A recent study by National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) revealed that darknet markets are starting to use traditional organized gangland crimes in their daily operations.
The report further mentions Australia as having the most prevalent narcotic merchants doing their trade online.
This Drug Trend Project has been monitoring darknet markets for more than two years now, highlighting a re-emergence in blackmails, data server attacks and misunderstandings over digital space between different online marketplaces and their 3rd party rivals.
According to Joe Van Buskirk, a research official at NDARC, these trends have been more rampant during the last 12 months duration.
Partly because of Tor network’s anonymizing features, which present absolutely no need for legitimacy when trading items online.
Anything can be sold whether legal or illegal.
Cannabis ranks high as the most sought out drug followed by common pharmaceuticals and MDMA.
Darknet markets operate similarly to eBay, where there’s a feedback system which buyers and sellers can use to rate each other based on transaction efficiency and quality of substances sold.
During investigations, a seasoned user at darknet markets mentioned that she was perplexed by overall stability and great effectiveness of these sites.
The first time she opened an account it looked very much like eBay, with anyone determined to purchase drugs online being able to do so with relative ease.
As people continue becoming aware of Tor networks, so does the overall number of those seeking to purchase narcotics online increases.
Even after official closure of Silk Road, 3rd parties are still infiltrating darknet markets and threatening to take down operations temporarily.
They sustain these attacks repetitively until operators pay them money for such actions to stop.
Extortionists also blackmail site moderators, threatening to reveal their identities if money is not deposited into their respective accounts.
True to these claims, a series of command system attacks made certain dark web sites inaccessible for both customers and vendors over the last year.
While some portals have relatively stabilized after being attacked by hackers, coercion is still happening albeit in a rather different manner from what it was before.
It’s now similar to organized crime syndicates that occur in real life gang networks.
As people start realizing that there’s money to be made on darknet markets, more opportunistic strategies are being employed and this is highlighted in the wide range of products that are available for sale.
Anyone with some background knowledge in technology is trying to benefit from Tor, including the criminals themselves through blackmail and intimidation of operators.
Senior Detective Tony Cooke reiterated that there’s no doubt online drug traffickers are involved in organized crime, which is just but another way in which these cartels are trying to gain more control of their communities.
The survey revealed that 10% of all psychostimulant users bought drugs directly through dark web, and those purchasing them are more likely male clients falling between ages 25 yrs. and below.
Moreover, psychostimulant users getting their supplies from this particular platform tended to try out a wider range of drugs at higher rates than other regular users.
Unlike the original drug bazaar Silk Road which prohibited sale of weapons and stolen credit cards from their platform.
Modern darknet markets coming after it are more liberal in approach, having expanded sales beyond illegal substances to include these items as well.
This has opened more doors for fraudsters who can now use anything at their disposal to blackmail administrators.