Author: KYODO NEWS / Source: Kyodo News+
Japan is playing catch-up in the fight to protect its citizens from having their private information accessed and used against them in the internet’s darkest corners.
Criminals are increasingly using the so-called darknet to engage in illegal activities involving drugs, firearms and cyberattack-linked software, and Japanese people are far from immune from their illicit efforts.
Dark websites, which for the most part are not used for illicit purposes, are those that are difficult for authorities to monitor because they are encrypted or have layers of network protection that make it near impossible to track someone’s online activities.
For browsing, users can simply download free software through which they can anonymously access a variety of dark websites and pay for services using bitcoin, the digital “cryptocurrency,” or other anonymous altcoins, allowing the source and receiver of an interaction or transaction to be masked.
In the wake of recent ransomware attacks that brought to light the complications inherent in an increasingly connected online world, Japan and other nations have been stepping up measures to protect against potential attacks and cracking down on dark websites.
On one such dark site, what appears to be the private information of Japanese people is advertised as “products.” Names, addresses, credit card information, and other personal data can be purchased, using bitcoin, in a set for $10 (about 1,100 yen).
The site shows a blacked out image of Japan superimposed with the crimson-red circle of the Japanese flag.
Other items that purport to be people’s driver’s licenses or online payment service accounts are auctioned, and there is even a post that offers a high price to buy medical data belonging to Japanese people.
“Recently the personal information of Japanese people has become prominent,” said Hiroki Iwai, a cybersecurity analyst at Deloitte Tohmatsu…
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