The government is working on a cyber security monitoring and interference model, which will help law enforcement agencies to track activities of cyber criminals and terrorists who use the dark web to communicate as well as to buy and sell various products and services. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) is working with CSIR on developing a darknet/network telescope-based cyber security monitoring and interference framework. This will help law enforcement agencies track cyber criminals who sell illegal products and services on such platforms and also track terrorism-related communications and activities, a senior government official said. “Under this, government wants to create a darknet framework through which its agencies can capture, validate, curate and analyse data. Besides performing data analytics on darknet data, the project also aims to design and develop a database and navigation-cum-visualisation framework,” the official added.
Darknet, or dark web, is a network that is accessed using specialised software, configurations and authorisations. It generally uses non-standard communication protocols which makes it inaccessible by internet service providers (ISPs) or government authorities. Also it is not indexed by search engines like Google or Yahoo. Darknet is used for both legal and illegal activities, which is usually purchased through Bitcoins or other digital currencies.
Users generally access dark web through special software like Onion Router (Tor), which leverages a network of volunteer computers to route a users’ web traffic in a pattern that cannot be traced. A senior official from the ministry of electronics and IT explained that darknet is used to access blocked content or maintain privacy of sensitive communications or business plans. However, malicious actors like cyber criminals, terrorists and state-sponsored spies also use dark web for various activities like payment card fraud, selling banned drugs, sex trafficking as well as communicating each other.