The online environment is a bustling economy. Big business is leveraging it selling services and products to people who are spending a sizeable chunk of their days on their devices. The ‘bad guys’ are opportunistic. When they saw the flourishing online environment, they saw it as a landscape to conduct their criminal activities – safe behind screens, away from the watchful eye of authorities, undetected.
Special Agent Christopher W. Diorio is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to continue his crusade to educate law enforcement on the cyber nature of crimes. He’s been with the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for over 17 years, currently assigned to the Cyber Crimes Unit, and is the Program Manager for Cyber Training. He’s conducted cybercrime investigations that involve the darkweb, online undercover investigation, and digital forensics.
Topics he discussed in this session are:
- An overview of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – their mission, the scope of their work, and their global footprint.
- An introduction to the economics of the internet.
- How the internet by itself is big business influencing people’s spending and consumption.
- The economic incentive that motivates companies to target people online by observing their online behavior and looking at the devices they’re using and the processes they’re running.
- How the bad actors seized the opportunity the internet offers to expand their operations in form of cybercrime.
- The value of privacy in the online world and how encryption provided this.
- Systems that provide encryption to uphold privacy and how these were again corrupted by bad actors by leveraging encryption technology to create anonymity.
- Shedding light on what the surface, deep and dark web actually is, and its key characteristics minus the hype of how ominous the dark web is.
- What darknet marketplaces (DNMs) are, how it is used for illicit activity, and how transactions are processed in it.
- The rise and fall of DNMs: Its rise to popularity, how law enforcement infiltrated and cracked down on the illegal operations, the exit scams, and how it lost its users’ trust.
- Evading the risk of being caught or exit scammed
- Behavior and opportunities that the DNM players are partaking in to continue with their illicit activities.
- How DNMs are attempting to rebuild the trust of both the buyers and the vendors in their platforms and how vendors are safeguarding their privacy.
- Persistence, cooperation, and ingenuity as law enforcement’s best weapons to curtail illegal online activities by focusing on:
- Spotting the mistakes the cybercriminals will inevitably commit as a way in to unravel their operation.
- Using traditional investigative techniques and applying these in the cyber arena.
- Creating more obstacles to the cybercrime operation making them more vulnerable to mistakes.
- A case study that showed how multi-agency collaboration and persistently applying tried and true investigative methods is able to crack down a global drug operation.
- The importance of collaboration, education, investigative skills, and the ability to evolve practices and policies based on existing technology in solving cybercrimes and future-proofing public safety.
Questions from the audience were about:
- How local agencies can reach out to and collaborate with HSI.
- Working on investigations and cases across countries with varying laws and familiarity with cybercrime and the darknet.
- The impact of COVID on DNM activities.
- Tracing the cryptocurrency blockchain and encrypted email platforms.
- How DNMs make money from the transactions made on their platform.
- Online platforms’ level of control and ability to see the content people are posting.
Resources and Handouts
- “Awesome information, never knew how many different chat applications are on the deep web, and how many Darknet Marketplaces there are. Thank you for the Webinar, great job!” — Vicente
- “Have a better understanding of how operations occur in the dark and deep dark web.” — Teresa
- “I did particularly like the case study where the things that were presented were applied to a real-life situation.” — Susan D.
- “Engaging speaker, clear and well-structured presentation, fascinating topics and case study, and appealing slides. This webinar was top notch!” — Samuel
- “Very professional delivery and knowledge of the subject.” — Patrick
- “Chris is so knowledgeable and a great public speaker. Always look forward to his cyber crimes topics. — Nicole
- Everything!!! This was an amazing webinar! I have taken many Dark/Deep Web courses, and this one really shined among some of the rest. I really liked the case examples and investigative descriptions. I hope JCH does another Dark Web course in the near future!” — Nicholas
- “I enjoyed his presentation. At times, it was difficult to follow, very technical. This information would help me understand the cases I have with foster care. How the dark web does influence the parents of these children who are in the system. They are on illegal drugs and it does explain how they might be obtaining these drugs, it could be through the dark web. Child exploration is another aspect of the dark web.” — Phyllis
- “I really loved this webinar, it was so eye-opening.” — Marci
- “Eye-opening! Excellent instruction on complex emerging issues. I really appreciated the concise clarification of dense material. An incredible amount of information conveyed in only an hour!” — Libby
- “Well done! I was actually able to follow you with a solid understanding!!! I usually am just overwhelmed by this topic and find it difficult to comprehend the material presented. Thank You!” — Julie
- “All of it was extremely valuable. This presenter and the webinar topic are the BEST that Justice Clearinghouse offers. WELL DONE.” — Jill
- “Getting to see and hear the step-by-step process of how a case came into existence and was seen through arrests and indictments was fascinating! It also helped me to wrap my head around something as big and mysterious as the dark web.” — Danny