How Do We Catch Criminals On the Darkweb?

in life •  last year

If you are a long time reader of my content you probably know I am a huge fan of anonymity and the ability to have privacy on the internet. I think privacy in general is a basic right that we as human beings not controlled by the government, have. However, many people don’t see eye to eye with this idea and often believe we should sacrifice our privacy online to catch criminals abusing the pseudo anonymous nature of the internet. While I agree there are some people doing terrible things online, I don’t think sacrificing our privacy is the answer. Criminals will always adopt new technology in order to stay anonymous and sacrificing the average persons anonymity will just impact their lives. So how do we catch criminals who abuse others on the darkweb?

There is no perfect way to catch a single criminal because often there are different scenarios in each case, but overall there is one method that has proven successful again and again, infiltration. Communities of criminals online that break the law and abuse others, like pedophile rings, have one weakness, letting someone who isn’t properly vetted into their group. This is how the majority of takedowns happen on the darkweb. Because often the greed for a larger community and the belief of invulnerability of services like tor, criminals will let people into their group that are there for one purpose, to catch them.

Whether or not it takes a month or three years, these people will go undercover in these communities and pose as reputable members, often rising to positions of power. This is exactly what we saw in the silkroad case and how much of the evidence against Ross Ulbricht was compiled. Because these communities are often not completely self sufficient and outside help could be used, they are willing to let in people that may not be vouched for, but have a certain skill set. Silk road needed help with moderating and dealing with users and in came undercover FBI to help.

Once someone is trusted, often the statements they make end up becoming the most damning evidence against them. You start to trust someone who you work with for a few years and completely don’t expect they are trying to go after you. Criminals let little details slip and eventually these little details can culminate into actual evidence that shows who and where the person is. One little detail could unravel an entire empire, which we have seen happen before. Most criminals do not work alone and could not work alone if they tried.

The reason why the dark web now has ties to gangs and criminal organizations is because people with connections can do business more efficiently. This carries over into almost every form of criminal enterprise on the dark web, which is why infiltration is so effective. Understanding that brute force methods aren’t ever going to be successful and stealthier methods are the only way forward is key in learning how to catch criminals that are anonymous. If the government truly wants people that break the law online, they need to work hard to do it, not expose all of us and our privacy, so they don’t have to do their job.

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Well, in my country they would say: if you have got nothing to hide, then, why privacy?. It appears that is not the case just with my society but the global civ. People and internet users are not educated enough of what privacy really means to an individual. It is a foundation of democracy, liberal tought, triumph of some ideal society.

Privacy is not keeping secrets but simply keeping personal freedom.

Regarding the DW criminals, there was never a time in the history of civilization where humans didn't conduct criminal offences.


I think most people lack understanding of the importance of it like you're saying. People will gladly trade away freedom for "security" that never actually makes them safer.


And he who sacrifies freedom for security...loses both. Bit a cliche, still a truth.


I don't see myself as a hero because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.

Edward Snowden


You use your money to buy privacy because during most of your life you aren't allowed to be normal.

Johnny Depp.

I am a huge fan on anonymous movement. I like the idea of a bunch of hackers typing together for the good of makind.. but i also think those days no one have full privacy...
Governments like Usa or Russia have for sure technologies that are at least 20 years ahead of the current technology in the market. I truly belive every smart phone or laptop can be check anytime those days... i still belive Russia hackers "manipulate" usa elections, or i want to belive if you know what i mean😂. Anyway around darkweb i think there is to many dark secrets..... best regards and great post btw!!!!


Give yourself more opportunities for privacy, when you are not bombarded with duties and obligations. Privacy is not a rejection of those you love; it is your deserved respite for recharging your batteries.

Wayne Dyer


When ghetto living seems normal, you have no shame, no privacy.

Malcolm X

Privacy is a super import topic in the future I think.
This post reminds me of an app I installed today called "Signal", it seems to be an app that take privacy serious.

well put together and thought out post, thank you for sharing.
You are absolutely right, Police work will have to involve infiltration.
Much better that way, in the end of the day. If they think their hidden, so much the better. If everyone is forced into transparency, they wll just go deeper into secrecy.
I'm all for forcing anyone on the public dole, Right from heads of state on down into transperancy, that would clean their acts up :-)


If they don't have anything to hide what are they worried about? 🙄

It's the fault of governments. They've forced people into anonymity by spying on everyone and continuing the war on drugs. If you could buy cannabis from Walmart, that would negate the need for anonymous browsing in many cases and it would also empty out prisons.

Unfortunately, pedos, terrorists, carders and other people who really do need locking up, get to hide among us because governments make crimnals of us all.


WE Allowed the Gov't to get out of Control!

I feel anonymity (def in this case) works for us as opposed to against us .

When things would be more in the open, I can imagine people ending up being more frustrated and even being more tempted to do malicious things. Like if people wouldn't anonymously be able to watch porn, a lot of them might not do it and maybe even be more tempted to actually rape.

On the other hand does the possibility of anonymity allow infiltration in these groups and have them taken down as mentioned here. That would be impossible when people could just check you out.

I didn't do a lot of research on it, and might be missing out on things but this is how I could see it evolve tbh. Always open for other opinions!

Nice post! :)


Statistically you're right; as child porn became illegal and with heavier punishments rapes have went up. It used to, not even a few decades ago, be in playboy magazines and really easy to find.
That's obviously changed and you need some knowledge if you're into that, but unless you're a good little pedophile and don't want to hurt kids, then there's really no reason to beat it when you can do the real deal for no more risk if caught.

Infiltration is no longer possible as I just posted in my comment; to become admin on child porn sites they're now requiring you to make a video or pictures of you with your username and timestamp of you molesting/sexing a child.
You can't infiltrate that, not legally.

This hits so close to home, as coworkers do this to me to get ideas I have of value. I am a creative person. Really appreciate this article!

good read.. one of my favorite things to do is to find out how they find hackers or members of Dark web sites.... Was all on the leaders fault for getting caught. there is always a trail.. I find it interesting that people think Red rooms and the REALLY nasty stuff exist on the Dark web like you can google it.. Even the Dark Web has its DARK DARK CORNERS.. and even the FBI isn't finding those areas...

Its sad the Government's answer to TRY and stop a few people is to take ALL of our privacy and rights away.. people not doing anything illegal..

Your post got me to thinking,
Are there any good steemit articles about the dark web? There's lots on Google, but I'd be curious about if some steemit members have had good/bad experiences.

I did a steemit search, now I'll have to read through the results.

Excellent article and analysis. The darkweb is a very interesting topic! Thank you and good day

Privacy should be given to a limit where you aren't taking from others, harming them or harming yourself .

Excellent perspective!

Please follow back

I think Privacy is an illusion.


Love you :) Im following :) And im not a fucking bot, look below

tough piece of the puzzle to address in these questions is in clarifying the distinctions between classes of crimes - and if we're truly looking to evolve maturely as a society, defining new boundaries and borders defining exactly what should and shouldn't be deemed a crime within man's fictitious courts of "law" - versus natural law...

for starters, the fundamental question: who gave the "Law Society" the right to dictate what an individual can and cannot put into his/her own body?

of course, the case I'm getting to here is that of drug use. men in funny wigs who've seized some power in societal institutions may declare whatever the fuck they want as rule of the land - but there is a fundamental violation of Natural Law when attempting to intervene with man inherent's right to do what he chooses with his own body - including using a variety of substances for his own desired purposes. no doubt, it's a tricky situation with a complex web of reasoning, logic, and traps that have sustained a status quo allowing a "government" to put a person who has caused no harm to another in a cage for doing what they see is in their best interest. nonetheless, matters like these are important in addressing the broader questions you've posed effectively...

as such - many might argue against efforts to intervene in dark web activity to prosecute individuals who have not done others harm - i.e. acquired drugs, albeit they might be illegal, for their personal consumption.

of course, cases of pedophilia or acquiring goods to be used in the physical violence against others is a very different case. human trafficking of sex workers, arms dealings resulting in deaths, etc are a very different degree of "crime" - and consequently, ought to be addressed differently - if a responsible approach to complex problem solving embodying wisdom and having the benefit of society at it's core values is the matter.

anyways, that's my 2 cents...

U r right ...infiltration is the best option but there are great risks to such...I admire the caurage of guys working undercover...
Nice post @calaber24p
Upvoted and following

You can't stop people if they know what they're doing. That's why every arrest you hear coming from "the darkweb" is due to a glitch, bad coding, or more typically, stupid users.
There is no way to catch the literally millions of people who go on sites every single week and download free child porn, nor is there any way to stop the thousands who buy drugs every week, at least without going full-fascist and shutting everything down and mandating government monitoring chips in all computers and specific internet identification to those chips.

Communities of criminals online that break the law and abuse others, like pedophile rings, have one weakness, letting someone who isn’t properly vetted into their group.

Pedophile rings

hahahahahaha those don't exist silly, those are myth.

Because often the greed for a larger community and the belief of invulnerability of services like tor, criminals will let people into their group that are there for one purpose, to catch them.

Uhhhh maybe you haven't heard, but they've fixed that issue in general.
To become a moderator or in the administration of any child porn website you now have to post a picture with a timestamp of you producing your own child porn, with your user name on it too.
Drugs, well, they haven't caught up to the times. Pedophiles are smarter than druggies.

What does that mean?
FBI infiltration is legally impossible as they cannot provide proof of "non-cop" and thus they will not be approved.

Great article. thanks for sharing..

Amen to this. Nicely written @calaber24p

Privacy is very important in this day and age. Anonymity has become something most people want. Knowing they are getting spied on and intel is gathered off of them.

I think privacy is such an issue for governments because in my country for instance, corruption happens everywhere and what better way to lure attention away from the situation at hand then to expose all of us and our privacy. So we look and feel like the bad guys.

Great post. Followed

Please follow me a new one


please follow back

I never seen that so many people who have completely 0 actual knowledge about Dark Web, Internet Criminals and Hacking subject generally can have so many strong, yet not backed up opinions and such claims. @calaber24p i not mean about your post, i mean about your all replies.

half of the governmental IT team, especially when we are talking about Internet Crime Divisions, in each country are co-operating with criminals that were found/arrested/apprehended/tipped-out previously. They are using them for political reasons of conflicting countries around/between and are being well paid for. I had honor in my home country to be privilege to host one of them, even met briefly his "Parole Officer" who was 13 years ago more nerdy and informed than i could dreamed about.

Privacy was broken during 90's even during DIAL-UP and ISDN age. Windows 95 and 98 had exploit open so someone could remotely connect and access your C:\ where in System folder on that time under Windows could obtain 2 files, than can later resolve with another tool to all passwords, cards, logins ever used on that computer. So, a dial-up (with free high price on click connect dial up privacy - aka hot dial-up numbers) can penetrate by IP scan of a block obtain 100 credit cards fully working with all of their logins to emails and such. What are we talking now about then in age of almost 24/7 internet access ? With Cookies ? With conversation in skype in Thailand picking up keywords and sending it to UK on google ADS to another computer ?

Just forget it. There is no privacy, there is political perspective presented to public means as "privacy" and "Mean dark internet criminals hiding"

Very interesting article. My thoughts: I find it difficult to believe that infiltration would be an effective tool to catch criminals on the dark web. The resources required for infiltration v the sheer amount of criminal gangs that are likely on the dark web leads me to believe that governments likely do not possess the resources to take down criminal gangs on the dark web; and this is not even accounting for the lengthy time that would be required to infiltrate a criminal gang. However, I do acknowledge that committing resources into criminal activities such as terrorism would be a worthwhile investment.

I actually think that governments would need to waive rights of privacy in certain circumstances in order to deal with criminal gangs online. If not, I do not see how it is possible to effectively tackle criminal gangs in the darkweb, considering that they can use tools such as proxies and VPNs to mask their identity.

Thank you for sharing :)

Decriminalize freedom on the internet! problem solved! thank you!! its my honor to bestow the world with such simple solutions

if its got an electronic chip in it, be rest assured it can be hacked and monitored. no more privacy these days...

It's time for the government to go back and watch reruns of old detective shows from TV and learn how to do some investigating. Throwing the whole populations' right to privacy out the window to make it easier to track criminal activity on the dark web is downright lazy.

Good post.

Truly interesting! Followed and upvoted!

Hmm..your posts are interesting ..👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

I think we don't have privacy.Some one is always following us.By the way I like dark web.