A Disaster for Cyber Security

Explaining the main scams of the Dark Web

The World Wide Web has its own complex anatomy. And the Dark Web can be called an anonymous “bottom” of it with a pretty negative reputation. This segment of the internet became notorious by giving birthplace for drugs and weapons markets, extremist discussion forums, underground services and tools for all possible kinds of cyber crimes. To find out more about the other parts of the cyber world, read our brief review that explains the main difference between them.

The Dark Web is a real paradise for criminals. Its websites are packed with illicit information, drugs, weapons, zero-day software vulnerabilities, shocking content, illegal services and much more. These websites can be reached only by using special software and some of them are invitation-only.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular scams that can be done through the Dark websites.

Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are really popular on the Surface Web. They can be aimed at private individuals or companies. The main goal is to gain such private information as logins, passwords, bank account numbers. Apart from this, the computers of victims can be fed with badware.

Although the way most phishing scammers work in the Surface Web is well known, the identification of this type of crime in the Dark Web is much harder. The main reason is the complexity of websites’ addresses that can be very confusing for users.

Can you spot the difference between DuckDuckGo and the phishing domain?

According to Frederick Barr-Smith and Joss Wright, who studied 11,533 onion domains, over half of them are imitations or benign duplicates. Some of these sites are used for phishing, but a larger quantity are only clones that are used to add redundancy for legitimate sites or to increase the amount of visitors for a particular venture.

Crypto Scams
The increasing cost of crypto currency has led to the escalating numbers of crypto scams. Now this kind of crime is widespread all over the internet. Criminals are getting more and more creative in their attempts to get some profit. Apart from using fake bitcoin exchanges, Ponzi schemes, pump-and-dumps and malware, they moved to social networks and started playing for high stakes. In 2020 fraudsters bypassed account security by gaining access to Twitter’s own internal administration tools. This led to the tweets from 130 accounts that promised to “give back” to the community by doubling bitcoin sent to their address.

To prevent the frauds in this area, Facebook and other social networks have even established their own policy on cryptocurrency products and services.

So it is hardly surprising that crypto scams became very popular in the Dark Web, where users can’t be tracked down. The criminals use the same methods, but with low chances to be banned by forums or networks.

Exit Scams
Building up a solid reputation on darknet markets that use seller rating systems is a long way. But after nice reviews and high ratings can help to keep receiving money without selling goods until the rating system fails down. This is the way exit scammers work: the promoters simply disappear with buyers’ cryptocurrency without sending the actual products. Another kind of exit scam is shutting down the entire marketplace with all the money. One of the biggest examples is the Evolution exit scam. The administrators apparently made off with $12 million in bitcoins. And nothing can be done here. The victims of exit scams don’t call the police if their crypto currency is stolen.

Service Scams
The darkest corner of the internet is full of ads with illegal proposals. Apart from different cyber crime services, including malware, distributed denial of service attacks, and hacking for hire, very disturbing offers can be found on the Dark Web. A collection of online markets even offer hitman services.
Does it mean that anyone can really hire a killer on the Dark Web? Not really. Researchers say they are scams, but people who want someone to be dead aren’t listening. There have been no proven cases of someone being killed by an assassin hired through the Dark Web till 2018. The world’s first documented case happened in Russia.

Although there is a negative side of the Dark Web, it isn’t all bad. There are a lot of useful websites like SoylentNews, ProPublica, Sci-Hub, Keybase that can’t be found in Google. Being used carefully and wisely, the Dark Web can be a perfect source of information and communication that can’t be found in the Surface Web.

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