THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Darknet is that area of the internet which stays out of public glare and need special software to access it. In the last one decade or so, the darknet crimes have gone on from being a menace to a monstrous threat forcing several countries and alliances such as European Union to launch counter measures. European Union had funded a research project in 2017 to develop tools for agencies to fight the crime - an objective that they are set to achieve in another one year.
Kerala has largely been safe from this scourge. So far, the state has not witnessed any massive offenses routed through the dark bellies of the internet. However, the change in trends in the global crime scenario added up with a few cases of seizure of LSD stamps from the state- they were found to have been purchased via encrypted sites- have prompted the Kerala Police to foray into the untested waters.The Cyber Dome, headed by ADGP Manoj Abraham, has been directed to conduct research on darknet and its Kerala connections. Sources told Express the work in this directtion has already begun and the cyber experts have been on the job for the last 30 days.
ADGP Manoj told Express that their prime focus is on Kerala-related things in darknet.
“A lot of crimes such as drug sales, credit card fraud, counterfeit currency, counterfeit passport sale and child pornography have been on the rise through the darknet. Since darknet is immune to surveillance and the IP addresses are re-routed, the real IP addresses mostly remain hidden and the identity of the users are seldom known,” said Manoj.
The prime requirement to fight darknet crimes is to develop statistics and information on user pattern in the darknet markets, he added.“There are no reliable tools to break into the network and the best way to detect crimes in darknet is to be in that space and partake in activities. We are already there,” he added.
First for the force
By wading into the unchartered territory, Kerala Police has become the first police force in the country to officially announce an anti-darknet plan.
As per Manoj, the number of cases related to child pornography and drug abuse have been on the rise darknet could contribute to so many such cases. “Unfortunately, the exact data of the involvement of Keralites is difficult to trace. We want to change that. We want to arm ourselves with information and hence we are in that space,” he said. The technical support has been secured from individuals working in private and government sectors.
Manoj said though the most of the activities of darknet happen in virtual world, there will be human presence at the end of the chain.“We want to get hold of the human elements involved in the crime. Once we can get hold of them, we can use the forensic evidences to prove the cases,” he added.