HUNTSVILLE, Ala - People in North Alabama are using the dark web to commit crimes. That's the message Jay Town, U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Alabama, wants people to understand.
The dark web is different than the internet we use every day.
"The dark web is basically an anonymized version of the internet," said Joshua Crumbaugh, a cybersecurity expert and CEO of Peoplesec.
People need a special browser and software to access it. Crumbaugh says there is absolutely no reason for curious internet users to seek out the dark web.
"You're going to get malware very quickly," he said. "There's also a lot of hackers on there, and expect that you're going to get your computer compromised."
But people are using it even in North Alabama.
"If you immediately jump to New York City, or Los Angeles, or some other place around the world, you're wrong. It's right here in this district," said Jay Town, US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.
Town says people use the dark web to commit crimes like human trafficking, distributing child pornography, and drugs.
Check Point Software is a company dedicated to cybersecurity. Maya Levine, a security engineer for the company. She says people also buy and sell malware and ransomware on the dark web.
"The good news is that the Department of Justice and all of our three-letter law enforcement agencies are working to very hard to shine a light on those corners and the criminal activity and nefarious activities that those corners of the' dark web' occupy," Town said.
Last week, the Department of Justice announced it took down the largest child pornography site on the dark web. Agents arrested more than 300 users, including a man in Huntsville.
Town says every time law enforcement catches a criminal on the dark web, the more equipt they are to get the next one.
"And the more we do that, the more technology and our ability to catch up with the criminal technology," he said.
Leveling the field to find more criminals hiding online.
In addition to the arrest last week, earlier this year a Madison County man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for using the dark web to traffick meth and other drugs.