The UN has warned of the risks of terrorists potentially being able to gain access to WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) by getting their hands on advanced technologies available on the dark web. Izumi Nakamitsu, the head of the UN's Disarmament Affairs, said tech products such as 3D printers and drones, readily available for purchase in dark web marketplaces, could make it easier for terrorists to gain access to WMDs.
The dark web is a hotbed of activity, not just for cybercriminals but also for various kinds of malicious entities. Underground marketplaces, which include invite-only exclusive forums as well as the less discerning hubs, are rife with stolen and/or illegal goods, ranging for actual to cyber weapons.
"The possibility of non-state actors, including terrorists, acquiring weapons of mass destruction remains a significant threat to global security, and the international community must step up its efforts to ensure that the disastrous scenario of WMD terrorism is avoided," Nakamitsu said.
She highlighted how 3D printers as well as drones could be exploited by terrorists to create or access WMDs. 3D printers have already been used to develop guns and other kinds of weapons such as plastic knives and even grenade launchers. Drones could also potentially be used to deliver weapons undetected.
Nakamitsu agreed that advanced technologies can help boost economies and further scientific research, but she also cautioned that such avenues can be exploited by those with malicious intent.
"The international community must uphold the norms that have been established in this area, and to prosecute those responsible for committing or supporting such acts," she added.
In a separate report, the UN also revealed how the dark web has become a thriving place for drug trafficking. In three years, between 2013-2016, dark web drug transactions increased by nearly 50% annually.