27 November 2019

Accessing the Dark Web may be legal, but users may expose themselves to online crime such as cryptocurrency theft

The Dark Web is no longer being used by just hackers and drug peddlers. It is increasingly drawing in people from other walks of life — even in Singapore.

In September, a 47-year-old man here was sentenced to five years’ jail, for plotting to murder his former lover’s boyfriend by hiring a hitman on the Dark Web. And The New Paper reported in the same month that three other people in Singapore have been allegedly targeted through websites on the Dark Web that offer assassins for hire, with one of them believed to be a student at a school in Punggol.

While such transactions on the Dark Web are not allowed here in Singapore, accessing the Dark Web — which is a special part of the Internet that peddles illegal products and services — is not illegal.

Anyone with an Internet connection can access it, through the use of The Onion Router, or tor, which is an open-source Internet browser that anonymises its users. Tor encrypts users’ network traffic by routing it through several randomly selected relay nodes all over the world. Originally intended to make sure whistle-blowers stay safe and untraceable, this browser is free to download and anyone with Internet access can install it.

The main reason such browsers are used is because they offer users a substantial level of anonymity while surfing the Web, not revealing who the user is who visited the site, and it makes it hard, for example, for government bodies or Internet service providers to know who is a website visitor.

Shawn Tay

Shawn Tay

Senior Threat Intelligence analyst of Group-IB

The article is available at The Straits Times

Group-IB is one of the leading providers of solutions dedicated to detecting and preventing cyberattacks, identifying online fraud, investigation of high-tech crimes and intellectual property protection, headquartered in Singapore. The company’s threat intelligence and research centers are located in the Middle East (Dubai), the Asia-Pacific (Singapore), Europe (Amsterdam), and Russia (Moscow).

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