You may have seen the dark web referenced on current movies or popular TV shows? And from these you could possibly have gotten the wrong idea or if you know what they are, made a puff sound to laugh at its portrayal on screen.

The Dark Web sells information, often our own personal information. At times is called the Deep Web, while in fact it is only a part of the Deep Web.

Terminology

  • the Surface Web is the regular World Wide Web where websites are easy to find and indexed – www
  • the Deep Web is the unindexed part of the Web. Is anything that a search engine can’t find.
  • the Dark Web widely known for illicit activities, the place where things are intentionally hidden, and anonymous

For those that are not in the know, it might be a good idea to clear up some of the misconceptions about the Dark Web.

The Dark Web is a separate part of the World Wide Web

The Deep Web is an unindexed part of the internet, so sites are harder to find. As a result, it’s not really a separate part of the world wide web. However, the indexed part known as the surface web is only a small part of the entire web. It is also the part that can be found by robots. Since the dark web is unindexed and undetected by robots it hard to say just how big it is. Meanwhile estimates say the searchable and area open to the public, could be as small as 5%. Some sites as well can only be visited if you have a direct URL.

Only criminals use the Dark Web

Criminal activities are a key focus on the Dark web, it accounts for most of its traffic, such as

  • Drug trafficking
  • Selling weapons to countries where they are forbidden or selling types of weapons that are prohibited
  • Child (and other illegal) porn
  • Malware (as a Service), think of this as programmers selling their malware for a fee or part of the profit
  • Sites where victims can pay the ransom for some ransomware they have been hit with
  • Buying and selling stolen data
  • Fraud related services
  • Fake ID’s
  • Leak sites where ransomware gangs publish exfiltrated data if the victim refuses to pay

However, there are also a number of different people that need the Dark Web for reasons that are only considered illegal in a few places, such as:

  • Journalists working in “difficult” countries
  • People resisting a totalistic regime
  • Whistleblowers
  • Places where crimes can be reported anonymously
  • Bitcoin services
  • Forums on various subjects that do not wish to be public

So, there are grey areas, depending on your situation.

You need a special browser to access the Dark Web

Many of the resources on the Dark Web have a few methods of restricting access. But if you want access you’ll most certainly need to login when you arrive. In addition to using a service like a VPN, proxy, or an anonymous network.

To access the sites with an Onion (see the symbol above) domain you will require Tor browser. Installing this browser protects both the privacy and anonymity of the user by encrypting the traffic to and from the websites visited, and by using a proxy. The Tor browser is very similar in look to the Firefox browser, so the browser isn’t unique. The difference is in the way it connects. Meanwhile people can use Tor in the surface web and often do for privacy.

Surfing the Dark Web is dangerous

Surfing the dark Web may not cause you any injuries such as being robbed, and mugged, if you take necessary precautions. In the same vein surfing the Surface Web requires vigilance and protection so too, does the Dark Web. For example, torrents often bypass your proxy settings and might in turn expose your real location. In addition, keep in mind that you are roaming around in the criminal’s domain so expect to be deceived and even robbed. The best thing to do is to stay away.

But funnily even the criminals are not always safe on the Dark Web as they continue to steal from one another. So, you may want to think twice before venturing into the Dark Web. Being curious can get you into all sorts of trouble.  

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