The coronavirus pandemic has created pandemonium for traditional businesses. But experts have revealed how criminals continue to make money by increasingly turning to a little-known area of the internet.
Edvardas Mikalauskas, Senior Writer and Researcher at CyberNews has revealed how drugs, weapons, and pornography have widely available to almost anyone with internet access.
He told Express.co.uk: “Alongside the ‘normal’ internet that we use on a daily basis, websites have a huge archive of unindexed material – the Deep Web.
“However, a more concealed part of the web exists that Google never touches.
“Because of its secrecy and the anonymity it provides, this has been coined the Dark Web and it has become a key place for users to make illegal transactions for drugs, weapons, and pornography.
“Worryingly for internet users, stolen identities are also available for purchase on the Dark Web in huge quantities.
“As well as a rise in the purchase of illegal goods, the growth and development of the Dark Web has facilitated a rise in identity theft.
“In the modern day, identity theft and black-market identity auctions are thriving, and costing people millions of pounds a year.
“Worryingly, identity theft is on the rise, up to 2,200K, with the Dark Web playing a key role in this statistic.”
Jake Moore, Cybersecurity Specialist at global security company ESET also believes the Dark Web should be considered a growing threat to health and security.
He said: “With the growth of anonymised networks, it is inevitable that we will continue to see the Dark Web expand, and the consequent increase in sales of illicit drugs and other contraband.
“The inherent link to cryptocurrencies makes the dark web a perfect breeding ground for nefarious trading to take place.
“Unfortunately, there are no securities in place when transactions go wrong, which only helps to fuel criminals into hiding in the shadows without the risk of capture.”
He added criminals are brazenly using increasingly sophisticated tech to ply their trade.
Mr Moore said: “Such dark web crypto-markets sometimes provide step-by-step guides and phone helplines designed for newcomers – while some even have TrustPilot-type review systems in place to build buyer confidence.
“However, buyers are still no safer in knowing exactly what they are buying from these sites – and this can be extremely dangerous to their health and safety.
“When things go wrong, there is rarely anyone these buyers can turn to without the fear of personal repercussions.
“Those using crypto-markets to sell goods and services will continue to revel in their ability to be anonymous until more authorities work together in trying to combat this very modern criminal activity.”