The Global Drug Survey (GDS) 2016 recently offered a glimpse at the rising number of people using ‘darknet’ drug markets around the world.

More than 100,000 people from more than 50 different countries answered questions about their drug habits, and data collected from 97,000 people was analyzed for the report – the biggest one regarding darknet activities to date. Results showed that year after year more and more people are purchasing drugs online.

In the age of everything delivery, it’s not surprising that home delivery of illegal drugs has been increasingly popular.

The drug trade in the dark web has become big business, and it’s not hard to understand why – users remain anonymous, dealers remain untraceable, and transactions are often completely secret.

What is it?

The darknet is a subsection of content that exists in what is commonly known as the deep web – a portion of the internet that doesn’t show up in searches or on social media platforms.

Some claim that the deep web is actually much larger than the surface web, or the part of the web that most people use regularly and can be accessed by standard search engines. That’s also difficult to prove since the deep web relies on dynamically generated and unindexed websites, including non-HTML text, limited access, unlinked and scripted content.

In order to access web content that exists on the darknet network, one would need to use specific authorizations, configurations and a specific software designed for privacy.

How does it work?

There are many ways to browse the web anonymously.

One of the most popular private browsers was initially developed on behalf of the U.S. Navy, as a worldwide network of servers that allowed people to communicate without having to reveal their identities and eventually became a non-profit organization that does research and develops online privacy tools. Since anonymous browsers redirect encrypted traffic across a matrix of different servers, it’s difficult to trace a specific person.

Such browsers have been useful to many people for various reasons, such as law enforcement officials looking to keep their IP address private, people who live in countries with censorship restrictions, and even journalists who worked in oppressive areas of the world.

Of course, they have been also widely used by hackers and criminal enterprises engaging in unlawful activities such as fraud, abuse, and human trafficking.

With an anonymous browser, both web publishers and web surfers remain unidentified. Anyone with the necessary know-how can easily access a website that sells illegal items, such as narcotics and weapons. Those digital stores, or cryptomarkets, will normally only accept payments via cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which are essentially payment systems that use peer-to-peer technology to operate without any central authority or regulation.

Not limited to the darknet

Although most virtual drug trade transactions seem to take place in the depths of the darknet, some transactions do happen outside of it.  

Drugs have also been purchased from… (continue reading)