Police to beef up probe into ‘dark web’
Police will intensify their investigation into the “dark web,” an encrypted network inaccessible through traditional search engines, as dark web sites have become a hotbed of crimes such as child porn distribution and illegal drug trading.
The Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) said Sunday cybercrime units of all regional police agencies across the country will deal with dark web-related crimes, a great increase from the six-member team within the agency that has been handling cases so far.
Other teams at the agency will also support investigations into dark web sites, and the police will additionally seek cooperation with its overseas counterparts.
“We’ll assign as many officers as possible to thoroughly investigate illegal activities taking place on the dark web, such as child porn distribution, illicit trading of drugs and firearms, cyber-mercenaries and trading of personal information,” a police official said. “Not only the operators of such dark web sites, but also those using them, are subject to punishment.”
The police will especially look into child porn, following the recent arrest of 338 people from 32 countries, including 223 Koreans, for using a Korea-based dark web site storing 250,000 child pornography videos.
The operator of the site, a Korean man named Son Jongwoo, 23, is in prison after being sentenced to 18 months in jail by a local court here.
The dark web is inaccessible through ordinary search engines such as Naver or Google, and access often requires special software or authorization.
According to police estimation, fewer than 10,000 Koreans visited dark web sites per day early this year, but the number hiked to around 20,000 in early August. It has decreased again since September to a level of about 13,000 a day, along with the police investigation into some of the sites.
“People believe the dark web is a safe zone and those participating in illegal activities there are not caught. But we’ll conduct thorough investigations so they will learn such perceptions are wrong,” the official said.