John Robb: Modern Darknets, Alternative Economies

03 Economy, 11 Society, Advanced Cyber/IO, Blog Wisdom
John Robb

Modern Darknets

The classical definition of a darknet is: a private file sharing network.  That’s a bit outdated (those of you that have been reading Global Guerrillas for a while are already way ahead of the power curve on this).  It’s time to update/widen the term to accommodate a wider range of modern activity.  A darknet:

is a closed, private communications network that is used for purposes not sanctioned by the state (aka illegal).

Darknets can be built in the following ways:

  • Software.  A virtual, encrypted network that runs over public network infrastructure (most of the US government/economy uses this method).
  • Hardware.  A parallel physical infrastructure.  This hardware can be fiber optic cables or wireless.  Parallel wireless infrastructures (whether for cell phones or Internet access are fairly inexpensive to build and conceal).
  • IN most cases, we see a mix of the two.

Examples of Darknets:

  • The Zetas have built a huge wireless darknet (a private, parallel communications network) that connects the majority of Mexico’s states.  Most of the other cartels also have wireless darknets and there are also lots of local darknets.
  • Hezbollah (in Lebanon) runs its own fiber optic network.
  • TOR.  A voluntary, decentralized ad hoc network that anonymizes network connections.
  • Botnets (up to 4 m computers strong) that can be used for global private communications.
  • Etc.  The list goes on  and on….

The future?  Darknets that power alternative economies.  A network layer for accelerating the dark globalization of the $10 Trillion System D.