Cannabis is the most exchanged product on the Deep Web

By Oscar Pascual |

Federal authorities may have seized the dark market site Silk Road in 2014, but cannabis continues to be bought on the Deep Web.

In fact, marijuana is the most commonly exchanged resource on the Deep Web, according to a new study conducted by Trend Micro.

The Internet security professionals at Trend Micro define the Deep Web as a massive chunk of the Internet that isn’t accessible through search engines, which includes the Dark Web that Silk Road operated in, as well as dynamic web pages, TOR, and I2P sites, to name a few.

Trend Micro’s Forward-Looking Threat Research Team built a Deep Web Analyzer tool specifically to collect URLs from hidden sites — such as those on Tor — and extract information such as page content and links.

Their data found that the most common product sold on such sites was cannabis, taking up 32 percent of all products sold on the Deep Web. Pharmaceutical drugs and MDMA followed, taking 21 and 11 percent of the market respectively. Illicit drugs LSD and methamphetamine were also sold, but each took only 5 percent of the Deep Web market.

The Deep Web also seems to house ill repute, as Trend Micro’s team discovered numerous sites and services for money laundering, child exploitation, and even alleged sites to hire assassins.

Despite all that shady business going down, Trend Micro also points out that not all Deep Web activity is deplorable.

“While there are, of course, sites dedicated to drugs and weapons, a huge chunk of Deep Web sites are dedicated to more mundane topics — personal or political blogs, news sites, discussion forums, religious sites, and even radio stations,” Trend Micro’s report reads. “Just like sites found on the Surface Web, these niche Deep Web sites cater to individuals hoping to talk to like-minded people, albeit anonymously.”

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