The Dark Connection Between the Dark Web and Money Laundering

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The Dark Connection between the Dark Web and Money Laundering

Governments are taking strict action against criminals involved in the trade of illegal drugs and identity theft. They are trying to identify and prevent criminal activities on the dark web. Dark web criminal activities have become a pressing issue for governments worldwide, and they take the appropriate measures to prevent these illegal activities and catch the criminals. 

Users use the surface web for their online activities and access the web pages indexed by search engines. But there’s another dark part of the web that criminals are rampantly using to launder their dirty money. The dark web refers to websites that users cannot access via regular browsers. The users’ location and internet activities are hidden on the dark web, and authorities cannot scrutinise them. So, when authorities or agencies conduct network analysis or traffic analysis, the users cannot be identified. The content accessed on the dark web is hidden and casual users cannot access it.

Privacy and anonymity are the two factors that make the dark web a popular platform rampantly used to launder money. Other criminal activities are also conducted on a large scale, such as the trade of illegal drugs, goods, extortion, etc., to evade authorities’ attention.

Financial institutions need to adopt strict measures that will help identify, prevent, and report illegal activities and prevent illicit money from entering the legal system. Many organisations fall prey to the dark web and have suffered data breaches in which third-party vendors with their inefficient fraud mechanism have made the criminals’ work easy

Risks of Dark Web

Did you know that cyber-attacks and data breaches are among the most prominent global risks? It’s not surprising to learn this trend as digital technology is omnipresent. Today’s world thrives on the internet, which has become an integral part of our lives. 

Let’s discuss what criminals are doing on the Dark Web.

  • Money Laundering is a common crime conducted on the dark web as it allows the transfer of illicit funds to anonymous accounts.
  • Phishing is a common cyber-attack that has plagued the modern digital world. It is an easy method for criminals to do frauds using fake websites, emails, and messages which appear legitimate, and ordinary users cannot detect that these are fake. They fool users, grab their credit card details, and pose substantial financial and identity theft risks. 
  • Today, identity theft is a massive cyber problem as criminals impersonate legit users on the web, steal their data, and access their financial accounts. 
  • Malware is software laden with a virus that hacks the mobile phone or PCs to steal sensitive data.
  • Criminals steal credit card details to make purchases of large amounts and indulge in fraudulent purchases. They also buy the data of stolen credit cards from other cybercriminals who took advantage of the weak cyber systems. 

Criminals operating on the dark web are compensated with virtual currencies that make it even easier for criminals to launder money. Virtual currencies are not legalised in most countries. There are many challenges that authorities have to face in identifying the money laundering cases with virtual currencies. It makes it difficult for monitoring agencies to track the users and their online activities.

Connection Between the Dark Web and Money Laundering

New UAE Law on Cyber Security

UAE has implemented several laws for cyber security and put in place several legal measures. The new Cyber Crime law addresses the growing concern of cyber security issues in the UAE.

How to Mitigate the Risks from the Dark Web?’s essential to know your customers to ensure that your business is associated with a legitimate entity or organisation. Identifying the UBO- Ultimate Beneficial Owner is necessary for any institution. Financial institutions need to understand the type and nature of the business, and the risk posed by the same needs to be examined at all levels.

Whether it’s KYC- Know Your Customer or the CDD – Customer Due Diligence process- financial institutions should diligently follow every step for risk assessment. It will help businesses identify any suspicious transaction, trace the source of the money, and prevent illegally obtained from entering their company.

Companies can adopt this vigilant approach and prevent the misuse of the internet to launder money and fund criminal and terrorist activities. Financial institutions can use AI and ML to avoid criminals with AML software. Modern technologies such as Blockchain can prove to be effective in preventing money laundering and ensuring AML compliance. 

Role Of AML UAE:

The dark web is massive, secretive, and home to criminals involved in huge cyber-frauds. Businesses need strong support to combat the challenges and risks posed by the criminals on the dark web. Get robust help from AML professionals with expertise, experience, and updated knowledge.

AML UAE is one of the top AML consultants that offer an array of AML compliance services such as AML/ CFT Policy, Controls and procedures documentation, AML/ CFT health check, and Annual AML/ CFT Risk assessment. Safeguard your reputation and protect your consumers against cyber-attacks with AML training and AML software selection to help your business identify suspicious transactions immediately. 

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About the Author

Pathik Shah


Pathik is a Chartered Accountant with more than 25 years of experience in compliance management, Anti-Money Laundering, tax consultancy, risk management, accounting, system audits, IT consultancy, and digital marketing.

He has extensive knowledge of local and international Anti-Money Laundering rules and regulations. He helps companies with end-to-end AML compliance services, from understanding the AML business-specific risk to implementing the robust AML Compliance framework.