Since time immemorial, criminal activities were centered on specific locations. The vast majority of witnesses and evidence for prosecution would be pegged within the vicinity of law enforcement agencies.
Migration of international criminal networks from brick-and-mortar settings to online platforms became a huge game changer as threat actors revolutionized the nature and extent of crime. The form and location of evidence, including methodologies to solve criminal cases changed dramatically.
Just like traditional criminal enterprises, modern cybercrime leaves a trail that may be followed by investigators. However, the investigative process of gathering and processing data from cybercriminal cases becomes rather difficult.
While the location of evidence may be pinpointed by law enforcement agents, the harvesting and processing of such material typically proves difficult considering dark web masterminds have been known to host their servers in offshore locations across the planet.
What Are the Best Practices?
In order for law enforcement agencies to successfully crack down on dark web establishments, they must adhere to a number of best practices ranging from crime identification, suspect identification, and processing of evidence.
The best practices serve as innovative avenues for circumventing, and even confronting, the already-existing law enforcement challenges that were mentioned earlier.
Dark Web Crime Identification
The process of running in-depth investigations must be preceded by the law enforcement effort to fully understand the wide range of criminal transactions that are enabled by the dark web ecosystem.
Today, various police departments have been known to receive scores of reports concerning all manner of criminal activities, including drug trafficking, weapons trade, child sex abuse, and ransomware.
The reports are normally linked to series of arrests that may be traced back to thousands of illicit transactions within specific localities. An understanding of this characteristic of dark web operation goes a long way to enable the authorities combat the illegal networks successfully.
Importantly, inter-agency partnerships have proved effective in unearthing darknet operations and bringing its masterminds to book. The power of multiagency partnerships can be clearly seen in successful anti-darknet operations that have been executed in the recent past.
Identification of Dark Web Suspects
Current models of anti-darknet law enforcement have been considered outdated by a host of experts that have attempted to audit the modern state of dark web policing. It turns out that a host of techniques being used by most police officers do not align with criminal evolution.
The antidote to the problem is for stakeholders to equip their law enforcement agents with the necessary updated knowledge and tools to deal with the wide range of issues happening within darknet spaces.
By plugging into modern concepts of smart law enforcement that take into account the rapid adaptation of dark web platforms, officers will have a greater chance at suspect identification whenever the need arises.
A number of information and communication technology (ICT) tools, including social media frameworks, email and other forms of online engagement, can provide the much-needed leads to criminal elements being targeted by anti-dark web police.
Identification and Processing of Evidence
The access, collection and preservation of digital evidence is a challenging process that exists beyond the issue of crime scene contamination. The value chain of dark web monitoring is seemingly dotted with fundamental shortcomings that have enable cybercriminals to continue operating
A number of these challenges stem from technical difficulties that would hamper the process of converting captured data into compelling evidence. In addition, the need for captured evidence to be clarified to the point of being easily digestible by the general public cannot be ignored.
The ever-increasing quantities of collected data, complex data formats, and cross-jurisdictional issues surrounding evidence handling must be addressed if law enforcement agencies will have a greater chance at dealing with the dark web menace