German Police to Start Focusing on Darknet Crimes After Munich Shooting
The gunman who killed nine people in a rampage in Munich on Friday had purchased his 9mm Glock 17 on the deepweb, investigators discovered in a search of his home. As a result, in the latest annual report on cyber crime, German police say they will be making new efforts to fight crime on the darknet.
According to Reuters, Holger Muench, head of Germany’s Federal Police (BKA), told journalists that “We [the BKA] see that the dark net is a growing trading place and therefore we need to prioritize our investigations here.” Encrypted communications through Tor are making it difficult to determine how the Munich shooter got his gun. “The investigation is very difficult,” a police spokesperson told the press.
Muench said that while they had taken five darknet marketplaces out of circulation in the previous year, the BKA wants to start focusing on the criminals who are using the sites for buying and selling, not just the marketplace as a whole. Especially focusing on those who use the darknet to illegally obtain weapons.
A Frankfurt prosecutor who specializes in cybercrime, Georg Ungefuk, acknowledges that drugs are the most common items on the deepweb and “the [weapon] scene is more withdrawn than the drug scene.” He goes on to explain that a special unit of the Frankfurt prosecutors office had arrested several darknet weapons vendors last year, but not enough to make up for how quickly new sellers emerge.
The BKA spokesperson says cyber crime cost Germany $44.5 million last year, and only 32% of cases had been solved. Cyber crime is on the rise and the German Federal Police plan on being more vigilant in their efforts to stop it.
Germany’s firearm laws are well-known as being some of the strictest in the world which makes the situation even more threatening. Officials are concerned that others will realize how easily the 18-year-old was able to illegally obtain the gun and try the process for themselves. Police say that the deepweb makes anonymously purchasing weapons easy – even for those with no criminal ties.
This isn’t the only country cracking down on users of darknet marketplaces; just recently India had its first deepweb related case.