Despite arguments from governments that encryption would hinder their ability to fight criminals, this clearly isn’t the case. In a recent example one of the biggest child porn sites on the dark web was recently taken down.
No backdoors were needed to track down the owner of the server or hundreds of the site’s visitors. For that matter, the FBI didn’t even need a warrant. The FBI did not deploy its infamous NIT (Network Investigative Technique) to track down site users. The flaw was the payment system linked to the site. Users may have thought their Bitcoin transactions couldn’t be traced back to them, but they were wrong.
The Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse: Terrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers, organized crime.
Bitcoin remains the cryptocurrency of choice on the dark web, according to a report from TheNextWeb. That might be mostly a matter of inertia, however, as privacy-oriented cryptos are gaining steam. Cryptos like Monero and Dash, as well as others, have features baked into their underlying blockchain that can make it much harder to trace transactions. From TheNextWeb‘s coverage:
Bitcoin is still very much the dark web‘s favorite cryptocurrency, but those looking to cover their tracks are slowly learning to use privacy-focused alternatives. […] Authorities say there has been a more “pronounced shift” towards more privacy-orientated cryptocurrencies, and expects this trend to continue as criminals become more security aware.
The spyware may not be sophisticated, but it shows that cyber criminals are looking to Macs as a source of money and mayhem.