The “dark web” is also known as the “deep web”, “invisible web” and “hidden web”. Its biggest feature is that it is encrypted and cannot be accessed by ordinary browsers and search engines, and it uses virtual currency for transactions. Some experts compare the Internet to an iceberg. The Internet that people usually visit is only the part exposed on the water, and there is an invisible “dark web” below the water.
Because of its concealment and lack of supervision, the “dark web” is filled with a lot of negative and illegal information. A netizen found his personal information on the “dark web”, “feeling like a transparent person.”
Since the beginning of this year, procuratorial organs in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong and other places have successively handled many cases of illegally buying and selling citizens’ personal information using the “dark web”. The “dark web”, a mysterious network, has once again entered the public eye.
The so-called “dark web” is a type of technical means that uses encrypted transmission and P2P peer-to-peer networks to provide users with anonymous Internet information access. The “dark web” is also known as the “deep web”, “invisible web” and “hidden web”. Its biggest feature is that it is encrypted and cannot be accessed by ordinary browsers and search engines, and it uses virtual currency for transactions.
The “dark web” has the characteristics of untraceable website users and visitors, and has strong anonymity and confidentiality. Some experts compare the Internet to an iceberg. The Internet that people usually visit is only the part exposed on the water, and there is an invisible “dark web” below the water. The “Dark Web” is another “Internet” that lives in the dark.
”Dark Web” transaction personal information is all-encompassing
Professionals used technical means to enter the “dark web” Chinese trading forum and found that it was full of illegal information. The post “Data of XX Hotel Opening” is located at the first entry of the “Data Intelligence” column on the forum homepage. Below it, there are “first-hand data of 180,000 shareholders”, “120,000 student status (school class, name, ID card, parent name, phone number, etc.)”, “e-commerce (maternal and infant industry) 5 million user data” and other citizens. The information is impressive.
In addition to the “data intelligence” column, some “dark web” Chinese trading forums also have multiple categories such as “service orders”, “physical items”, “technical teaching”, “card material CVV” and other categories, all of which are posted by sellers. Buyers leave a message to trade. Below each post, only one-to-one conversations between the user and the publisher are allowed, and the messages of other buyers cannot be seen, which is very hidden.
A case prosecutor said that the personal information of citizens traded on the “dark web” is very extensive, almost all-inclusive. There are almost all personal information that people can think of, such as bank information, car purchase information, house purchase information, and loan information. Most of the information includes name, gender, age, ID number, address, phone number, email address, WeChat, property status, etc. Some even include marital status, whereabouts, personal rewards and punishments, etc. Buyers can follow Free purchases are required, and the “dark web” has become a distribution center for criminal suspects to illegally buy and sell citizens’ personal information. A netizen who had browsed the “dark web” forum said, “I was shocked when I saw these things on the dark web for the first time.” After that, he also found his personal information on the dark web, “feeling like a transparent person. “.
After the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia, illegal personal information transactions on the “dark web” have risen sharply. Some criminals have used illegally obtained information from others to conduct online fraud and sell the so-called “new crown vaccine” and “new crown antidote” to people who do not know the truth. Some even carried out illegal activities such as Internet “fundraising” and “donation fundraising” in the name of community epidemic prevention and condolences to medical staff. Many innocent people were deceived. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate disclosed that in the first half of this year alone, procuratorial organs across the country prosecuted 32,463 people for fraud crimes committed by means of telecommunication networks, a year-on-year increase of 77.1%.
Concealment and difficulty in tracking make crime easy
Both the procuratorial organs and the public security organs generally feel that compared with other criminal cases, “dark web” cases are more difficult to handle and more energy is invested. A prosecutor handling the case said that the “dark web” is attractive because the communication between users is highly encrypted, and it allows users to talk and share files anonymously. Among them, Tor browser and Tor server are widely used. Since the “dark web” transmits user data through a large number of intermediate servers, and the transmitted information can only be decrypted by subsequent nodes, the identity and IP address of the “dark web” users are difficult to obtain from the outside world, and relevant users cannot be tracked.
A person in the computer industry told reporters that Tor browser is a key that can open the door to the “dark web” world, and it is difficult to decipher at the level of cryptography. The Tor browser is like putting a mask on the user, using it to browse the website, no one will know their true identity.
Professionals said that as an anonymous communication system for network user identities, the “dark web” not only disguises the technology from the improvement of network protocols and the dynamics of IP addresses, but also encrypts user content information to hide user identities. Make it impossible for testing agencies to easily obtain user login addresses.
In reality, the “dark web” is so difficult to track down mainly because the “dark web” has three characteristics.
One is that the “dark web” servers are deeply hidden. Zong Xiaoli, the post prosecutor of the Procuratorate of Rudong County, Jiangsu Province, said that the “dark web” servers are all located abroad, and a “dark web” is formed by many servers. Only through specific methods can you connect to the intranet, and login “Dark Web” forums require multiple network technologies, and mobile phone screenshots cannot be used after logging in. Therefore, the “dark web” can also be understood as another unknown “Internet”. Any information on the “dark web” is processed anonymously, and with servers all over the world, it is currently extremely difficult to trace.
Second, the “dark web” operation is very secretive. The Internet that people touch and use is only the part on the surface of the sea, that is, the “surface web”, while the larger and more complex “deep web” is hidden outside the reach of the public. This is also the largest of the “dark web”. Characteristic, it can connect each terminal through a special network protocol, but at the same time these terminals have no determinable IP address, but transmit through the “dark network” protocol, which also means that it is difficult to trace the “dark network” protocol. Net” whereabouts.
The third is that virtual currency promotes the brutal growth of the “dark web”. According to professionals, the “dark web” started in 2000 and began to facilitate the transmission of a large amount of illegal information, including pornographic materials and pirated content. With the release of Tor, the “dark web” has achieved complete anonymity. In 2010, Tor began to combine with virtual currency, giving birth to a black market. These anonymous virtual currencies allow criminals to bypass government and bank supervision and avoid identification and tracking by relevant agencies when purchasing related “services” through the “dark web”.
According to Xu Li, the prosecutor of the Procuratorate of Zhanjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone in Guangdong Province, information resources have become the core resources of society, and personal information is a precious resource for the development of the country and enterprises. With the further popularization and development of the Internet, there are more and more acts of infringing on citizens’ personal information through the Internet. Citizens’ personal information and privacy need to be protected by the whole society. If citizens’ information is illegally obtained, it may result in overdrafts and overdrafts by imposing a card. The consequences of personnel coming to scam, account money missing, and personal reputation damaged for no reason are self-evident.
There are “five difficulties” in case handling
Although the “dark web”‘s whereabouts are mysterious and difficult to track, it is indeed very difficult to implement supervision, but any behavior will have traces as long as it is implemented, and there are always ways to capture it.
In recent years, network security departments and case-handling agencies have made continuous efforts to find many effective ways of tracing. For example, by monitoring the download information of browsers such as Tor, tracking “dark web” users and monitoring their behavior; creating “dark web” traps, open to criminals and other users, waiting for illegal criminals to enter the urn; supervisors will act as “dark web” traps. Dark web users undercover, go deep into the tiger’s den, and successfully obtain evidence; establish a “dark web” spatial search engine to complete the detection and collection of “dark web” entrances, links, and content, track “dark web” transaction data, and check “dark web” “Network structure and data resources are properly controlled.
According to data disclosed by the Ministry of Public Security, in 2019, public security organs across the country established 16 “dark web”-related cases, arrested 25 criminal suspects engaged in illegal and criminal activities involving “dark web”, and successfully eliminated multiple use of “dark web”. “Net” is a criminal group reselling citizens’ personal information. Since the beginning of this year, the procuratorial organs have further stepped up their efforts to crack down on the “dark web” and have already prosecuted many criminal cases using the “dark web”.
The reporter also learned that although the overall situation in combating the “dark web” has been good in recent years, with the continuous renovation of such criminal methods, the handling of “dark web” cases, especially the use of the “dark web” to buy and sell citizens’ personal information, is in practice. There are still many problems in the process, mainly manifested as the “five difficulties.”
One is the difficulty of investigation. Xu Li said that “dark web” crimes show obvious characteristics of “delocalization” and are highly anonymized. It is a typical non-contact crime. Criminals can hide in any country and region through network technology and use software. Disguising the address greatly increases the confusing nature of the crime. Therefore, when investigating “dark web” technical cases, even if the next party who has captured illegal transactions is not able to trace the source and crack down on the previous party who publishes illegal transactions on the “dark web”.
Second, it is difficult to obtain evidence. Xu Li told reporters that there are two difficulties in obtaining evidence in practice: First, it is difficult to obtain evidence on the transaction page. Due to the continuous replacement of “dark web” links and servers, electronic data in the transaction process cannot be obtained; second, it is difficult to obtain evidence and verify transaction funds. Since the value and amount of Bitcoin cannot be identified, it can only be confirmed by the suspect’s confession and the payment record of the purchase of Bitcoin. The evidence chain is relatively incomplete. One aspect of the difficulty in obtaining evidence for “dark web” cases is common to grass-roots case-handling departments: because “dark web” crimes have no boundaries, criminal clues found locally may have to be collected across the country, which also brings much to the forensic work. The big difficulty is not only the question of manpower and financial resources, but also the question of whether we can get the cooperation and assistance of brother units. Moreover, some evidence is not yet in the country and requires cross-border evidence collection, which is very difficult.
Third, it is difficult to prosecute. Prosecutors such as Zong Xiaoli said that “dark web” crimes generally involve fewer individual crimes, and as soon as I found out that several people were connected together. In a case, some criminal suspects were caught today, and some criminal suspects were caught after a long time. Most criminal suspects did not arrive at the same time. Case handling means that no matter how many people are involved in a case, procuratorial organs generally do not prosecute separately, but prosecute together as one case. In addition, the law stipulates that there is a clear time limit for handling cases. As long as the public security organ transfers the case, the prosecution The agency must file a lawsuit within the prescribed time limit. Since the criminal suspects are not present at the same time, this will bring a lot of pressure to the review and prosecution work. If there is insufficient preparation, it is very likely that the pain points will not be prosecuted and the due effect will not be achieved.
Fourth, it is difficult to govern. Criminals use online platforms to buy and sell personal information and use online payment tools to transfer stolen money. Both the “place where the crime occurred” and “the place where the result of the crime occurred” are different from traditional crimes, which can easily cause jurisdictional disputes.
Fifth, identification is difficult. Most of the crimes that use the “dark web” to buy and sell personal information are not large, and some have reported a few hundred yuan, but more than a few thousand yuan, making it difficult to convict and deal with. At the same time, there is still a difficulty in identifying and handling, that is, identifying related crimes and joint crimes. Xu Li said that a gray industrial chain and interest chain have been formed around cybercrime. The upstream and downstream crimes involved infringement of citizens’ personal information, credit card crimes and other criminal acts. Multiple acts may damage multiple legal interests or one Acts simultaneously damage different legal interests.
The “Five Difficulties” have troubled the handling of cases to a large extent. Some experts, scholars and legal practitioners are constantly studying and exploring how to solve them.
Collaborate to fight against multiple forces
Liu Pinxin, a professor and doctoral supervisor of Renmin University of China, said at a related seminar organized by the Supreme Procuratorate in June this year that to combat new types of cybercrimes such as the “dark web”, it is important to solve the problem of judicial certification. Liu Pinxin believes that system construction should be strengthened. When formulating judicial interpretations, big data-based “comprehensive identification” standards can be introduced for distinguishing crimes and violations; promotion of the simultaneous participation of expert assistants in case handling systems; development of “electronic evidence review regulations”; Issue evidence guidelines for prosecutors in handling cases, enrich relevant guiding cases; explore the path for cross-regional prosecutors (Internet procuratorates) to handle such cases.
Jiang Su, associate professor and doctoral supervisor of Peking University Law School, believes that a new type of cooperation mechanism must be established. Jiang Su said that compared with traditional crimes, this type of crime has the characteristics of intelligence, concealment, anonymity, and transnationality, which has brought many severe challenges to my country’s criminal law. In this context, whether it is criminal legislation, criminal justice, or criminal law theory, all should advance with the times. Not only need to improve the communication mechanism between public authorities, but also need to strengthen public authorities and private organizations, especially large-scale Internet The cooperation mechanism between companies advocates a new type of “public-private partnership”.
In addition, there are also lawyers who suggest that we should seize the jurisdiction of the case to combat “dark web” crimes. Liu Ling, a lawyer at Beijing Tianchi Juntai Law Firm, believes that my country must have jurisdiction if the results of such crimes overseas occur within the country. The Supreme Law, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and the Ministry of Public Security’s “Opinions on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Criminal Procedures to the Handling of Cybercrime Cases” stipulate that cybercrime cases shall be filed and investigated by the public security organs of the crime location. This means that even if the perpetrator commits a crime abroad and the crime occurred in my country as a result, my country has the right to jurisdiction.
There are also scholars and computer professionals who believe that to combat “dark web” crimes, it is necessary to improve forensics capabilities through technology, configure a higher network environment, link to “dark web” websites, crawl network data and carefully study and judge, and also offer rewards for solicitation Report criminal information, encourage insiders to report, etc.
Some prosecutors with experience in handling cases believe that it is very important to strengthen internal and external coordination to combat crimes such as the “dark web” buying and selling citizens’ personal information. Only when all parties work together can a combined force be formed, especially to strengthen cross-regional cooperation and cooperation. In this way, the spread of “dark web” crime can be curbed. Zong Xiaoli suggested that we should focus on governance from the source of information leakage, “Where did the personal information of citizens leak out, and who leaked them must be traced. Some industries that have citizens’ information should especially strengthen internal management to prevent loss. Leakage occurred.” Xu Li suggested that relevant government departments should strengthen the supervision and tracking of the use of Bitcoin and do a good job in crime prevention. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the training of specialized case-handling personnel. Some personnel can be selected from the three departments of the public, procuratorate, and law for training, so as to enhance the professional knowledge level of such case-handling personnel. In short, although the “dark web” is hidden, it is not a place outside the law after all. Cases of infringing on citizens’ personal information are extremely harmful to the society and must be severely punished in accordance with the law.