Deep Web Roundup: Intelligence Official Charged With Selling Secrets, Disney Visits the Darknet
A French intelligence official has been charged with selling state secrets on the dark web for BTC. Also in this roundup, we look at a new threat analysis tool trawling deep web sites for certain keywords and detail a surprise namecheck in Disney’s latest movie.
French Officer Charged With Selling State Secrets
There’s more to the deep web than criminality; like every part of the internet, the darknet can be used for good, bad, and the vast expanse of gray that lies between the two. But even when there is lawless behavior being perpetrated on the darknet, it isn’t always by the sort of criminals you might expect to be complicit.
When there’s illicitly obtained data to be sold, the deep web is the first place most thieves set up shop. Usually those criminals are fleeing the law, not acting as law enforcement officers themselves. French publication Le Parisien has detailed an officer with the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI) who’s been remanded after being indicted for selling state secrets. The charges allege that the unnamed officer was selling documents on the deep web in exchange for bitcoin.
France’s DGSI intelligence agency handles counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, cybercrime and surveillance of criminal groups, organizations, and social phenomena. Its officers are therefore privy to sensitive information that would naturally be of interest to suspects, not least those who are under investigation. After the French intelligence services discovered the leak, they succeeded in tracing the documents back to the officer who uploaded them and promptly arrested the individual before proceeding to dismantle the criminal network the officer had been investigating, presumably believing the case to be compromised.
It has been reported that the DGSI agent faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. Cases involving law enforcement agents going rogue in the context of the deep web are not unheard of. Most famously, during the Silk Road investigation DEA agents Shaun Bridges and Carl Force turned to theft and extortion. Controversially, however, their tainted evidence was permitted as part of the case that ultimately helped to convict Ross Ulbricht.
Using Keywords to Perform Deep Web Threat Analysis
A recent study proposes a threat intelligence tool to identify suspicious activities on darknet sites. The deep web, due to its design, is notoriously difficult to trawl for information in the same manner as the clearnet. The researchers’ tool, developed in Python, was used to trawl over 4,300 deep web sites known to be associated with criminal activity. It then grouped keywords according to high priority (typically weapons-related terms such as “FN SCAR 17S” or drugs such as heroine), medium, and low priority. The tool’s most obvious application is of course for law enforcement seeking to identify deep web domains responsible for the majority of the chatter surrounding proscribed topics.
Disney’s interpretation of the deep web in Wreck It Ralph 2
Disney Visits the Darknet
The trailer for Wreck It Ralph 2 is out and its titular character is headed to some very dark places. Set on the internet, complete with a series of in-jokes about Rick Rolling, cats, and flossing, the movie takes a trip to somewhere Disney audiences probably never imagined they’d be led: the deep web. That’s right, the creators of such cutesy cartoon capers as Frozen are plunging their audience into a realm synonymous with hard drugs, assassination marketplaces, honeypots and hacks. “This is what’s called the darknet,” announces a voice (around 2:00 in the trailer below) before Ralph comes face-to-face with a two-headed monster. File this one under Things We Never Thought We’d See Happen. The next generation to visit the deep web are going to be in for a rude awakening.