Cybercrime: Looking Beyond the Dark Web

Cybercrime: Looking Beyond the Dark Web
Fighting cybercrime requires visibility into much more than just the Dark Web. Here's where to look and a glimpse of what you'll find.

The now-shuttered DeepDotWeb, which was a uniquely centralized and trusted repository of Dark Web links and information, had long made it easier for threat actors — and consequently, law enforcement and other defenders — to keep track of which Dark Web sites are active, and where. The repository's takedown left a void that no comparable alternative seems to be able to fill, at least for the near future.

There are other sites, known as hidden wikis, that can appear to be comprehensive directories and are often referred to as such by defenders. In reality, they tend to be little more than human-assembled catalogs that harken back to the early days of the Internet. All this volatility is largely why threat actors who operate on the Dark Web also typically frequent a number of other channels.

It's also why fighting cybercrime requires visibility into much more than just the Dark Web. Contrary to popular belief, the Dark Web accounts for just a minor subset of the many online venues that facilitate cybercrime. Even if the Dark Web were somehow to be eliminated, its absence would simply cause threat actors to rely more heavily on the various other online venues in which many, if not most, already operate.

Encrypted chat platforms are one such venue — and in fact, they support far more illicit activity than any other, including the Dark Web. Threat actors are increasingly using platforms such as Telegram and Discord, among many others, to communicate more securely and to share mirrors, which are sites that contain nearly identical inform ..