Into the Dark Web: Black Markets Sell Everything,Personal Information, Drugs, Guns / ダークウェブに潜入してみた

in bitcoin •  11 months ago

Infiltration into the Dark Web: Online Black Markets Sell Everything from Personal Information to Drugs to Guns

A clandestine region called the dark web exists on the Internet. This is a deeper realm that can only be accessed via specific software. During our investigation on spam, Your Special Mission News Crew was informed that this dark web is used to buy and sell personal information. The Crew carried out an “infiltration” to confirm this and found a state of anarchy.

“P__sonal info___tion available”

Late April, we found the following post on a dark web message board: “Credit cards. E-mail addresses. Any number acceptable. Volume discounts can be considered.” The blanks can each be filled in with “er” and “rma,” revealing the full phrase to be “personal information”. This is being traded in a dark world that cannot be searched by major search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

The site we accessed was a Japanese message board called Onion Channel. While it resembles 2channel on the World Wide Web, the posts here are loaded with code words. Exploited for various types of transactions, there are more than 2,000 posts that advertise illegal items on sale.


An website listing marijuana for sale

One term that particularly stood out was “ice,” which is used to refer to stimulant drugs. The sellers declare that they will deliver such drugs to specified locations for ¥30,000 to ¥50,000 per gram. “I live in Saga and I can’t get any vegetables. Can anyone share some with me?” Of course, this does not mean that Saga Prefecture, one of the major producers of vegetables, is suffering from poor harvest. Vegetables, in fact, refers to marijuana. An e-mail address was listed as a way to contact this buyer, making it seem as though these traders were in the mail order business.

We sent an e-mail to an “ice” dealer and got a response in 3.5 hours. "I can hand it to you directly or send it by post,” was the reply. The dealer even stated that we should “be certain [of our request] because it’s not necessarily a cheap purchase.” Indeed, the price of ruining one’s life is immeasurable.


The reply e-mail from the “ice” dealer. It also said, “Be certain because it’s not necessarily a cheap purchase.”

The dark web goes through multiple overseas servers to increase users’ anonymity and confidentiality. Historically, it has been used among journalists and activists in countries under dictatorships to exchange information. It was also used by WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website that was uncovered numerous confidential documents, to obtain information anonymously.

“Criminals noted these characteristics [of the dark web],” says Seigen Takano, head of the security firm Sprout Inc. You can find anything on these message boards: fake ID cards, lucrative part-time job offers with monthly pay checks of 2 million yen, dealers that break up couples, as well as those who assist clients in escaping overseas. It reads like a wild manga storyline.

“Tokarev. 6 rounds. First come first served.” This is a military-grade, automatic revolver made in Russia. It even had a kind note: "Please be aware that the spring is old.”

You can also find cryptocurrencies on the dark web. We found a post that read: “Convert various types of cryptocurrencies into cash, for 15% of total amount plus a transaction fee of ¥100,000.” The approximately 58-billion-yen worth of NEM that was stolen from Coincheck, a major cryptocurrency trader based in Tokyo, was also converted to a different cryptocurrency on the dark web. That money was laundered and is now difficult to trace or recover.


Is it possible to crack down on these dark markets? While the police appear to be monitoring the situation, there seems to be an obstacle that prevents investigations. Mr. Takano reveals that “while North America and Europe has allocated both people and money to bust rings through international operations, it is difficult for the police in Japan to investigate and trace overseas servers. What is more, sting operations are not permitted by law, so it is extremely difficult to track criminals.”


The Onion Channel message board. A “weapon seller” listed a Tokarev, a military revolver.

The dark web also has malicious "trap" sites, where someone merely browsing can get infected with viruses or have their information stolen. For this investigation, the Special Mission News Crew used a computer that was isolated from our network to limit the potential damage from viruses. We were also extra cautious when accessing the Internet so as not to affect the newspaper production process.

Mr. Takano warns, “You should never access the dark web light-heartedly. It's like walking into a sketchy alley with your wallet in your hand.”

ダークウェブに潜入してみた 闇市場まるで通販 個人情報、薬物に拳銃まで





















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