Did you know that what you see through searching on Google or Yahoo is only about 4% of the content on the world wide web? The other 96% exists in the ‘invisible web’ or the ‘deep web’.

The deep web are parts of the world wide web where the content is not indexed, so not picked up by standard search engines. It exists on databases, through peer-to-peer networking.

In order to access the deep web, you need to use a special web browser like Tor.

This method of sharing encrypted data allows users and website operators to remain anonymous and untraceable.

Hence, it has become a popular nesting ground for criminal activity – known as the ‘dark web’.

The ‘dark web’ exists within the deep web and because of the untraceable nature of the deep web, has created new law enforcement challenges. It is used to traffic drugs, weapons trading, identity theft, sale of ransomware, child pornography and even advertises hit men for sale.

Silk Road, which became one of the popular websites on the Dark Web was known as the Ebay for drugs. Law enforcement authorities were successful in shutting down Silk Road after they spread malware through the platform, exposing users’ IP addresses and locations.

However, that is only one criminal site, and you can imagine that as soon as that was shut down, thousands popped up in its place. It is an ongoing battle.

In only July of this year, the Guardian newspaper made claims that one of its journalists was able to purchase someone’s Medicare number on the darkweb for under $30.

What makes law enforcement in the dark web so hard is:

  • the users and hosts are anonymous;
  • the currency is bitcoin – again, presenting challenges in tracking the activity;
  • the transactions occur across multiple Countries – all which have different laws. For example, someone in China could be buying drugs from someone in Russia. Which laws apply? Which Country will pursue the offence?
Traditionally, countries have not worked together well when it comes to this type of international cyber crime. However, the Australian Federal Police continue to fight the war.
Ultimately, the dark web is a sinister and dangerous place, and you should stay away!

Suzanne Brown is a Director of McKays and Mackay’s only QLS Business Law Accredited Specialist. She can be contacted on 4963 0820 or [email protected]