Top 7 Things to Know about the Dark Web
The dark web is often viewed as a dangerous place where you can find almost anything available for sale. We have heard this term frequently, but some may know what it is. Yes, it is a part of the internet! Here are the top 7 things you should know about the dark web:
- What exactly is the dark web?
As mentioned above, the dark web is a part of the internet, but is a part of it that you cannot access with the commonly used web browsers and Google. This is not because it is not indexed; it is simply because it is heavily restricted. Not only do you need special software for accessing the dark web, it also means that whatever you will find there is not subject to any kind of oversight or regulation. Tracing anyone operating on the dark web is also extremely difficult, although governments around the world have been making progress in this area. The dark web is often talked about by experts as a contrast to the ‘surface web’, which basically refers to the internet used by people on a daily basis for stereotypical web browsing, email, and social networking.
- Is crime a fair representation of the dark web?
When you read the headlines that pertain to the dark web, they all seem to have a certain theme. They are usually stories about illicit platforms like the virtual marketplace called Silk Road, which is notorious for trading in drugs, weapons, and hacked accounts. According to an expert from Darkwebnews.com, the dark web is particularly a favorite place for hackers, as they can use it for selling stolen data such as credit card information. It is also used frequently by drug traffickers. However, there are also some arguments in favor of the dark web, mostly due to the privacy benefits it can offer since the internet traffic is typically non-traceable. Some political activists and journalists have said that they use the dark web for communication purposes in oppressive regimes, and whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden have used it to securely send information to journalists and other parties as needed.
- Is child pornography traded on the dark web?
According to authorities, while child-abuse material is indeed available on the dark web, most of the child pornography and the serial activity can be found in even more severely restricted peer-to-peer networks.
- Can you land on the dark web by mistake?
No, in most situations, it is not possible for you to access the dark web accidentally because you have to have special tools or software for accessing it. Tor, or The Onion Router, is one of the most common tools used for this purpose. This tool basically creates an encrypted layer between the surface web and your activity, which includes blocking any tracking software that might attempt to follow you. While launching and downloading the tool is easy, it does slow down your system. It is also difficult to land on illicit sites by mistake, noting the lack of indexed material and the lengthy, dedicated URLs.
- Are deep web and dark web the same?
There is a difference between the two. In simple terms, the deep web refers to anything that is beneath the surface web – including the dark web. For instance, the internet has about billions and billions of gigabytes and even a Google search is not possible to dig it all out unless you have an individual web link, even if it is not restricted. In contrast, the dark web is deliberately restricted and unless you have the proper tools, you will be shut off and unable to access the data.
- What content material is found on the dark web?
A study was recently conducted by Equifax for figuring out the majority of the activity on the dark web and it estimated that leaked data and file sharing, 28% and 29% respectively, were the winners. Next in line is financial fraud, which is about 12%, followed by drugs that account for 4% and a small proportion of about 3% is taken up by child pornography. Marketplaces can be accessed and activity can be seen by the guards, but tracking individuals is a different story altogether. That said, it is common knowledge that UK and US authorities often infiltrate the marketplaces on the dark web in order to keep track of what is being traded.
- How spread out is the dark web?
According to the most reliable analysis, the dark web is not as big as it is often reported to be. The regular or surface web is known to have over a billion websites, the same cannot be said for the dark web as the number of websites have been estimated to be about 100,000. The Tor Project, which heads the Tor browsing software, has estimated that about 1.5% of its activity pertains to websites on the dark web. Recently, it also said that the number of users it has is around two million. In relative terms, this is not a very large group of people. Furthermore, there have also been reports that the dark web is shrinking day by day and is not as widespread as claimed.