Trend Micro research team delves into the Deep Web

News by Danielle Correa

For years, the Deep Web has been portrayed as an inaccessible side of the Web, requiring a lot of technical skill. Though this is correct to an extent, that characterisation only applies to a small portion of the Deep Web.  

In order to analyse and collect its contents and keep tabs on ongoing activities, Trend Micro's Forward-Looking Threat Research Team has done extensive work exploring the Deep Web. The results aim to give readers a better understanding of what really goes on in the Deep Web and effects it could have in the world.

Anonymity is the predominant feature of the Deep Web, and many people would want to use and abuse that.  For instance, people who want to protect their communications from government surveillance may want to hide out in darknets. However, those with malevolent intent can also benefit.  For example, drug sellers won't want to set up their shop where law enforcement are easily able to determine their IP address. Anonymity will continue to raise issues and be of interest to law enforcement and internet users who want to mislead government surveillance and interference. “Extreme libertarians” are trying to find new ways to become even more anonymous.

Cyber-crime in the form of pirated games and online accounts, illegal drugs, particularly canabis, and pharmaceutical products (eg Ritalin and Xanax) are amoung the most exchanged goods in the Deep Web.

The Deep Web is also home to Bitcoin and money-laundering services. Bitcoin offers a level of anonymity for its users. As long as users don't link their wallet code to their true identities, they are still anonymous to some degree. Even so, Bitcoin transactions are public which gives investigators the ability to examine them. Several services have grown in the Deep Web that offer to move Bitcoins through a network via micro transactions.  The customer will pay a handling fee with the added bonus of having transactions that are tougher to track down, resulting in more privacy. 

As the role of the Deep Web continues to grow, Trend Micro says it will maintain tabs on activity there.

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