The Dark Web is increasingly becoming the marketplace for lone wolf terrorists to buy guns, explosives and homemade bomb kits, for drug dealers to sell their wares and for hackers to trade your personal data, Johnston Press investigations has found.
And what’s more, the criminals are often delivering to homes by post.
Reports by the not-for-profit research organisation RAND Europe has revealed that firearm sales on encrypted internet networks such as The Onion Router (Tor) are now a £60,000-a-month trade worldwide – and a quarter of that is heading to Europe.
The National Crime Agency has warned an increasing number of those arms are arriving at addresses via the postal system in either kit form or disguised as some other package - in one case as a vintage clock.
Large numbers of Syrian migrants are turning to the Dark Web to buy UK passports, while other studies have revealed the number of drugs being bought and sold on the Dark Web in the UK has doubled since 2014.
Our investigation revealed yesterday how personal data, one of the fastest growing commodities on the encrypted form of the internet, is also trading hands at one dollar per identity- with more than 10 million people in the UK currently blissfully unaware that their details are being traded by scammers for profit.
In perhaps the most shocking study of the Dark Web to date, research group RAND Europe has found that around six weapons transactions a month are being made by UK sellers on hidden cryptomarkets, which are styled very much in the mold of eBay and the like.
It means the UK is the third grossing highest nation for the sale of firearms on the Dark Web after the US and he Netherlands, netting an average of £3,840 each month on weapons sales.