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Dark web has increased exponentially and continues to grow during the pandemic, research concludes


Forums dedicated to cybercrime in dark web grew by 44% during isolation caused by the new coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), conclude researchers at Israeli information and intelligence security Sixgill.

According to the survey “Dynamics of Dark Web Forums” published this Tuesday (05), the number of new members from five of the main dark web cybercriminal forums (in english and russian) increased by 44% in 2020. To arrive at these results, the researchers analyzed the number of publications and new users during the year.

According to the survey, the number of visitors grew exponentially and simultaneously in the five forums analyzed, without the growth of one affecting the popularity of others. The company monitors the number of users of the forums analyzed since its foundations until today.

Comparative study growth. Photo: Sixgil.
Comparative study growth. Photo: Sixgil.

“We analyzed five extremely popular clandestine forums in English and Russian, from their inception to the end of 2020. We found that they have indeed increased their members exponentially. The growth of one site did not hinder the growth of another, which means that the overall dark web user base is growing”, Writes Sixgill’s head of security research, on the company’s blog.

Lerner explains that this information is worrying, since as the population of the dark web increases, cybercriminal activity also increases, consequently. “As the population of the dark web increases, so does the wider criminal activity”.

For the researcher, the isolation and increased hours of young people at home – eventually, with nothing to do – resulted in a massive increase in users in dark web cybercriminal forums. “Some of these users were bored at home and decided to explore. Others may have been interested in resorting to crime amid the economic shocks of the pandemic ”, he concludes.

Sources: Dynamics of Dark Web Forums; Sixgill.

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