Product Images on the Darknet Markets Could Disclose Vendors’ Locations


The drug vendors while posting for a particular drug on the darknet markets often post images of the drug for better clarity to the buyers. In the process of doing so, many vendors often forget to remove some of the crucial information that could put them into repercussions and most effortlessly reveal their location through the uploaded images.

EXIF is a data that gets attached to the images taken by the smartphones and digital cameras. Of course, it is so if the devices feature the in-built GPS. The data that gets tagged in the photos include the information on geo-location that is so detailed that it could provide exact locations based on the images. As per the Harvard seniors Michael Rose and Paul Lisker, this information are such kind of information that any discriminating drug vendor would want to keep hidden from the darknet markets. By posting the images of the illicit goods along with the exact location data, they are promoting authorities with the scope to track them down. As per Rose, the accuracy of the data is such that it can actually point out the exact house of the vendor.

According to the findings that have been posted on the Medium by the Harvard researcher duo, it was known that the locations they scraped out from the images posted by the drug vendors on the various darknet markets revealed that most of the darknet markets were based either in Europe or in North America. For the privacy reason, the data were slightly altered. Also, the different coloured spots represented the different online drug markets. The Tor browser does not suffice to conceal one’s identity completely and thus the authorities if digs deep enough can get to the drug vendors pretty easily. So vendors on various darknet markets should maintain a certain level of precaution before uploading product images on websites.


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