s owners, make a contact to the owners, gain information and share it to other agents.

Hacking to attack end point which is the device that is possesed by the users themselves is the other way and could be the effective way to beat Dark Web. This method was used by FBI to Playpen, a massive Dark Web that commit crime categorize child pornography. Investigators of FBI create and place a malware which can make the real IP address and location of the users can be revealed to investigators when users clicked a forum that related to child pornography.

Criminal in Dark Web can be careless and left a clues related to Dark Web in some posts that being public. This incident occure when a tax investigator named Gary Alford found the creator of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, being advertised on a forum about Bitcoin, some public post also including his email address that identifiable.

Dark Web used Bitcoin which is a currency that can be use without revealing who is the buyers and sellers. One of the organization that formed to tracking the transaction of Bitcoin was Homeland Security Investigation. This method was use back then to do an investigation to Silk Road staffers by Shaun Bridges who is a Secret Service. He draw a diagram that describing the flow of Bitcoin that come from Silk Road to Mt. Gox, an account that belong to Bridges in Silk Road. With this diagram, investigators can be able to follow the solid path from Bitcoin flow and identify where the funds and items that selled in Silk Road be transfered.


The advent of anonymous network called TOR was became a help for people to communicate with free from surveillance and give a freedom speech. But in the other hand, this anonymity was being used by some people to commit cyber crime such as drugs dealings, money laundering, terrorism, and child pornography.

To overcome those bad effects, training and education especially to investigators or IT Security must be done, so they can be able to catch the perpetrators and seizing the marketplace. This can be done by looking back to the past to learn what  technique that have already been used to seizing Dark Web that commit cyber crime. Several techniques that have been used to seizing Dark Web are going undercover, hacking, find information in public posts or documents, and identify the path of Bitcoin transaction.



Works Cited

Bartlett, Jamie. The Dark Net : Inside the Digital Underworld. New York: Melville House Publishing, June 2015.

Chen, Hsinchun, Wingyan Chung, Jialun Qin, Edna Reid, Marc Sageman, and Gabriel Weimann. “Uncovering the Dark Web : A Case Study of Jihad on the Web”. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59.8 (2008).

Cox, Joseph. 7 Ways the Cops Will Bust You on the Dark Web. 26 Jun 2016. Motherboard. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

How To Prevent Cyber Crime. 28 Aug 2013. Forbes. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Lacson, Wesley and Beata Jones. “The 21st Century DarkNet from the Fall of Silk Road”. International Journal of Cyber Criminology 10.1 (2016).

Yetter, Richard B. Darknets, Cybercrime & The Onion Router : Anonymity & Security in Cyberspace. United States: ProQuest LLC, 2015.


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