The Dark Web is the hidden set of Internet sites that can only be accessed through specialised web browsers, the best known specific software for this purpose being the so-called ”Tor” (The Onion Rout
It aims to maintain privacy and anonymity, as the pages you browse or communicate with remain hidden from outsiders and search engines.
This type of website is generally associated with illegal content and criminal intent on the part of the people accessing it, as well as with ‘trading’ sites where users can purchase illicit goods or services. However, they are not illegal to access and can be used as normal to connect to the internet anonymously and protect user data.
The fraud lies in the use that the individual makes of it, i.e. whether the Dark Web’s advantage of concealment of identity (anonymity) is used for the commission of crime.
Among the legal uses that can be made of this website, we can highlight the following:
Participation in online forums, adult-to-adult chat when dealing with legitimate issues, collaboration with journalists, use of social networks, access for activists, reading the news…
No obstante, a pesar de lo indicado, es cierto que la misma tiene una especial vinculación con la comisión de actividades ilegales, como, por ejemplo, el tráfico y compraventa de documentación falsa como pasaportes, documentos de identidad, la adquisición de armas, transacciones de medicamentos o sustancias prohibidas, subasta de contraseñas consistente en su extracción y posterior venta, comercio de datos bancarios, entre otros.
The difficulties in combating crimes committed on this dark web require constant monitoring and tracking of each of the search engines and browsers used on the dark web, which is carried out by the National Police’s Central Cybercrime Unit.
The key, according to experts, is to look for flaws to gain access, identify the forum and its participants, and then shut it down, including the creation of fake profiles by the agents in order to infiltrate the Dark Web users.
One of the best known and most high-profile cases of cybercrime committed on the Dark web was ”Operation Dark HunTOR” or ”Dark Hunter”, launched in 2021, in which authorities from 9 countries worked together for 10 months through the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats. This operation resulted in the arrest of 150 people from various states who were active on the Dark web for the sale of drugs, weapons and other illegal products and services.
Precisely, with this operation, users are warned of the existence of sufficient means to fight against the commission of illegal activities even in this type of dark net area.
Therefore, according to the above, the Dark Web is not illegal, but, unfortunately, many of its websites are spewing out illegal content despite the authorities’ attempts to restrict it. It all depends on how each user chooses to use it.
Article written by Cynthia Zárate