An investigation into darknets and the content available via anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing
secau Security Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Security Science / Security Research Centre (secAU)
Media sites, both technical and non-technical, make references to Darknets as havens for clandestine file sharing. They are often given an aura of mystique; where content of any type is just a mouse click away. However, can Darknets really be easily accessed, and do they provide access to material that would otherwise be difficult to obtain? This paper investigates which Darknets are easily discovered, the technical designs and methods used to hide content on the networks, the tools needed to join, and ultimately what type and quantities of files can be found on anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing networks. This information was gathered by conducting weekly searches for specific file extensions on each Darknet over a 4 week period. It was found that connectivity to Darknets was easy to establish, and installing peer-to-peer file sharing applications was a simple process. The quantity of content found on Darknet peer-to-peer file sharing networks indicates that file sharing is rampant. Of particular concern was what appears to be a large quantity of child pornography made available.