The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) is actively recruiting cyber experts and dark web analysts to focus on the crackdown of illicit drug rings and operations being pursued by dark web marketplaces.
Specifically, NCA is on a lookout for G5 Armed Surveillance Investigator in the Armed Operations Unit, which according to local sources will cooperate with the Intelligence and Operations Directorate to lead investigations into dark web marketplaces and their illegal activities.
Earlier this year, DeepDotWeb reported that the UK has seen a drastic increase in dark web activity across many regions. According to a report covered by DeepDotWeb in June released by the Global Drug Survey, a staggering 25 percent of British drug users have been acquiring illicit substances from dark web marketplaces. In fact, the rate of dark web usage amongst illicit drug users of the UK was the third highest in the world, behind Norway and Finland.
A month after the release of the international drug survey by the London-based drug research group, the UK government and its law enforcement agencies including the National Counter Terrorism Policing Network declared a nationwide warning against dark web users. NCTP further emphasized that merely visiting dark web marketplaces could be considered by the law enforcement as a sign of terrorism.
On August 23, an NCA representative stated that through active recruitment of cyber security experts and dark web analysts, the government intends to lead the crackdown of dark web marketplaces that are conducting illegal activities involving drugs, weapon distribution and money laundering. The representative also noted that other serious criminal activities such as people smuggling and sexual abuse of children will be targeted by a newly formed and strengthened group of investigators.
“We are leading the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime – intelligence development allows us to build a comprehensive understanding of complex and varied threats such as firearms, the sexual abuse of children, people smuggling, drugs trafficking, economic and cyber crime. We pursue serious criminals – those who consider themselves above the law,” said the NCA representative.
In an extensive article, DeepDotWeb previously revealed that a prominent business journalist and analyst Anthony Hilton described dark web marketplaces as well-structured businesses. From financial activities to distribution, Hilton explained that most large-scale drug rings and illegal operations within the dark web are currently being managed and overseen like major conglomerates. Specialists in software development, hacking, finance, distribution, money laundering and network management lead independent departments to build and maintain well-structured and large-scale operations.
In its latest announcement, NCA stated that it is well aware of the sophisticated nature of many dark web marketplaces. NCA investigators acknowledge that dark web marketplaces are being run by career criminals and professional enablers, which makes investigations into popular dark web marketplaces and drug rings significantly more difficult.
Still, like the US law enforcement’s successful efforts in shutting down some of the world’s biggest dark web marketplaces such as AlphaBay, the UK government and its law enforcement agencies aim to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies across the globe to takedown dark web criminal organizations.
“Be they career criminals, professional enablers or those who lurk on the dark web, we will disrupt and bring offenders to justice. Our education campaigns are helping to change behaviour. We work in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, government and private and voluntary sectors,” NCA stated in an official announcement.
In the past year, the NCA has successfully led to 1,763 arrests domestically and 1,300 arrests overseas. With new recruits and a strengthened team of cyber security experts, dark web analysts and investigators, the NCA plans on launching dark web-targeted investigations in the upcoming months.