The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is organising a “Darkathon-2022” to find solutions to counter drug trafficking through darknet. The agency recently smashed three groups of drug peddlers that were operating on the network that is accessed through encryption software which enables anonymity of users.
NCB Director-General S.N. Pradhan on Tuesday inaugurated the event which is being held in three phases till April 22. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Chairman, Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe and National Cyber Security Coordinator Lieutenant-General (retired), Dr. Rajesh Pant, were present.
The prize money for the first winner is ₹2.50 lakh, the runner-up would get ₹2 lakh and the third winner ₹1.50 lakh. The consolation prize for the 4th and 5th place is ₹25,000 each. The online registration will continue till March 31 through https://ncb.cyberchallenge.in.
During his inaugural address, Mr. Pradhan said there was a rise in drug trafficking through the maritime routes and darknet. Citing the UNODC World Drug Report-2021, he said 94% of the sales in the darknet markets are related to drugs. He said effective enforcement activities had resulted in the enhanced seizures of all major drugs in the recent years.
“In the last five years, the country has witnessed exponential increase in the seizure of heroin from 2,146 kg in 2017 to 7,282 kg in 2021, which is about 300% increase. Similarly, there is an increase of 172% in the seizure of opium (from 2,551 kg in 2017 to 4,386 kg in 2021) and 191% increase in the seizure of cannabis (from 3,52,539 kg in 2017 to 6,75,631 kg in 2021),” he said.
Prof. Sahasrabudhe and Lt.-Gen. (retired) Pant also stressed on continuous capacity building of enforcement agencies in the field of cybercrimes and said technological advancements should be used as a force multiplier.
Stating that cybercrime had permeated almost every facet of society and was growing in volume, velocity and sophistication with each passing day, the agency said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recognised this challenge during one of the reviews of the NCB and directed to find solution to the problem of trafficking via darknet by organising a “hackathon” primarily involving youth and technical students of the country.