Tracing Black Market Purchases On The "Dark Net": How Digital Forensics Can Find Transactions

People who turn to the "dark net" do so in the hopes of buying things you cannot get from the rest of the internet world. The "dark net" is the seedy underbelly of the internet world, and most people do not know it even exists. Those that do know it exists either go there for "personal freedom" or to browse many illegal and potentially illegal items for sale. This is the modern day version of the mobile black markets that moved about Korea during the Korean War. You never quite know how to navigate and find what you are looking for until you get there. As a member of a special task force, you will learn how to use digital forensics to track down these dark net purchases in the following ways.

Finding the Markets

The dark net relies on a Tor network. Your digital forensics classes will teach you how to access the Tor network and then how to find many of the markets within the Tor network/dark net. That may be the easiest part of the whole procedure to finding and arresting criminals and the illegal activity they conducted while on the dark net. Your intermediate classes in digital forensics will teach you how to track down buyers.

Tracking Down the Buyers

Because the dark net provides so much anonymity for its visitors, it is difficult to find or trace anyone from the dark net into the real world. Intermediate courses in digital forensics teach you how to break through the encryptions and follow the very long trails of internet signals as they are bounced off of servers and satellites on a global scale. If a buyer of an illegal drug also uses high security encryptions to protect him- or herself from the computer he/she uses, then you will have to use all the skills you were taught to break through those encryptions as well if you hope to make an arrest.

Buyers who attempt to use any other form of payment other than "bitcoin" are either new to the dark net or want to get caught. Most dark net sellers will only take bitcoin because it is less easily tracked and traced back to them. It may prove easier to track down the seller first and then get a list of names of customers who have purchased from this particular seller. Unusual bank transactions may confirm that you have arrested the correct offenders, and your digital forensics have saved the day.

For more information, contact Epps Forensic Consulting PLLC or a similar company.