(CBS) — We use the internet for almost everything, but you may not realize there’s an entire underground online network where illegal activity happens. CBS 2s Lionel Moise goes inside the dark web and shows you why it’s so hard to catch criminals lurking there.
You’ll find illegal items like fake IDs and counterfeit currency all online for a price.
According to Evolve Security co-founder Paul Petefish, this marketplace and others like it use a deep web browser that hides your actual location.
“It looks as if we’re coming from Europe,” said Petefish.
Within seconds of exploring the deep web we found over 15,000 sales for drugs including heroin, cocaine and marijuana. In addition to the drugs we found fake Illinois drivers licenses, credit card and bank information and dangerous weapons.
“We have what looks to be an assault rifle, AK 47,” said Petefish.
That assault rifle AK 47 was selling for 10 bitcoin which would be about $4,000.
You can buy bitcoins at bitcoin ATM machines using cash, leaving very little trace of your identity.
Bitcoin currency along with the anonymity and encryption used on the dark web makes it harder for authorities to catch criminals, but not impossible.
FBI Special Agent Jay Kramer said they are focused on the top vendors who are buying and selling and trafficking on the dark web.
In 2014, federal authorities busted a child porn ring with several victims from the Chicago area.
In 2013, a local customs agent helped take down Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road drug marketplace he ran. Some drugs bought on that marketplace were shipped through O’Hare. Both sites were shut down, but many others still exist.
Detective Richard Wistocki works in the high tech crimes unit for the Naperville Police Department.
“It’s just like drug dealing you take one guy off the corner and three more replace him,” said Wistocki.
Last year he helped arrest 19-year-old Brandon Willson who allegedly conducted hacks through the dark web.
Wistocki warns parents to really be involved and know exactly what their kids are doing online.
“These kids are so intelligent and it’s scary but they could be doing so much good instead of creating so much havoc,” said Wistocki.
As for criminals using the dark web, Wistocki said they get greedy and pompous and it’s just a matter of time before they get caught. Brandon Willson is awaiting trial in Will County.
As for the deep web browser used for the dark net, there are legitimate uses. For example – people living under oppressive government regimes who want to get information out and whistleblowers who fear for their safety.