LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY OF THE DARK WEB 46 JULY–AUGUST 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM crime early on, you can respond much more quickly. Conducting Investigations on the Dark Web Even with your company's measures to protect itself from cyber crime, as a security professional, sometimes you feel the need to do more. Though only a very small portion of the Internet is on the dark web, you still might find it helpful to use the dark web when conducting investigations. Below is a how-to guide for searching the dark web. Search for dark web URLs on a regular search engine. Even though the dark web is generally not indexed, it is possible to use a search engine to see what non-anonymous dark web sites exist. Use the search term [something illegal] inurl:.onion.to. For example, you can use this tip to see if dark web sites have shoplifting master lists for specific retailers or how-to guides for defeating various types of EAS tags. The caveat is that this method will only capture a very small amount of the information. It's a quick and simple trick and will yield less that 5 percent of what is actually available on the dark web. Check your company policy before starting an investigation on the dark web. Although using the dark web is completely legal, many companies have strict policies against it. Use a computer dedicated for searching the dark web. An even greater risk is that bad actors could discover your information and access your system, so you do not want to put your personal or work computer at risk. Instead, buy a cheap computer for this specific purpose. Download the Tor browser. The Tor browser is the most common way to access the Tor network. Other browsers and methods are available, but the Tor browser is the most secure way to date. Connect to the dark web using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN adds another layer of anonymity and prevents third parties from seeing your web traffic. Instead of using your home or work network, connect to a VPN while conducting your investigations on the dark web. Do not use a VPN provided by your workplace, as this defeats the purpose of protecting your work from any potential attacks. Create a new email address for the dark web. Once you are logged into the Tor network, create a new email address that you will only use on the dark web. Do not log in with any other email addresses. Do not use any identifiable or personal information. Do not use your real name, photos, previous usernames or even passwords you have used before on the surface web. This will put you at risk of being traced back to your personal or work accounts. Do not download content from the dark web. If you want to save content you need for an investigation, use the screen capture tool or a screen recording software. If you feel it is necessary, work with a technical expert or download content into a "sandbox," a virtual space isolated from the rest of your computer to protect it from any possible malware. Myths and Misconceptions People often associate the dark web with weapons, drugs, human trafficking, and child pornography. But a 2016 study by Terbium Labs showed that only 47.7 percent of .onion domains hosted illegal activity. And with the prolific amount of illicit material already available on the surface web, bad operators often find it unnecessary to resort to the dark web. In fact, a 2015 British study found seventy-nine active child pornography sites on the dark web—but 78,000 sites on the surface web. There are many fabricated stories about the dark web, often created and spread by the media and most of which are untrue or simply impossible. Below is a list of the most common myths and misconceptions and why they are not true Myth: It is illegal to access the dark web. Accessing the dark web is completely legal. Furthermore, the content of the dark web is mostly legal—over 50 percent of the dark web does not contain illegal or illicit content. Some people fear that searching the dark web will bring law enforcement knocking at your door. That's what criminals are worried about. As a retail security professional, your only concerns should be the bad guys themselves. Myth: The dark web is only for criminals. The dark web was made for anonymous, not illegal, activity. That means that many dark web users just want to research or communicate without revealing their identities. These users can range from citizens of countries with strict Internet With the prolific amount of illicit material already available on the surface web, bad operators often find it unnecessary to resort to the dark web. In fact, a 2015 British study found seventy-nine active child pornography sites on the dark web—but 78,000 sites on the surface web.

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