Dark-web markets have been around for years. Since the launch of the first dark-net market, the industry has changed dramatically. These days, notable dark-net markets do not allow the sale of highly dangerous or immoral items. Drugs that can kill at low doses, weapons and child pornography are all examples of items that are banned on most markets. Markets that allow the sales of such items are usually not well accepted in the scene.
At the time of the first markets, the sale of weapons and highly dangerous drugs was not prohibited. Soon after, many markets resolved to delist such products. Most markets now have a list categorizing all the banned products. The list usually includes weapons of mass destruction, weapons and many other items. Narcotics like fentanyl that is 100 times more potents than heroin are prohibited on most platforms.
Dark-Nets Response to the Global Pandemic
Cyber intelligence firm Digital Shadows conducted a study. The paper published in March of 2020 details the response of the dark-net community to the recent pandemic. It was found that an enormously large number of vendors took advantage of the pandemic. Many users have been scammed, vendors simply just blamed the recent news. It was obserced that dark-net users reacted different to the increased wave of crime.
Many markets have been flooded with fake remedies for the virus. Markets like WHM have since banned such listings. Unfortunately a large number of people have been seeking such remedies. The wave of customers only helped such scam vendors profit. Interestingly, many were offering guidance on managing the situation.
Experts also found an increase in other cyber-crime sectors too. Ransomware attacks on health institutions have increased dramatically. This is because attackers know what a bad time it is to strike such institutions. This increases the chance for the cyber-criminals to get a ransom payment. Attacks on government agencies and private institutions have also increased.
The Limits of Markets
As mentioned above, most dark-net marketplaces have their own restrictions. Although lawless, these platforms usually follow most moral laws. Standard operating rules are constantly present.
Although such markets facilitate a large number of illicit trade, many items are banned. Most Markets allow the sale of most narcotics, software, stolen identities and services. Services such as hackers for hire are not that uncommon. Usually very dangerous narcotics are banned. Poisons, weapons and murder for hire are all on the list too. Any sexual content related to children is also highly prohibited.
Monopoly Market: Lack of Rules?
News media often describes monopoly as the small boy with big ambitions. This market does not specifically ban the listing of any goods. Despite that, the market seems to be dominated by nothing but drugs.
Despite that, the market has made an announcement in April this year. The ban of drug related to the recent pandemic has been prohibited by the team behind monopoly.
Eileen Ormsby, a dark-net writer published a tweet containing messages posted by the market's operator. The messages are referring to the recent warning sent out by Monopoly market. The warning is for vendors “caught flogging goods as a cure” for the pandemic. The warning came at a good time considering scams related to the pandemic have skyrocketed.
Apart from the ban on fake remedies, Monopoly has other restrictions. Although not a part of any list, some drugs cannot be sold on the platform. Whenever a vendor wants to create a listing on the market it has to go through an approval process. Only then can the listing go up. This means that very dangerous substances, weapon, fraud tools and child sexual abuse is prohibited.
White House Market, Dark Market, DeepSea Market, Versus Market & Hydra all have a set of rules too. From all these markets, Hydra, the Russian based marketplace has the strictest rules. Although uncertain, the most likely reason for this is to legal ramification.
Otherwise, all the mentioned marketplaces have a list of banned goods. The list features all the items you would expect. Weapons, highly dangerous substances and sexual abuse content.
White House Market, DeepSea and Dark Market have completely banned the sale of child sexual abuse content. This differs to Versus. Versus completely banned the sale of any pornographic material, no matter what category it fall under. In Terms of assassinations, all markets have taken action. None of these markets allows the listing of murder for hire services.
Further, all of these markets have banned substances that can kill in tiny amounts. Fentanyl is one such substance that cannot be found on any of the above mentioned markets.
Dark-net marketplaces started out as a completely free economy. No limits were set in place. Markets like SilkRoad and AlphaBay features weapon listings and more banned goods. Since then, the dark web evolved drastically. Although an illicit economy, the people behind it try to keep it moral. Allowing the sale of drugs that can is illegal but no immoral. When someone purchases drugs it is up to them to consume them. But on the other hand, goods such as weapons put others at risk. Banning such listings will keep more people safe while suntanning a sense of morality in an illicit economy.