Just How Dark Is The ‘Deep Web’?

cyber crime

Trend Micro report uncovers disturbing details about the underbelly of the Internet

A new report has attempted to shed some light on the kinds of illegal and immoralactivities carried out on the deep web, an area off limits to the majority of Internet users.

Below the Surface: Exploring the Deep Web is the result of two years of research by security specialist Trend Micro and unsurprisingly discovered that cybercrime is the activity most associated with the deep web.

Dark Times

The report found that light drugs (e.g cannabis) were the most-exchanged goods, followed by pharmaceutical products like Ritalin and Xanax, hard drugs, and even pirated games and online accounts.

Also uncovered were money-laundering services using Bitcoin, utilising the anonymity offered by the cryptocurrency to move Bitcoin using a network of micro-transactions. Customers simply need to pay a handling fee to exchange currencies resulting in the same amount of money, but without having gone through easily traceable transactions.


Hacker, cyber crime © Stokkete, Shutterstock 2014Trend Micro obtained the results using its Deep Web Analyzer (DeWa) system, which collects URLs linked to the Deep Web, including TOR- and I2P-hidden sites and Freenet resource identifiers, before trying to extract relevant information tied to them like page content, links, email addresses, HTTP headers, and so on.

Overall, the company has collected more than 38 million events that account for 576,000 URLs, 244,000 of which bear actual HTML content.

English is the main language of choice, accounting for 62 percent of domains. But Russian wins based on URLs – accounting for 41 percent versus 40 percent for English.

“Anonymity in the Deep Web will continue to raise a lot of issues and be a point of interest for both law enforcers and Internet users who want to circumvent government surveillance and intervention,” Vincenzo Ciancaglini, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro wrote in a blog post announcing the report.

“Right now, there seems to be a race between “extreme libertarians” and law enforcement agencies, with the former trying to find new ways to become even more anonymous and untraceable.

“As such, security defenders like Trend Micro need to continue keeping tabs on the Deep Web as its role in the Internet and the real world grows.”

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