The U.K. government is taking the initiative to find new ways to crack down on the anonymous activities carried on inside the dark web.
The Home Secretary of the U.K. has announced that a separate fund of £9 million is being allocated for this work, which will be taken up by the U.K.’s specialist law enforcement agencies.
Activities in the Dark Web
Making this announcement, Home Secretary Amber Rudd used strong language to describe the criminal activities being carried on using the anonymous environment provided by the dark web. She described it as a “dark and dangerous” place.
All kinds of illegal items are sold in the dark web, from drugs to weapons to malware, which can help mount cyberattacks and so on. The U.K. law enforcement agencies cannot trace these people since the anonymity ecosystem leaves little to no trace of the transactions executed.
The large fund now being left at the disposal of the U.K. law enforcement agencies is expected to be used to work on technology that can break into the dark web and catch the criminals in the act of doing illegal transactions.
Funding Part of Larger Budget Allocation
As is known, the U.K. government has already created a provision in the next year’s budget for £50 million just for the purpose of going after cybercrime as a whole, and this £9 million will come out of that allocation.
In addition, another £5 million is being provided to the police with the objective of creating exclusive cybercrime units in their regional and local setups.
The Home Secretary was speaking at a related event when she shared this information on the proposed fund allotment. Observers are keen to know how the government exactly plans to go about finding a solution to curbing illegal trade on the dark web.
The dark web relies on creating multiple layers of encrypted data with no trace being left behind. Those involved in committing criminal activities using this platform use the Tor browser to access the sites within the dark web. The use of anonymity tools such as Virtual Private Networks ensures that users’ internet protocol (IP) address is switched immediately upon connecting.
The investigative agencies, therefore, do not have any readymade technology to decrypt the data even if they suspect someone of being involved in crimes of this nature. The only way law enforcement has met success in making arrests of cybercriminals in the U.K., the U.S. or elsewhere has been through indirect methods. In some cases, the crime detection cell will itself enter the dark web, create a decoy account and even do a transaction luring the seller of such clandestine goods to disclose their identity.
In a couple of cases, the courier companies handling the deliveries of illegal items like drugs have been co-opted to nab the recipient of the product and through him/her the seller or the real criminal.
Local Crime-Busting Initiative Welcome
Meanwhile the other £5 million for setting up the special cells to investigate cybercrimes at local levels is being welcomed by many experts. This brings some kind of relief to the victims of hacks and data theft, and the perpetrators need to be detected and booked at the earliest.
The government has even earmarked another £3 million in funding toward the Cyber Aware campaign, which aims to spread awareness on the subjects of cybercrime, the dark web and all other new developments of which the majority among the communities may not be familiar with.
Such an awareness campaign will help citizens protect their systems and secure their data.
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