The Dark Net: Offenders Idea of Paradise?

Thought Leadership Webinar

See this fascinating webinar on The Dark Net: Offenders Idea of Paradise?, Chaired by Professor Martin Gill and The OSPAs

If you missed out on the day (24th March 2021), the webinar was recorded.

The webinar features esteemed leaders in their field,
Gary Hibberd – The Professor of Communicating Cyber at Cyberfort Group
Pauline Norstrom – CEO at Anekanta Consulting
Dr. Victoria Wang – Reader in Security and Cyber-crime at University of Portsmouth.

You’ll find the video it in our media portfolio alongside other videos on a range of topics from AI to Video Surveillance to Digital Identity. There is a link to it at the bottom of this page.

To go straight to the recording on You Tube click here

Here is our contribution to the panel discussion

Is the Dark Net the offenders idea of paradise?  I think we are led to believe that it is, but the Dark Net is simply a hidden internet of web pages accessed through a special web browser. You need a TOR browser such as Firefox to access the Dark net.

Using the Dark Net is not illegal. It is just a private network –  and to add to its legitimacy when it was was founded it was partly funded by the US Government to enable them to securely exchange information.

And in 2010 The Tor Project received the Free Software Foundation‘s  Award for Projects of Social Benefit by enabling roughly 36 million people around the world to experience freedom of access and expression on the Internet  while keeping them in control of their privacy and anonymity.  

The TOR browser connects to the internet using multiple nodes which encrypt the data at each hop and this generates a new IP address which can never be traced back to the source. This structure is what enables the Dark Net to remain dark. People legitimately use TOR to browse the surface web and Facebook and other social media providers have even produced TOR versions. 

For those who operate illegal activities, the veil of security and anonymity offered by TOR must seem like an attractive means of covertly trading the product of crimes such a cybersecurity attacks using cryptocurrency. 

Some companies make it easy for cyber criminals – and in a recent case prosecuted by the UK’s Information Commissioner, British Airways was fined the maximum £20m pounds for failing to protect the data of its customers. Security is getting more sophisticated – Advanced detection tools help cyber security professionals to determine whether a company email has been breached by trawling the Dark Net – and deep learning AI can be used to constantly monitor for critical data breaches. Monitoring allows fast action to be taken to change passwords and other measures. An out of date password holds no value to a criminal.

To be a successful criminal operating on the Dark Net, they also have to be exceptionally careful never to reveal their true identity which connects them  the physical world.But even cryptocurrency transactions are recorded on a public ledger, so in theory, with the right tools, it could be possible to identify a criminal’s transaction. 

Human behaviour is usually the weak link, whether it is security vulnerabilities designed in to products, or simple operating procedures not being followed. The human factors which lead to a data breach such as insecure passwords are the very factors which can also result in criminals being outed on the Dark Net too. Also the Dark Net has been infiltrated by law enforcement who operate without detection.

So is it a paradise, not really. 

But it is still difficult to trace and prosecute criminals who sell illegal data or ransomware through the Dark Net. Companies vulnerabilities will reduce if they take a responsible approach – they must have Cyber Security on the Board agenda and ensure that the right policies and training are in place, and finally – to treat their data as an asset of the business before it becomes a liability.

Original content Copyright 2021 Anekanta Consulting

You can also see the lively 45 minute debate in our media portfolio

For further information about Anekanta Consulting and our range of services click here or contact us at ask@anekanta.co.uk

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