The cyberspace war on drugs

Undercover researchers at ANU are on the front line of a new war on drugs in cyberspace. Rachel Curtis reports.

Professor Roderic Broadhurst from the ANU Cybercrime Observatory and his team of ethical hackers have found a significant global synthetic opioid market, accessible with the click of a mouse.

They found Australians have access to mass amounts of potent drugs online, equivalent to ‘billions of doses’ every day.Their report to the Australian Institute of Criminology found ‘alarming amounts’ of synthetic opioids – such as fentanyl and carfentanil – available on the dark web.

They say anonymous online darknet markets, along with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, have enabled a secret and efficient platform to sell drugs, which is shifting the global narcotic landscape.

As only small quantities of these new potent drugs are needed to pass custom barriers, the reports highlights an online revolution in recreational drug distribution.