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Risk

5/10/2019
03:00 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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Demystifying the Dark Web: What You Need to Know

The Dark Web and Deep Web are not the same, neither is fully criminal, and more await in this guide to the Internet's mysterious corners.
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Cybercriminals Act Outside the Dark Web
As law enforcement takes down Dark Web marketplaces like xDedic and Wall Street Market, cybercriminals are taking their activity elsewhere. The disruption of their existing ecosystem isn't getting rid of crime - it's forcing people to take illicit transactions to private forums, encrypted messaging applications, or, in some cases, in the open of the surface Web.
'What we've seen is there are some very high-profile takedowns that are happening globally,' Flashpoint's Camacho says. 'Criminals are shifting infrastructure.' Organized criminals operating in Dark Web marketplaces are forced to change their tactics if their infrastructure is shut down. The trend, he says, is to move toward chat services like Discord, Telegram, and WeChat. Criminals who already have established relationships with one another don't need the Dark Web to work.
'They've found trust among those individuals, among those personas or aliases,' Camacho continues. Cybercriminals, especially those who work in drugs or other illegal products, operate based on who they trust. When it comes to things like credit card fraud, this level of trust doesn't matter as much. If someone sells you a bad number, it's easy to find another one on the Dark Web.
Social media platforms are also helpful in understanding threats, says Flashpoint chief operating officer Josh Devon. 'You have to be looking where the threat actors are really doing their dirty work,' he says. 'But it's not just enough to monitor Twitter. You have to look in different communities.' Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have begun to target criminal groups.
Some types of criminal activity are better-suited to messaging services and chat apps, Wilson points out. For example, some people believe terrorist groups coordinate on the Dark Web, but it's easier for them to operate using messaging systems, she explains. 
(Image: Prima91 - stock.adobe.com)

Cybercriminals Act Outside the Dark Web

As law enforcement takes down Dark Web marketplaces like xDedic and Wall Street Market, cybercriminals are taking their activity elsewhere. The disruption of their existing ecosystem isn't getting rid of crime it's forcing people to take illicit transactions to private forums, encrypted messaging applications, or, in some cases, in the open of the surface Web.

"What we've seen is there are some very high-profile takedowns that are happening globally," Flashpoint's Camacho says. "Criminals are shifting infrastructure." Organized criminals operating in Dark Web marketplaces are forced to change their tactics if their infrastructure is shut down. The trend, he says, is to move toward chat services like Discord, Telegram, and WeChat. Criminals who already have established relationships with one another don't need the Dark Web to work.

"They've found trust among those individuals, among those personas or aliases," Camacho continues. Cybercriminals, especially those who work in drugs or other illegal products, operate based on who they trust. When it comes to things like credit card fraud, this level of trust doesn't matter as much. If someone sells you a bad number, it's easy to find another one on the Dark Web.

Social media platforms are also helpful in understanding threats, says Flashpoint chief operating officer Josh Devon. "You have to be looking where the threat actors are really doing their dirty work," he says. "But it's not just enough to monitor Twitter. You have to look in different communities." Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have begun to target criminal groups.

Some types of criminal activity are better-suited to messaging services and chat apps, Wilson points out. For example, some people believe terrorist groups coordinate on the Dark Web, but it's easier for them to operate using messaging systems, she explains.

(Image: Prima91 stock.adobe.com)

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