The Dark Web, also known as the Deep Web or Darknet, is a place unfamiliar to most people. A place mostly unheard of, yet it is gaining in popularity in the media. What is this vast array of networks? After reading this article, you’ll have a general idea of what happens in this mysterious plane of the Internet.
he first thing you should know is that despite its reputation for being a hub designed to accommodate only criminals, the Dark Web is also used for global anonymity. As a matter of fact, this is its main purpose. The name “Dark Web” is simply a title the media gave to the section of the Internet that can’t be reached by ordinary means. Yes, there are many illegal activities that happen on the Dark Web, but even more of the Deep Web’s activity is completely legal. For example, an investigative journalist may find out something completely horrifying about his country’s government. The reporter would in most cases want to spread the word, but how would he do so with minimal risk of being caught?
The answer is the Dark Web. All throughout the Dark Web are writings that have uncovered secret government plots that would have otherwise been disastrous.
Now, earlier it was mentioned that illegal things happen on the Dark Net. It is a very scary thought to have in mind that anyone and everyone, who choose to, have access to illegal drugs, guns, organs (which aren’t very common), and even hitmen. A lot of today’s international drug trade happens on things known as Darknet Marketplaces. They are the most commonly bought thing on these sites. And under drugs, there are fraud materials, such as stolen credit card information, bank drops, driver’s licenses, and even passports. The third most popular category is that of weapons. There are guns of every variety for sale among Darknet Markets, and they can usually be bought for a fairly decent price.
And there are “specialty sites”, where people of all different natures go to satiate their internet-related cravings. Some of these sites are harmless, while others are completely deranged and sickening to the average person. These kinds of websites can include anything from ways to commit the most heinous and terrorism. Definitely not for the faint-hearted and other to satisfy a morbid curiosity we can think a reason why the average person would want to visit them, but obviously people do.
While not being a major player in a business sense, specialty sites are some of the scariest and disturbing. If you’re looking for something of weird nature, you can rely on one of these sites to give you that inside feeling of “Well, WTF that’s different”.
But there is some light in an otherwise dark place and not all the websites on there doing something illegal or diabolical. You can find full transcripts of rare books, news on politics, anonymously comment on current events and there are (of course) several wiki leak type sites, which a lot of journalists will monitor looking for the next big story. And there is even a dark web version of FaceBook.
Also and by its very nature, it makes it a place for intelligence gathering by some law enforcement agencies. they can keep an eye on things and an ear to the ground that just might give them the information they need to prevent something truly terrible from happening. And of course, from a cybersecurity point of view, digital security experts can often keep track of hackers and identify what they are targeting. So for keeping us safe, preventing terrorism and other crimes as well as stopping hackers from shutting the world down, you could argue that the dark web is a good place to go.
So and if you’re interested, how do you get on the dark web?
To access it you’ll need a different browser, one that makes you anonymous, it’s called Tor or the Tor network. The way it works is to route your access through a whole string of proxy servers that are run by thousands of dark web volunteers. This makes the IP address of the computer you’re using virtually impossible to trace, giving you anonymity as you enter the dark web.
The downside to all this re-routing is that it can make your dark web experience unpredictable, clunky and damn slow. But if you’re happy to put up with that then you will be pulling back the curtain on human anti-culture. It will give you a view on the dark side of human experience.
You can download the Tor browser for free: https://torproject.org
The web addresses used by websites on the dark web have a different ending to the ones you’re going to be used to. They don’t end with .com or .net, or .org, most of them will end with .onion. This web address suffix is a “special use top-level domain suffix designating an anonymous service reachable via the Tor network” – Wikipedia. They’ll often scramble the names of the websites into something completely unintelligible making them virtually impossible to remember, which adds another layer of anonymity.
But when you do finally get to view them they look, for the most part, just like any other website you’d see on Chrome, or internet explorer. I say for the most part because most of the sites are set up by scammers who are just looking for an opportunity to crack into your life and steal your identity – you have been warned!
In essence, the dark web could give you access to information, potentially classified information, that you wouldn’t find on Google. It is a place for the, shall we say, less than upstanding citizens and a place for the curious. And you do decide to venture over to the dark side, just don’t buy anything.