Dark Web Consequences Increase from Global Rise of Police-Friendly Laws
Laws favoring backdoor access to data for law enforcement are having a major impact on the dark web, and changes in use of the dark web are impacting businesses differently. MSSPs must adapt their strategies accordingly.
Charity Wright, former NSA and U.S. Army cyber threat intelligence analyst, works with IntSights Cyber Intelligence. She gave a presentation on these topics at RSA Conference 2019 – Asia Pacific & Japan last week in Singapore.
It’s not just businesses based inside those countries – Vietnam, China, Russia, and Australia – that are at increased risk, but those outside of these countries too. The effect on consumers is equally disconcerting to businesses that want to serve them as well.
“Isolationism, restrictions and data-privacy laws are driving citizens to the deep and dark web for anonymity, cryptocurrency, and access to otherwise restricted apps or information — including crime,” she said.
We dove into Wright’s insights in this Q&A for Channel Futures MSSP Insider to discover what MSSPs need to know to protect their clients, and to help their clients protect their customers.
“For example, accounting firms with tons of data on hand belonging to their massive bank clientele,” Wright said.
Channel Futures’ MSSP Insider: Why the combination of Vietnam, China, Russia, and Australia? That last country doesn’t seem to fit as it has a more Western bent than the other three.
Charity Wright: Each of these countries belongs in the APAC category and all four have recently created new internet laws that are creating lasting and possibly permanent changes to the threat landscape and dark-web usage.
CFMI: Let’s take one country at a time from your list, starting with Vietnam. What’s happening there?
CW: In June of last year, the Vietnamese National Assembly passed a new cybersecurity law requiring tech companies to open offices inside the country, store local user data in-country, and provide information on-demand to the Vietnamese government. The new law also enforces social media censorship that goes into effect now. As part of that censorship initiative, Force 47, a 10,000 member-strong cyberoffensive unit was formed to battle “inappropriate or toxic” views — largely meaning anything that threatens or opposes the government’s views.
This has led to a huge spike in deep- and dark-web use as people seek to circumvent the law, pursue anonymity and access more diverse information. A younger, tech-savvier generation is turning to the dark web to use Tor browser, VPNs and cryptocurrencies, as well as to explore opportunities in cybercrime.
The risk: Foreign companies operating inside Vietnam are forced to carefully weigh the benefits and risks each of these changes pose. Vietnam is the baby version of China.
CFMI: China is the king of surveillance. It’s difficult to think they can do anything more. But they made your list. Why?
CW: China has the strictest laws of any country in the world. It leads in internet monitoring, censorship and AI. It may be a prime example of what internet censorship could look like in the future as many governments around the world attempt to control the data flowing through and within their borders. China’s view of the internet is as “internet sovereignty”: the notion that the internet inside the country is part of the country’s sovereignty and should be governed by the country. Russia’s view is very similar.
The 2003 Golden Shield Project/The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is probably best known outside the country. It’s the combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People’s Republic of China to regulate the internet domestically. Since then, the Cybersecurity Law of China was enacted on June 1, 2017, and the new supplement, “Data Security Administrative Measures“ passed. The measures require …