According to news site novilist.hr, Croatia has seen an increase in dark web criminal activity, recently. The report says, since the anonymity of the Tor network and dark net marketplaces, more and more potential criminals are using the dark web for their activities.
“Such people are more difficult to identify than on other conventional platforms, but that does not mean they are absolutely safe. Doing such activities on different layers of access to the Internet only allows a certain degree of anonymity”, said Kristina Posavec leader of the department of high-tech crime.
There were a couple of dark net cases where Croatian law enforcement authorities took part in. For example, the takedown of cybercriminal forum Darkode. Recently, a 22-year-old was arrested for ordering 115 grams of amphetamines from dark net markets. The drugs came in three packages, however, the last one was intercepted by law enforcement authorities.
According to Posavec, dark web becomes popular in the country as people discover what products and services they have access to. However, she added, dark net activity in the past few years became a problem for the Croatian government.
“There are plenty of these dark net markets that offer absolutely everything – from drugs, weapons and stolen personal information to child pornography, credit card information and illicit drugs. Absolutely everything, whatever you wish, you can find there, “says Posavec.”If someone wants to get drugs he no longer needs to look for dealers in dark alleys when you can order drugs that will arrive at your home address, packed in a box of CDs or a box of chocolates. This is one of the most popular methods because it is more convenient and easier. A 14-15-year-old child can easily order drugs from the living room, without the knowledge of his parents.”
Tonimir Kišasondi, a computer expert at Varazdin Faculty of Organization and Informatics said the Tor Network can be both used for legal, illegal, moral and immoral purposes. He brought journalists as legal examples since sometimes they need to work in anonymity, especially when investigating sensitive cases.
“It’s the same reason why people do not want their phone number is listed in the phone book,” says Kišasondi. “Facebook, for example, has a hidden service for accession in countries with restrictions on freedom of speech and information, and that filter and censor the Internet, and many media companies use these services to communicate and exchange documents.”
“For some illegal activities, dark web is not required because a lot of things work on the normal web. The development of social networks, virtual communication, and data exchange is increasing all types of internet fraud activities,” warns Posavec.
Posavec said that people should be really careful with their personal information since if details are stolen, they could easily become victims of cybercriminals.
“People are very sensitive when someone in the physical world asks for personal information, including banking information, marital status, children or income, but at the same time they reveal any personal information on Facebook, or even publish photographs of half-naked children on holidays, which can be used by pedophile pages,” she added.
Kišasondi thinks the Tor Network will gain popularity in the future since people will fear data mining and use the Tor browser instead of “traditional” web browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox.
“Some subcultures want to use TOR, have blogs on the dark net because they are aware of the problem and want to maintain their privacy and anonymity,” says Kišasondi.
In the past few years in Croatia, there are about 1200 cases including cybercrime per year, which is a significant increase compared to the 300-400 instances in 2008 and 2009.