Simon Fraser University Cyber Crime and Dark Web Discussion

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Crim 380 week 12 notes (Dark Web & Case Study: Silk Road) Known internet has about 46 billion pages  real estimate about 1 trillion webpages Surface web (stuff that google actively searches) only 4% of web content Deep Web (stuff that you would need to search (google cant access easily) ex. Sfu student records, library journals  ~ 8 billion pages is available via search engines like google (rough est 94% of web content) Dark Web (stuff that is trying to hide itself) (usually sites in this category are used for malicious activity) ~ 2% of web content  all run on top of the public internet  Tor: The onion router – anonymity network that also features a dark net “hidden Important Services”  most popular instance of a darknet o each path is random, and encrypted with a different key at each node in the path o A does not know where B is, nor B knows where A is o B only sees exit point for A o Paths are rebuilt every 10 min o Each node only knows the next and previous node in the path ~ 50,000 nodes  I2P (invisible internet project) – another overlay network that features a darknet whose sites are called Eepsites  Freenet: popular darknet (friend-friend) by default; since version 0.7 it can run as a “opennet” (peer nodes are discovered automatically)  Retroshare: can be run as a darknet (friend-friend)  GNUnet: Darkent if the “F2F (network) topology” option is enabled  OneSwarm: a darknet for friend-friend file-sharing TOR network is used for communication  Ex. Chat application that runs on TOR  Hides all identities and IP addresses Also can be used for visiting websites  Alice can access sites blocked to her  Alice can access sites without them knowing her location Visiting Hidden Services  Hidden service = sites inside TOR network  Alice is anonymous and site is anonymous Access Dark web = anonymous web  Need specialized software  made available on Firefox (  Rules: (security) o browser must not bypass TOR proxy for any content o Browsers must not talk to any other browser sessions o Browsers must not write anything to disk o Browsers must not interact with any other application (privacy) o All browser sessions are independent and cannot be linked together o Must provide obvious/easy way to remove all history Studying TOR  out of 774 manually coded sites  52% of the sites were illegal (legality of dark web sites)  Good: anonymous communication o political problems o privacy concerns o easy to set up  Case Study: Silk Road  Hidden service, only accessible via TOR  registration was free  Dark “eBay” style site o ~13,000 sales listings o Mainly drugs, digital goods (hacks, banking Trojans, hacked accounts) o Forgeries (drivers licenses, passports) o Services (hacking custom twitter/fb accounts) o Hitman services o Buyer must supply feedback on the sale (created to establish trust for vendors)  Silk Road collected a commission of ~600,000 bitcoins  ~ $127million @ $212/bitcoin  Purchase process: buyer paid in bitcoins into his account, silk road takes a cut of roughly 6%  Created by Ross William Ulbricht (29years old) o “Dread Pirate Roberts” o Owned and operated Silk Road  Determined policies  Maintained servers  Maintained code o Used internet café to access Silk road, made mistake didn’t always use encryption or VPN  internet café identified o In 2011, “Altoid” posts comment driving visitors to Silk road  Later 2011, “Altoid” posts job-ad for IT person in Bitcoins  Posted contact Gmail address: o Accessed by investigators o Access IP addresses correlated with Silk Road o In 2012, user with username “Ross Ulbricht” creates account on programming website, asks “how can I connect to a TOR hidden service using curl in PHP?” o 2013, Ulbricht ordered fake IDs, delivered to his home  Needed to rent servers  Intercepted at border o FBI & Dept of Homeland Security identified his IP address o Collected activity of IP address (using a “pen/trap” to obersve) o Arrested Ross at a library with laptop open and logged into silk road o He was charged with:  Narcotics Trafficking Conspiracy [30 year minimum]  Computer Hacking Conspiracy  Money Laundering Conspiracy  Attempted Murder o Government can apparently aggregate many different individual drug charges because he acted in a role to help facilitate those sales o May 25, 2015 sentenced to life imprisonment w/o possibility of parole Silk Road 2.0  Went up Nov. 6 2013  shut down in 1 year nov 5 2014  13,000 listings for narcotics such as ecstasy and psychedelics as of October  Server in foreign country, maintained by person with email  Owner Blake Benthall could face life imprisonment Operation Onymous  Nov 5 2014 went up  400 sites shut down  Coordinated effort between 16 EU countries + US o Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.  Seized: bitcoins worth approx. USD 1 million o Euro 180,000 in cash o Drugs, gold, silver Currently: Dream market is the top cryptomarket  100,000 listings  50% are drugs, hacking tutorials, pswd for websites, Fake IDs, templates for things  Designer clothes, counterfeit money and stolen online banking info  1000 listings for drugs shipped in Canada Powered by TCPDF ( Discussion #1: This week’s module has elucidated the nature of dark web and its functions. The attractiveness of dark web is derived from the considerable degree of anonymity it provides for its users (Frank, 2022). As the most prominent darknet browser, ToR supplies such anonymity through a 3 layer data encryption system – in which the user’s data traffic is rerouted through the ToR network’s 50,000 nodes (Frank, 2022). While this satisfies the privacy needs of many innocent browsers and researchers, it is also an optimal tool to conceal some of the most heinous criminal transactions. This is well illustrated in how darknet has become a central breeding ground for child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Darknet has aided and abetted in the operation of “Boystown”, one of the world’s biggest CSAM forums that supplied severe sexual abuse contents of toddlers to 400,000 pedophiles, until its detection and prosecution in 2019 (Taylor, 2021). Although the open web provides access to the majority of CSAM, the NCA (National Crime Agency) has identified that the access to the most harmful CSAM contents is provided by the dark web (Barnes, 2019). In fact, this renders darknet a fundamental element in furthering the threats of in-person contact between the child victim and the pedophile (Grant, 2022). A recent study has elucidated that viewing of the CSAM and the severity of CSAM (ie. contents featuring younger victims) produces a higher likelihood of real life perpetrator-victim contact (Grant, 2022). Given that the dark web predominantly governs and provides for the most severe forms of CSAM, it generates serious security implications for many vulnerable youths. Despite the great potential the dark web and ToR browsers hold for criminal transactions, Canada has not criminalized the use of dark web or encrypted browsers (Lukings & Lashkari, 2020). However, Germany, on the contrary, has recently drafted a legislative bill with the intent to prohibit the use of ToR network – identifying it as the enabler of criminal activity (Skudo, 2019). Some have contended that this significantly compromises the right to privacy, and impedes freedom of speech (Skudo, 2019). Questions: 1. What are your thoughts on criminalization of the dark web and ToR (ie. benefits vs. issues)? 2. What are some of the potential challenges with criminalizing ToR or the dark web (ie. legal, jurisdictional, and anonymity issues)? 3. Is the privacy afforded at the cost of the harm enabled by the dark web justified? References Barnes, T. (2019). More than 144,000 accessing child sex abuse images through dark web inBritain. Independent. Retrieved from: Links to an external Frank, R. (2022). Week 12: Dark Web. SFU Canvas. Grant, H. (2022). Viewers of online abuse at high risk of contacting children directly, studyfinds. The Guardian. Retrieved from: to an external site. Lukings, M. & Lashkari, A. (2020). Understanding Canadian cybersecurity laws: Deep, dark, and undetectable – Canadian jurisdictional considerations in global encrypted networks (Article 7). IT World Canada. Retrieved from: Skudo. (2019). German Law Could Potentially Criminalize Use of the Tor Browser. Retrieved from: Links to an external site.of-the-tor-browser Taylor, J. (2021). Child Pornography website with 400,000 users shut down by German authorities. Independent. Retrieved from: Discussion #2: This week, we learned about the Dark Web. The topic covered how Tor works and how complex it is, the purpose of the dark web, the legal and illegal ways of using the dark web, and case studies about how law enforcement was able to shut down the illegal dark web. Studying this course, I am surprised every week to realize how big the internet is. However, this week's lecture told me that the internet we usually use with search engines is only four percent, which was shocking. Also, it was great to know how the dark web is used legally, such as in the army, for anonymity. When I thought about the dark web, I thought that the dark web was used for illegal purposes such as selling drugs, weapons, etc. For the discussion, I want to focus on the dark web and drugs among teenagers. With the big internet world, it becomes easy for people to discover not only useful or good knowledge but also becomes very easy to stumble upon information that is not helpful at all. Teenagers might understand the risk differently from adults; therefore, they readily accept and try out, such as accessing the dark web with a lack of knowledge about it. While reading several news articles about the dark web and drugs, I found the story of Liam (a fake name). Liam was one of the teenagers in Calgary who stumbled on the instructions on accessing the dark web on the internet and ended up buying heroin, methamphetamine, carfentanil, and LSD through the large deep web marketplace called Dream Market (Southwick, n.d.). Liam mentioned that he used the dark web as it protects his anonymity, allows him to check reviews before buying, and views thousands of products within a few minutes (Southwick, n.d.). The Calgary police also stated that buying drugs through the dark web allows people to purchase products with few clicks and receive them at home through delivery instead of meeting stranger at the back alley or street, which can be risky (Southwick, n.d.). Besides Liam, I was able to read other news articles as well that talked about how teenagers went to jail or died due to addiction after buying drugs through the illegal marketplace on the dark web. In Canada, drugs traded through the dark web are increasing due to big dark web markets, such as AlphaBay (Southwick, n.d.). Police shut down AlphaBay; however, many other marketplaces are still running, and new ones can appear anytime on the dark web. Therefore, I believe it is important for law enforcement to investigate and shut down the dark web marketplace websites as much as possible to prevent the use of the dark web illegally among teenagers to buy malicious products such as drugs and illegal weapons. Discussion Questions 1. What do you think are the main reasons teenagers use the dark web? 2. What can parents do when they find out their kids are using Tor to access the dark web? 3. Should the schools teach about the dark side of the internet, like the illegal marketplaces in the dark web, or do you think teaching this will increase their curiosity, making them more likely to access it? References Southwick, R. (n.d.). Inside the Dark Web Drug Trade. CBC News. Links to an external site.
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The Dark Web

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Discussion 1
My thoughts on the criminalization of the dark web and ToR are based on the issues
experienced and the benefits accrued from browsing using the dark web. The dark web provides
anonymity for the user, which boosts privacy and non-recognition options for web browsers.
Users can establish networks that hide their identity hence minimizing the vulnerability of
insecurity since other users cannot extract details of the user. Privacy provides free roam for
users and choosing content from the internet without fear of being judged and prosecuted for
undertaking their desired searches. Issues that the users of the dark web have experienced have
resulted in the consideration of law enforcement since they interfere with innocent individuals in
influencing their decisions. Most people have been involved in the drug trade through
connections created on the dark web through the anonymity provided. Innocent and underage
children have been involved in the trafficking of drugs which affects their normal lives and the
functions they undertake (Taylor, 2021). The criminalization of the dark web should consider
every factor in determining the benefits and issues arising from the use of the dark web.
There are potential challenges with criminalizing the dark web and ToR since the
equipment used for evidence extraction would be based on technology that provid...

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