The ‘Dark Web’ consists of underground websites that cannot be found with normal search engines such as Google and Bing, and can not be visited with conventional browsers. On the Dark Web there is a sanctuary where criminals trade everything from drugs to contract killings and fake documents. Computer Idea dived into the dark bustles of the Internet and looked up the rogue passport merchants.
Disturbed we look at the web page that security investigator Dr. Vincenzo Ciancaglini of Trend Micro has just opened on his screen. The page is owned by one (or more) criminal who offers passports, driving licenses, identity cards and the like. The site does not revel how and why this is accomplished, but the photos suggest that these are real documents. No data has yet been entered, which makes them ideal for creating a false identity.
The site that Ciancaglini shows us is one of many that offer false identity documents in the digital underworld. Including promotions:
“We offer high quality original passports, driving licenses, identity cards, stamps and other products for the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and a number of other countries,” said the website.
For a falsified passport, a buyer has to pay 600 euros, as Ciancaglini shows us with a click of his mouse. And when he then opts for ‘Netherlands’, we see the well known, blue delineated inner side of a Dutch passport.
The page comes from the Dark Web, a network of online marketplaces where it is easy to buy soft drugs or illegal software, for example.
Easy to find
It’s easy to find soft drugs on the Dark Web. They are easy to come by, according to the researcher. For example, there is a “very popular site called Grams that allows you to easily search Dark Web sites where drugs trafficking occurs”. Besides soft drugs, medicines such as Ritalin, hard drugs, illegal copies of games and online accounts are also very popular. The latter include login names and passwords for bank account numbers, online auction sites and games sites. In addition, physical credit cards are also for sale on the Dark Web.
According to the researcher, there are also quite a few sites that claim to sell credit cards, passports and other identity cards. However, it is difficult to check that this is the case without actually purchasing these documents. Of course, it may just as well be swindlers who are trying to scam other criminals.
There are even hired killings available to book on the Dark Web. One of the most disturbing services for sale is contract killing. There are various websites for this purpose, which do very secretively about their activities. Ciancaglini:
“For example, there is a website that clearly states that all contracts are private, they cannot show evidence of previous work or even feedback from previous customers. Instead, they ask clients to prove in advance that they have enough bitcoins to get the job done. This is done via an escrow service. The payment shall be deposited with an intermediary and only if the hired assassination has actually been committed and the perpetrator has provided evidence thereof shall the funds be released.”