There is a high chance that you have heard the term dark web, but you don't know what exactly means. In order to understand it better, we are here to teach you about it.
First, you need to know that the entire webspace is divided into three different parts.
The first one is the surface web where many things are accessible and can be found using regular browsers such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. For instance, this article is on the surface web. Other examples of the surface web are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
The second part is the deep web and it represents a part of the Internet that is hidden from a regular search engine. This web is invisible and includes unindexed pages where personal information can be discovered, such as medical reports, financial records, and corporation data. The deep web is much bigger than the surface one.
The dark web is the deepest layer or the unseen side of the Internet. Sites of the dark web can be accessed through specific browsers with secret IP addresses and the users' identity is hidden. The communication is encrypted, which means that everything is completely anonymous.
The dark web originates with the arrival of the Internet itself. The same technology that developed the Internet and the web contributed to start the dark web as well. The major growth of the dark web happened in 2002 when the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory released the most popular darknet software called The Onion Router (TOR).
The main purpose of this software was to allow intelligence employees to transfer sensitive information securely. It's important to know that the TOR browser is essential if you want to use the dark web. This browser enables visitors to exchange information anonymously and disperses the connection through three different servers with a layer of encryption. TOR users recommend using a VPN for preserving privacy.
Even before TOR people were always looking for space where they can operate without being watched. Therefore, the dark web turned into a ground for illegal content and people kept using it because they were aware they can't get arrested.
The extreme privacy of the dark web opens the door for fraud, such as the sale of stolen credit card details. Although the dark web guarantees privacy, it can also violate it. Private photos and videos, medical records, and financial data are only a few of the many types of data that have been stolen and shared on the dark web.
The main difference between a dark web site and a regular one is the naming structure. Instead of ending in .com or .co, dark web sites end in .onion. Dark web sites use a confusing naming structure that creates URLs which are impossible to remember. One of the typical things about the dark web is its instability. Sites can quickly come and disappear, which means that scammers can operate and avoid getting caught by the police.
Many of the things for sale on the dark web are fraud, designed only to get users bitcoins. The offer includes: fire weapons and ammunitions, Wikileaks documents, hidden wiki portal that claims to be ‘The Original Wikipedia, racist content, software for deeper browsing, blueprints for 3D printing from legal things to illegal things, and other illegal activities.
One of the most infamous sites on the dark web is the marketplace called Silk Road. It’s a black market where visitors can anonymously log and search for drugs, false documentation, purchase them in bitcoins, and sent to any location they want to.
Dark web commerce sites operate just like standard e-retail business. They also have ratings, shopping carts, and forums, but the difference is in quality control. Since both buyers and sellers are anonymous, the authenticity of the rating system is uncertain. Reviews are often manipulated, and sellers suddenly disappear with their customers’ crypto-coins and can later set shop under a different name.
The dark web is a dangerous place and it’s not recommended to use it. However, if you want to visit it, you shouldn't go unprepared.
Here are some measures to take before visiting the dark web:
People reported that they have received unusual phone calls after searching the dark web. Their webcams have also been hijacked and then posted on live stream.
Even though the dark web is completely legal, it's actually a place where mostly criminals meet for illegal activities such as drug sales, child pornography, etc.