Tor – Not As Private But More Dangerous Than You Think

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With growing privacy and security issues, Dark Web networks such as Tor are becoming more popular. In your opinion, what are the main issues with Tor, and what does the future hold for the Dark Web?

While programs like Tor are becoming more popular, they’re not always private. The government has found ways around anonymity. Examples include tracking people who download Tor, as well as exploiting vulnerabilities in Tor-enabled browsers such a Firefox bug that allowed the federal government to direct certain IP‘s to the government’s own servers. Additionally, The Guardian reported “that a security researcher discovered that the service was being used to inject potentially malicious code into downloads over the Tor service.”

The Dark Web is the Wild West of the Internet. No one should be there unless they have the experience, knowledge, or training to allow them to navigate safely. The original intent for Tor and the Dark Web was to help people get around government oversight for political dissent. Being anonymous meant being kept out of jail or worse being tortured.

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These days, the Dark Web is the same thing, but it also holds things of a more nefarious nature, such as gunrunning, child pornography, drug trafficking, murder-for-hire, and other illicit activities. Recently, the Dark Web has come to the fore without anyone (other than security experts and law enforcement) ever realizing it. The credit card information that was stolen from Target, Neiman-Marcus, and other retailers was sold on black markets on the Dark Web. Usually, stores only find out they’ve been hacked after a government agency, such as the FBI or Secret Service, informs them. The way these agencies know is that they monitor message boards and other sites that sell stolen credit cards.

While the Dark Web will always be important for those who don’t have a voice in their own countries and need to remain safe from persecution, the Dark Web will continue to grow as a place for illicit activity. And thanks to the new electronic healthcare records system, the Dark Web will become a huge market for stolen healthcare related information. Because the higher the value of the target – healthcare data is much more valuable than credit card data – the bigger the marketplace will become.

Allan Pratt, InfoSecurity & CyberSecurity Strategist, @Tips4Tech

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