Opinion

The Dark Net: Epicenter of all your Cyber Security Threats

Knowing the strengths of your enemy before facing it in the battlefield is always an advantage. It will not only help framing your battle strategy but also help you to prepare yourself for the damage it’s going to do during the battle and the after effects. Exactly the same applies while dealing with cyber security threats. In this age of cyber warfare the key to victory is building a “Creative Defense Strategy” with the latest defense mechanisms using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning rather than relying completely on the conventional ineffective methods.

Historically cyber security, for some reason, has always been ignored or has never been able to take the center stage in many enterprises; which it should have been honestly. Many big and small enterprises, government and nongovernment agencies and even financial institutions have knowingly or unknowingly disregarded it at some point and have paid huge costs and consequences not only on the financial front but also in terms of reputational losses which probably are much severe than any financial losses in today’s business world.

Today, since the head to toe of your enterprise is connected to the external world through the internet and the hearts, lungs and kidneys of your enterprise systems are residing on the cloud; you should seriously consider cyber security as one of the prime focus areas for your enterprise. And even as an individual or an ordinary citizen, the time has arrived that we all should understand the importance of cyber security and become aware of the threats that are originating.

Although cyber criminals can operate from any part of the world and can belong to any blacklisted or whitelisted countries but you will be surprised to know that the majority of the devastating cyber attacks that happened in the past are well organized, well researched, well strategized and well conducted originating from a single epicenter. And astonishingly the masterminds of most of those attacks in the past had been operated from an strange world just next to you; called “The Dark Net”, which many of you probably are not even aware of.

Physically and digitally the “Dark Net”, sometimes referred to as the “Dark Web” is located deep underneath the “Deep Web” which is essentially not indexed by any of the search engines like the popular Google, Bing, Yahoo search, etc. Let me take a step back and explain what is “Surface Web”, “Deep Web” and the “Dark Web” for those readers who are probably scratching their heads. If you consider the entire internet as an iceberg, only the tip of which above the surface of the water is just about 10% of the entire iceberg is the “Surface Web”. Your search engine operates only within this tiny area where we common people have access to. The rest 90% under the water comes under “Deep Web” which is not accessible to your search engines and that contains humongous amount of data and information from different government and non-government agencies, enterprises, military data, data from research agencies, academia & universities, etc. Arguably a small portion of this Deep Web, probably around 5%, very deep down at the extreme bottom of the iceberg is the “Dark Web” where all these criminal masterminds – hackers, killers, mafias, drugs dealers, terrorists etc. operate from.

These groups of people with a very different ideology and social mental orientation from the mainstream call themselves “Crypto Anarchists”, which is a form of cyber-spatial realization of anarchism. They safeguard the boundary of their Dark World with as tight as a crypto wall that your normal browser can not penetrate into. But apart from this physical boundary there is also a thick boundary of ideology and beliefs which distinguish the Crypto Anarchists from the rest of the mainstream world.

Dark Net is not just a different place in the internet, rather the foundation of the Dark Net is established on a different ideology, thought process and different personalities that operate in it all together. Although these anarchists are considered as criminals by the governments of different countries but they don’t consider themselves against humanity. They claim that “for the real growth of humanity, there should always be a tough competition of good and bad minds and thus humanity can reach it’s real excellence”. They also believe privacy and anonymity is fundamental to human because it allows free human action according to their own will. Eternally a human is made to use their own brain and mind and make their own decisions. It could be good or bad; they choose it and deal with their own consequences. These Crypto Anarchists strongly believe that if human minds has to develop under the pressure of strict regulations and guidelines ; it will squeeze or suppress the human ability, development and the human evolution. In short “Free Human Actions” what these anarchists advocate. But their definition of “Free Human Action” is probably autocratic which does not hold good for a healthy society or a nation or even for the whole world.

The idea of the Crypto Anarchy was to run a parallel system, a parallel economy and a parallel world which is completely contrast to the mainstream world with anonymity, absolute privacy and unrestricted human actions constituting alike dark-minded individuals. But soon turned into a big marketplace and operating ground for all types of criminal activities. Soon it has became the marketplace for all types of illegal arms and ammunitions, illegal drugs, illegitimate items like stolen credit cards, passports, visas, fake green cards, driving licenses, etc. Characterized by hackers for hire, professional killers for hire, political activists for hire and even extremists of different parts of the world operate from the Dark Net. But the most worrying fact is, it has become the playground for the most dangerous Cyber Criminals which we all should be aware of from our cyber security and safety point of view. Cyber crime today is an organized crime and a huge business outcome associated with it for the criminals and probably the most terrifying threat to humanity in future after the nuclear warfare. So knowing the threat, its probable magnitude and assessing your security systems that are supposed to combat such threats will always give you an upper hand.

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