Darknet UPSC Why in news?

Darknet upsc : Recently, The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrest the country’s first ‘darknet’ narcotics operative, who allegedly shipped hundreds of psychotropic drug parcels abroad.

What is DarkNet?

Darknet UPSC : Also known as Dark Web, DarkNet is that part of the Internet that cannot be access through traditional search engines like Google nor is it accessible by normal browsers like Chrome or Safari. It generally uses nonstandard communication protocols which makes it inaccessible by internet service providers or government authorities. The content on Dark Net is encrypt and requires specific browser such as TOR (The Onion Ring) browser to access those pages.

Dark net UPSC

DarkNet itself is a part of the Deep Web that is a broader concept, which includes sites that are protect by passwords. For e.g.- A person’s bank statements which are available online but will not be pull up in generalise Internet searches. The difference is that while the Deep Web is accessible, the DarkNet is deliberately hidden.

The part of internet that is readily available to general public and searchable on standard search engines is call as Surface Web.

Uses of DarkNet

Dark web use by journalists and citizens working in oppressive regimes, to communicate without any government censorship. It was use by activists during the Arab Spring and is known to have been used by Chinese citizens.

  • By researchers and students to do research on sensitive topics as it is know to have large virtual libraries. 
  • By law enforcement agencies for sting operations.
  • Access content block by local Internet service providers.
  • To maintain privacy of sensitive communications or business plans.  Concerns associated.

Uses of Dark net


The end to end encryption of darknet offers a high degree of anonymity and thus it is almost impossible to track.

Darknet UPSC as Haven for illicit activity

In a study title Cryptopolitik and the Darknet, it was highlight that of the 2,723 websites on Darknet, 57 % host illicit content.  Malicious actors like cyber criminals, terrorists and state-sponsored spies use dark web for various activities like payment card fraud, illicit finance , selling banned drugs, etc.

One of the most famous dark web marketplace was the Silk Road, best known for selling illegal drugs that was eventually bust by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Technical challenges to establish digital evidence in courts

As most users are track in foreign countries, it offers multiple complexities and roadblocks in investigation.

Privacy and ethical concerns

Decrypting communications to catch criminals has been opposed by activists because it can risk everyone’s data present on the dark web.

Use of crypto currencies

Deals done on darknet are mostly through crypto currencies like Bitcoin. As far as identities remain hidden, enforcement agencies are note able to trace DarkNet criminals.

Need of the hour

International collaboration in strengthening cyber security framework to deal with challenges posed by DarkNet. Investment in research and development and training and capacity building of personnel in the field of cyber security. Amendment in the Information and Technology Act and Evidence Act to deal with the today’s cyber crimes. A new insertion in CRPC dealing with cyber-crime that would come under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which deals with policing issues.

Steps taken in India

The Centre has direct all law enforcement agencies to have eye over foreign-based content providers of data and meta data and to make legislative changes to provide immunity for cyber hackers, which law enforcement agencies use to counter Dark web transactions.

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing is working with CSIR on developing a darknet telescope base cyber security monitoring and interference framework.  This will help law enforcement agencies track cyber criminals who are selling illegal products and services on such platforms and also track terrorism relate communications and activities.

Kerala police have establish a specialise darknet lab in Cyberdome and four officers have been train as darknet analysts to monitor these activities.  To keep up with increasing the cyber security threats, the police are working to maintain a high level of awareness regarding the new cyber security trends and events.

Narcotics Control Bureau

It was constitute by the Government of India in 1986 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The act provides for the penalty of property derive from or use in illegal traffic in narcotic drugs. It is the top most drug law enforcement and intelligence agency responsible for fighting drug trafficking and the abuse of illegal substances in India. It works in close cooperation with the Customs and Central Excise, GST, State Police Department, (CBI), Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) and other Indian intelligence and law enforcement agencies both at the national and state level. The NCB also provides resources and training to the personnel of India’s Drug Law Enforcement Agencies to fight from drug trafficking.

It also monitors India’s borders to track down points where smuggling activities take place with foreign traffickers.  The Narcotics Control Bureau’s national headquarters is located in Delhi and is affiliate to Ministry of Home Affairs.

TOR (The Onion Ring)

TOR browser was develop in the mid-1990s by the United States Naval Research laboratory employees to protect US intelligence communications online.  It is term so as the traffic from the browser creates several layers like those of an Onion before reaching the destination site. In other words, unlike normal surfing, the computer does not connect directly to the server where the website is located. Instead, a whole series of servers are involved in the connection in order to create the greatest possible anonymity.

The onion ring (tor) browser

This is our post regarding dark net upsc.

Are Dark Web and Deep Web one and the same? And what is Darknet?

Deep Web is the area of the Internet which can not accessible through search engines. What we access through search engines is know as Surface Web. To get into the Deep Web the person should know the right address. Dark Web is one of a part of the Deep Web. While the Deep Web is accessible, but the Dark Web is deliberately hidden. Darknet is synonym for Dark Web.

How does it work?

Dark Web can be simply explain as a specialise form of browsing in incognito mode. While incognito mode disables browsing history and web cache, the Dark Web make a shield by specialise software such as Tor. As it is evident by the name, the USP of a Dark Web site is the anonymity it offers and the near-impossibility of tracking it down.

How do the Dark Web operators transact?

Since the real word money trail carries the danger of exposure, Dark Web operators mostly  transact in virtual currencies, the most popular being Bitcoins. In the recent cyberattacks involving Ransomware, the operators demands from their victims ransom payment ranging between $300 and $600 through Bitcoins.

Is it safe to access the Dark Web?

The near-unanimous opinion is to stay away from the Dark Web because it is totally unsafe. It is so easy to lose your way, privacy and valuables such as money and data in the Dark Web. Unless you fear to get prosecute by an authoritarian regime or a government agency for doing something you think legitimate, the Dark Web should be a no-go area.

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