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What you need to know about the Darknet

ST. LOUIS, MO - It’s called the Darknet, a network built on top of the existing internet and used by people to acquire illegal items, including your personal information. Many kids are accessing it without their parents knowing.

Vinny Troia of Night Lion Security, a professional, ethical hacking group, explains that the Darknet is a group of websites, marketplaces if you will, that live on a different part of the internet.In a matter of moments, he showed FOX 2’s Vic Faust that most of his personal information was for sale on a Darknet site.

Troia says, “You can buy drugs, stolen goods, counterfeit merchandise. There’s even a huge area for child trafficking, also underage porn.

It’s designed to be a hidden internet, used mostly by criminals who want to stay anonymous.

Larry McClain of Speartip, a cyber counterintelligence company in St. Louis, spent 20 years in law enforcement, including working for the FBI and Secret Service task force. He says investigating Darknet activity is not impossible, but there are challenges.

“Doing an investigation, it can be resolved to the Philippines or Washington state.  Those detectives may not be being paid to investigate crimes all over the world, when you need to take care of your own backyard.”

While browsing, FOX 2 saw bulks of credit cards on sale for next to nothing.

Troia adds, “On top of that you can purchase full identities of people for $5-$10 a pop.”

Bitcoin is how money is exchanged on the sites. No credit cards. That adds to the anonymous nature of the service and, yes, kids are using it.

“I would always recommend having a filter so you know what’s going on,” says Troia. “Number one, a filter on to block them but also a traffic monitor to actually see what they’re doing.”

Experts are also concerned with how Darknet sales may be funding terrorism.

“If you’re going out and, making a purchase, you’re buying whatever, it’s something to consider where that money is going. Either you’re fueling some crime syndicate or you’re fueling terrorists,” explains Troia.