The Dark Web has become a conduit for all types of illegal activity. From drug dealing on the darknet all the way to terrorist movements, it hosts thousands of platforms for people to stay underneath the governmental radar. While many infamous drug-dealing platforms have been busted, more and more are popping up and reminding us just how far this really goes. Despite efforts of law enforcement, the drug trade in the dark web is still going strong.
What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web is part of the World Wide Web that is not accessible by standards means such as search engines or other password-protected and encrypted networks and requires specific software to access. Many of these websites require the use a Tor browser, or Onion Router, which uses a method of transmitting data anonymously over the Internet. There are roughly one thousand Tor proxy servers on the Internet that provide routing paths. Put simply, this means that I could access a website from my home in the U.S. and if by chance the powers above wish to investigate, it would divert the traffic from my browser to let’s just say Moscow, Russia. This software allows users to remain anonymous when browsing the web.
The Silk Road Case
One case in particular that brought this subject matter into the mainstream was the one involving the Silk Road, which was once recognized as the Amazon of the Dark Web.
Silk Road operated as a Tor Hidden Website and launched in February 2011. It initially had a limited number of available new seller accounts. People would have to bid for a chance to sell on the site, but it was later changed to allow anyone to pay a flat fee to sell on the platform. The site brought in millions of dollars in profits every month and operated by the later convicted Ross Ulbricht. Shortly before his arrest, authorities accused Ulbricht of hiring assassins to murder six individuals who threatened to turn him over and shut the site down.
The Silk Road was shut down in 2014 as part of the FBI’s Operation Ononymous, which targeted over 400 criminally-run websites. The government estimated the site profited roughly $200 million and facilitated over $1.2 billion in drug transactions before it shut down.
One Down, Many More to Go
Drug dealing on the darknet reportedly doubled in the 10 months following the fall of the Silk Road. The United Nations reported that “the variety of drugs available and purchased on the darknet appears to be diverse and growing”. The online drug market quickly bounced back and other online black markets continued to find other means of staying hidden. While the market has splintered, it still remains vast and plentiful enough for people to access copious amounts of drugs anonymously.
Like the Silk Road, they employ the use of the online currency Bitcoin, which allows users to pay for drugs online with no bank account ties, which makes it very hard for the government to really crack down on who is actually buying the stuff.
The Dark Web is currently teaming up with several new markets and thousands of other dealers to serving the always booming demand for drugs. Police forces had to add several other sites that spawned since its take down. Purchasing and selling drugs through anonymous online networks still poses a major problem to authorities and continues to grow.
Drug Dealing On the Darknet
Just a few years ago, buying drugs online using Bitcoin applied to a niche group of people who know about these black markets and were tech savvy enough to access them. It has become much more common in today’s society, says Adam Winstock of the Global Drugs Survey. The results of the survey showed that 22 percent of the 80,000 respondents had obtained drugs online and 44 percent of them had done so for the first time in 2013. “The growth of purchasing psychoactive drugs online in recent years reflects the growth of ecommerce more generally,” Winstock says. “Convenience, product choice, price and user ratings make buying drugs online attractive to some users.”
Gets a Lot More Twisted
While drug dealing makes up a large portion of the Dark Web, it is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a slew of other products that are sold like firearms, cyber-arms, counterfeit currency, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, stolen credit card information, hacked bank account information and others that are far more heinous like hit-for-hire services and child pornography.
While the nation’s war on drugs continues, the Dark Web has created a whole other beast, which remains more complex and just as twisted. It is reaping the benefits of the ever-expanding field of internet software and continues to thrive, all the while authorities continue to refocus their efforts to bring an end to it.
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If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and need heroin addiction treatment or kratom addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to call us. You may reach us anytime at 855-416-8202. Also, if you suspect a loved one participates in drug dealing on the darknet, then encourage them to reach out today.