General News Jan 09, 2022

Research: The Dark Web Has an Internal Justice System

A research conducted by threat intelligence firm Analyst1 unearthed the…

The dark web may be considered to be the internet’s wild as far as law and order is concerned because, well, would you expect any class among cybercriminals?

The general assumption that thieves and perverts lurk in the dark web is not far from the truth as criminals continue to exploit online anonymity tools like Tor to obscure their illicit activities.

In fact, past research points to the fact that the Tor network hosted more than 170,000 active addresses that host criminal platforms including child sex abuse communities that continue to endanger the world’s young.

Law enforcement agents note that the main reason why Tor became very popular is due to its support of the hidden services. Hidden services, also referred to as onion services, ensure that users and websites achieve anonymity by Tor.

Having said that, it turns out that the same dark web criminals are expected to abide to sets of rules and regulations that govern their operations when dealing with other vendors and buyers across the darknet ecosystem.

Findings of a new research conducted by the threat intelligence company Analyst1 provided a sneak peek into the dark web’s little-known internal justice system. The study lifted the lid on the workings of notable cybercriminal forums where a number of the analysed websites had an informal court system setup to ensure that dark web criminals share grievances and settle disputes with their peers.

Interesting Findings

According to an Analyst1 blog post, the dark web community users adhere to a cybercrime ecosystem that boasts a virtual court feature that works like an insurance element “in case something will go wrong.”

It turns out that thousands of cases have been examined and actual verdicts served over the last ten years that cybercriminal communities have been in active operation. The researchers noted that the threat actors subscribe to the knowledge that they will be held accountable in cases where they fail to meet their end of the bargain – supplying substandard products and services will result in their aliases being added to the arbitrage thread title.

Cybercriminals who have since lost dark web court cases have had to watch their reputation disintegrate as they are forced to start their career all over again.

Thanks to this system of justice, dark web cybercriminals have been hard at work advocating for accountability from their counterparts in the quest for fair trial whenever disputes arise within the underground networks.

As cited by Analyst1 cybersecurity experts, an April 2021 case involving the notorious Conti ransomware group resulted in a $2 million suit concerning a breached agreement about the hacking and encryption of data belonging to a US-based school system.


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