A report from Rand looked at 811 weapons listings on a dozen dark web markets, which continue to thrive despite the shuttering of sites like the Silk Road and, just this month, AlphaBay. Firearms were the top-selling category, with was 339 active listings, roughly 42 percent of the market. But the next-largest share, with 222 listings, was a variety of digital products, from build-it-yourself explosives manuals to CAD files.
The report covered 12 cryptomarkets, a type of dark web marketplace, with researchers scouring 167,693 listings over the course of one week.
They discovered digital instruction manuals on weapons were the number two best-selling product after firearms when it came to online arms sales.
Still, the report illuminated some important and frightening details about the future of the market. The average gun on the dark web was going for a bit under $1,200. (Replicas of popular brands can actually be a bit more costly because they’re tougher to trace.) But the pricetag for CAD designs to print a gun averaged just $12.
Writing in the report, its authors said: ‘Guides and manuals on how to make bombs at home were illegally circulating on the web well before the establishment of cryptomarkets.