More than 60 percent of teens report that drugs are purchased, bought, and used at their school. Unfortunately for parents, teens are accessing some of the most dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine from no other place than their parent’s house. No longer is there risk of being robbed by drug dealer are getting beaten up in a bad neighborhood. Teens are flocking to the Dark Net to purchase drugs and then having them delivered to their parent’s mail box. The Dark Net is a group of anonymous websites that are hosted by a group of computers. These sites on the Dark Net are not indexed by search engines such as Google and Yahoo making them unsearchable to the general public.
Users that access sites from the Dark Net have to download special browsers to hide all of their web activity. Tor (The Onion Router) is probably the most famous browser used by teens. Tor uses onion routing which uses several layers of encryption. Tor makes it impossible to trace sites visited, internet activity, instant messages, and online posts. Tor has provided refuge for former drug sites such as Silk Road. Silk Road was the poster child for the Dark Net.
Silk Road was the Ebay of drug purchases. The site layout was very similar to the layout on Amazon and Ebay. Viewers see a list of drugs and prices for purchase. Silk Road is very popular within the drug community and has its own dedicated subreddit page. On October 2, 2013, the Federal Government shut down the website and arrested its alleged founder. Unfortunately, within five days of the shutdown Silk Road 2.0 launched to take its place. It didn’t make a year before it was shut down. These sites are popping up all over the place and there is little law enforcement can do to track them.
Sites such as Silk Road use currency known as bitcoins to conduct transactions. Bitcoins are not owned or operated through a bank thus they are hard to trace and provides anonymity to users. Payment is processed through private computers that are equipped to handle the transactions. Operators of the payment computers receive a transaction fee similar to Paypal.
The Dark Net and the sites that sell illegal drugs are hard to shut down. When one site is shut down another site appears within a matter of days. Parents have to be vigorous in preventing teens from accessing these sites. Here are some helpful tips to prevent teens from accessing and obtaining drugs from the Dark Net.
1. Conduct Surveillance: Go into the download folder of the computers in your home and look for any browsers that may have been downloaded to the machines. Most downloaded browsers will have their own folder. Delete all unknown browsers from the computers.
2. Check the Computer History: Most Tor sites use very long urls for their sites. These urls are too long for most people to memorize. Write down any unknown websites and use the Google Discussion search feature to determine if the urls are mentioned in any pro drug discussion forums.
3. Inspect the Mail: All mail has to be inspected that comes into the house. Make all underage adults in the house open packages in the presence of adults. Make sure that animals, cards, toys, etc. don’t have drugs hidden inside of them.
4. Search for PO Boxes: Prevent teens from owning PO boxes without permission. Most Silk Road users have drugs sent to a PO box to avoid drugs coming to the house.
5. Hire a Private Investigator: If all else fails hire a Private Investigator to seize all computers and mobile devices in the home. They can run forensic software to discover any hidden accounts or browsers.
Following these five tips are a start to safe guarding your teen from the dangerous drugs of the Dark Net.