Dark web Trading: dark space beyond search engine

The dark net is usually considered to be closely related to illegal activities, providing criminals with low-risk cooperation platform and opportunities to challenge “boundaries”. Up to now, the covert network based on anonymous communication system has developed into a complex form. However, not only do criminals rely on the anonymity of the dark net, but law enforcement officers, military agencies and intelligence agencies also need to use the dark net. They can conduct online monitoring, phishing law enforcement, intelligence channels and top secret plans to protect anonymity. < p > < p > the dark network has been frequently used as an illegal trading platform for a long time, and the factors to maintain its stable operation and development are closely related to the trust building mechanism of the dark network market. Understanding the complexity of the transaction process of the dark network market and exploring the trust mechanism that affects the transaction activities of the dark network have important reference significance for understanding and destroying the transaction links of the dark network, maintaining the order of cyberspace and building a harmonious digital governance system. < / P > < p > in 2006, the first “household name” of the “dark net” – the “farmer’s market” was born. According to the U.S. drug enforcement administration, from 2006 to 2009, farmer’s market developed more than 3000 users in all 50 states and 34 other countries and regions in the United States. By 2011, the total annual trading volume has exceeded US $1 million. “Farmer’s market” deals in almost all kinds of contraband, mainly drugs and controlled drugs. It relies on commission to maintain the operation of the dark network. In its heyday, it was known as “Amazon in the field of illegal trade”. In April 2012, the U.S. drug enforcement agency cooperated with local police and intelligence agencies in the Netherlands, Colombia, Scotland, etc. to defeat the “farmer’s market” and arrest eight organizers of different nationalities, including Mark Williams. In September 2014, founder William was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for drug trafficking and money laundering, and the remaining seven people were convicted except one who died in prison. < / P > < p > in October 2013, the “Silk Road”, which sells illegal drugs, provides digital goods such as malicious software and pirated media, forges documents and provides illegal computer intrusion services, was seized, and its founder ulbritt was sentenced to life imprisonment. This incident once again brought the “dark network” to the surface and aroused concern. < / P > < p > dark network is also called covert network. Hidden servers are included in the “deep network”. Compared with the surface network, it exists in the world wide web of covert network. The content that traditional search engines can’t capture needs special software, configuration or permissions to log in. It is worth noting that the world wide web and the Internet are not synonyms. The world wide web is only a part of the Internet, and the websites we can search through traditional search engines are only a part of the world wide web surface web. The number of domain names in the dark network is 400 to 500 times that of the surface network. Visitors will not leave any traces on it. The contents hidden in the dark network may be used for legitimate purposes, or for hiding criminal acts or other malicious activities. The use of the dark network has attracted the attention of relevant departments and scholars. < p > < p > at present, tor, the most popular and practical anonymous communication system, is a common way for individuals to access the dark network. Tor communication depends on the network composed of volunteer computer nodes using the software. All network traffic of users will be encrypted through a series of computer nodes of other users in the network, so that the traffic can not be traced back to the original user. By establishing a “hidden service”, the service provider and the service requester are anonymous in the whole communication process. This protocol is adopted by tor based dark network to maintain the anonymity of users in dark network. < / P > < p > in the dark network, users can use the hidden directory Web page to browse the classified encyclopedia content, use the hidden search engine to search the contraband and other transaction content, and also use the hidden forum, hidden chat room and hidden e-mail to communicate through the private communication mode. As scholars have said: “a considerable amount of information is lost by search engines because it is hidden in the depth. This deep field of the Internet has unknown breadth, depth, content and users.” The dark net provides anonymous services and platforms for the organization, communication and cooperation of illegal commodity sales and a series of malicious attackers such as criminals, criminals and spies. It enables users to evade censorship, access banned content and protect sensitive communications. In the dark network, bitcoin or other digital currencies are mainly used for transactions. E-mail is the main means of communication in the dark network market. For sellers, customer evaluation is an important evidence of business reputation. < / P > < p > it should be pointed out that not only do criminals rely on the anonymity of the dark net, but law enforcement officers can also treat them in their own way. In fact, law enforcement personnel, military agencies and intelligence agencies also need to use the dark net. They can conduct online monitoring, phishing law enforcement, intelligence channels and top secret plans to protect anonymity. Anonymity in the dark network can be used to avoid being censored and hacked, protect users from being monitored and eavesdropped, attack and shut down illegal websites, interrupt server attacks and communications. < / P > < p > although individuals may anonymize activities, researchers have been exploring ways to exploit security vulnerabilities to penetrate, de anonymize and trace malicious behaviors. In order to identify the source of malicious attacks online and investigate the real destination of network traffic visiting dark network sites, researchers are constantly developing “de anonymization” technology that can identify hidden services and individuals to resist the invasion of criminal forces from dark network. Anonymity in the dark network can also be used to protect the military command and control system on the battlefield from the identification and attack of the enemy; at the same time, it can also shut down the website or interrupt the network attack to intercept the enemy’s communication; it can also be used for anti espionage activities, spreading false messages, etc. For example, researchers from the advanced intelligence research program of the advanced research projects agency of the U.S. Department of defense have explored various ways to “find people who don’t want to be discovered.”. < / P > < p > the development of dark network economy promotes the rise of anonymous server, anonymous mailbox, anonymous mail service and so on. Cryptocurrency has entered the field of vision of ordinary users, but it brings convenience to people and opens a new door for money laundering and other economic crimes. The dark network market provides users with a platform with lower risk for illegal transactions. In the future, these online black markets will no longer be centrally managed websites such as the “Silk Road”, but will disperse the commodity, information, payment and feedback processes, which will be more difficult to leverage. < / P > < p > the quantity and quality of dark network resource information are better than that of surface network. The demand for these resource information makes researchers continue to explore methods to efficiently fill the dark network query interface and obtain dark network resources. For example, scholars of Nankai University classify the dark network resources information according to the field, including finance, Internet, literature, chemistry and more than ten categories, and each contains detailed sub categories. Dark network can be accessed through many anonymous nodes, including tor or i2p. When using these anonymous communication tools, the user’s IP address is always hidden, and the IP address displayed by the connection with any target website can be anywhere in fact, so it is difficult to capture the user’s source and location. When tor is used, the format of the web address will change, and the web site usually ends with “ion” suffix, identifying “hidden service”, rather than ending with. When using tor to search the network, an onion icon tor browser is usually displayed. The biggest disadvantage of this service is its slow speed. < / P > < p > according to the dark net report released by the US Congressional Research Service in 2017, the average number of tor users in the US is 353783 per day, accounting for 19.2% of the average total number of tor users per day. The daily average number of users of tor in the United States is the largest, followed by Russia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. As for the way of communication on the dark net, individual users usually choose to start with reddit, a social news website. The dark net sub section of the website often provides a dark net entrance, and the website opens up a platform for users to discuss, but it is not encrypted or anonymous. People who want to use more secure forms of communication can choose to use email hosted on tor, online chat rooms or private built communication. Many anonymous instant chat rooms are hosted on tor, some do not require users to provide any information, and some need users to register through e-mail. < / P > < p > the anonymity and non traceability of the dark network make any user in the dark network will be anonymous in real time, and will not reveal their identity to the server, including criminals who engage in illegal activities. For example, in 2016, the official website of a dark network trading platform was attacked by hackers, resulting in the leakage of a large amount of information in the database, and the theft of countless credit card information and thousands of user accounts. “Black eating black” attack not only affected the portal websites of online criminal gangs, but also affected the original holders of data. < / P > < p > but anonymous service is not an absolute weapon for illegal activities to “flow” through the network. In October 2011, hacktivist, a well-known hacker organization, launched an attack against the dark net, destroying a website called freedom hosting, which operates on tor and hosts more than 40 child pornography websites. Hacktivist has obtained the user database of the website, which enables the FBI to track down the real identity of individuals. At present, 185 of them have been successfully charged with criminal charges. < / P > < p > in addition to the anonymity and untraceability of users, traders in the dark net world also need to solve the anonymity problem of transaction settlement. Because all countries have strict monitoring means for the banking system, the criminal behavior based on the dark net to achieve transaction settlement through the traditional bank account will inevitably lead to the tracking risk of the banking system. Some scholars believe that the rise of bitcoin and other virtual currencies just solves this problem. < / P > < p > as a payment medium, bitcoin has impressed the public on its anonymity and privacy since its emergence. Every bitcoin payment record in the digital public ledger is called a blockchain, which records the transfer of bitcoin between users. Blockchain is a distributed accounting technology. Every transaction will be recorded on it, and every person accessing blockchain will have this account book. Therefore, bitcoin itself has a certain degree of transparency, because everyone will get transaction records. Although bitcoin wallet has a unique code identifier, it does not point to the identity of the trader, so it is impossible to know who the trader is. < / P > < p > bitcoin was born in 2009, but at the beginning of its birth, bitcoin was only an encrypted number. It was not until “bitcoin pizza day” in 2010 that an American programmer bought $30 worth of pizza with 10000 bitcoins that bitcoin gained $0.003 in value for the first time. With the birth of the Silk Road in 2011, cryptocurrency has officially become the “official” currency in the dark network market. It solves the problem of anonymity in the transaction settlement of the traders in the dark net market, and makes the criminal behavior get rid of the risk of being tracked by the traditional financial system. < / P > < p > in short, bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that uses anonymous point-to-point transactions. The user’s address is associated and stored in the “e-wallet”, which contains an individual’s “private key” – a string of secret numbers, allowing the person to spend bitcoin, similar to a password, from the corresponding E-wallet. Transaction address and encryption