The Part of the Internet that you can’t Find by Searching Google

 

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The Dark Web is a network that allows users to anonymously create and go on websites. These sites are not indexed by traditional search engines, and they require specific software to access. The aspect of the Dark Web that remains consistent across every site is that the users remain anonymous. The dark web is used as a platform that hosts a variety of illegal activities, but there are many justified uses as well. 90% of the internet exists in the Deep Web, which means that 90% of the content on the internet can not be accessed by traditional search engines. The Deep Web however, is different from the Dark Web. The Deep Web includes all of the password protected web pages such as Email inboxes and Facebook accounts. The dark web makes up a portion of the deep web, but the two concepts are different.

How to Access the Dark Web:

To go on the Dark Web you will need to download the Tor browser. The Tor browser allows you to access the Tor Network. The Tor Network re routes your online activity through a series of routers rather than making a direct connection from your device. This allows you, and anyone else that is using the network to remain anonymous. You become very hard to trace, but it is not impossible. Once you are on the Tor network you would use a hiddenwiki or a Dark Web search engine to find a website that has whatever it is that you are looking for. Getting on the Dark Web does not seem very difficult, but I would not recommend doing it.

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Underground Activities:

tumblr_inline_mvvv2hZNUl1spfxl6.jpgAfter doing more research about what goes on in the Dark Web, I’ve decided its a lot worse than I thought it was when I started writing the blog. I’ll only touch on a few of the more interesting things I came across, but keep in mind that there are a lot of terrible things on the Dark Web. If you need a new identity, or a fake passport to a foreign country the Dark Web is a good place to look. Drugs and pornography are also very common. You can buy counterfeit money and bet on fixed games. You can also buy animals that may be illegal to own as pets because they are endangered species or a danger to the environment if they escape. If you really don’t like somebody you can hire an assassin. Prices range from normal civilian to politician with many steps in between (No you can’t pick Trump, he would be considered a “Top 10 Politician” and top 10 politicians are excluded). There is of course no way to verify the authenticity of these sites without actually using them, but from what I can gather a lot of them seem to be real.

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Recent News:

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In April the biggest Dark Net Drug bust in history occurred. 15 people were arrested in connection with online drug dealing, 5 of which were among Norway’s biggest drug dealers. The police said that the suspects were using “technological camouflage” when they were referring to the suspect’s ability to operate anonymously and undetected in the dark web. The suspects user names were traced back to the original Silk Road, a dark web marketplace for drugs and other illegal activities that was shut down in 2013. The police confiscated 80 word-image-1.jpegcommunication devices including computers, hard drives and memory sticks. All of these devices were encrypted with additional security measures and they have not been any use to investigators. Investigators have also had a very difficult time following the money trail of previous transactions because the transactions were completed using Bitcoin, a common currency for Dark Web transactions. Bitcoin is an online currency that is designed to be untraceable. While websites are not very difficult for authorities to find, the people behind the websites are. When authorities get close, websites are shut down. When sellers go into hiding new sellers emerge and new websites are created. The process continues and authorities have a very difficult time controlling the online activity and holding the criminals accountable.

Less Terrible Dark Web Sites:

Hidden Answers is a popular site on the Dark Web that puts the user in contact with other people to answer questions. Its very similar to Yahoo Answers, but Hidden answers is not monitored or filtered and people are anonymous. Many of the questions are personal, not appropriate, or not legal. They would get taken down on a traditional question and answer platform.

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Another interesting site is the Strategic Intelligence Network. According to the site SIN exists to, “provide intelligences, resources and tools to be prepared and to respond to crisis situations anywhere you are in the world. . . . Be prepared for the day you might face abduction, natural disaster, riot or even war.” The site contains files on just about anything that could be useful. I am not sure why this site has to exist on the dark web. If I had to guess it would either be something to do with the information on the site, like how to use encryption for example, or it would be to protect the identity and online activity of the people using the site.

Rescue Anonymous is a website where people can post about animals that are living in terrible conditions. A group of anonymous people will respond,  and someone will go rescue the animals, legal considerations aside.

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Tor is not all Bad:

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The Tor browser seems like a terrible creation that would only be used to hide the identities of criminals, but Tor browser is used for some justifiable purposes as well. In many countries censorship is a major concern and the Tor network allows users to bypass firewalls undetected. The network can also be used by reporters to communicate with whistleblowers while maintaining the whistleblower’s cover. The Navy uses Tor for intelligence gathering, and many groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) support Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online.

Sources: 

What Really Is the Dark Web?

Top 31 List Of Best Dark WebSites | Onion Deep Web – Gadget Gyani

Top 10 Most Interesting Things On The Deep Web – List Ogre

Tor Project: Anonymity Online

WTF is the dark web? | TechCrunch

Featured Archives – Deep Dot Web

Searching for a hitman in the Deep Web | The Daily Dot

6 Little-Known Corners Of The Deep Web You Might Actually Like

 

10 comments

  1. cattybradley · ·

    Thanks for this post – you did a great job explaining different uses and distinctions of the dark web vs. deep web. I really wonder were the dark web will be in the future. I have a hard time believing things can be eternally encrypted or that users can be actually anonymous. One thing you mentioned was how users often use bitcoin to pay for transactions. I know we have touched upon bitcoin in class, but I still am trying to grasp all the implications of it. Wouldn’t large transfers of bitcoin to cash turn some heads or is there a threshold users abide by? Or do users just make multiple small transfers?

    1. Good question about the Bitcoin. It does seem like there would be some red flags. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but when I was doing some research I saw “Bitcoin Laundry Services” as one of the Dark Web Sites. I had something to do with making the money harder to trace.

  2. skuchma215 · ·

    Extremely interesting blog post! I had heard about the terrible things you could buy over the dark web, but I had no idea you could purchase an assassination. Is it illegal to access the dark web itself, or are only certain websites on the dark web illegal? I’m very curious to see what some of the questions would be on Hidden Answers. Maybe questions on how to get away with the perfect murder or flee the country? Or maybe just dating advice? Rescue anonymous seems like a really noble cause, I have no idea why they would need to be on the dark web. Just curious… how did you get these screenshots?

    1. The Tor network (“Dark Web”) itself is not illegal to access. You just have to be careful where you go once you are there. Although its likely no one will be able to tell. The screen shots are just from articles, blogs and youtube. Although for a couple I had to google very specific things that I saw in articles for example “Dark web Assassination”. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. fernaneq4 · ·

    You’re probably flagged somewhere for researching all of this! I feel as though dark web sites are like whack-a-mole, once the CIA shuts down one, four more pop up. I don’t think there will ever be a solution to this problem and people will always find ways to hire assassins. It’s crazy to me how much you were able to research about it. I always thought these were extremely need to know and you had to commit a crime to be able to access them. I liked rescue anonymous and I agree with the cause but at the same time it’s still a dark web site! I’m all about the grey areas but you can’t say one is good while the other is bad. All of it is illegal. Great read!

  4. Tyler O'Neill · ·

    Love to topic! I have done a bit of browsing on the Dark Web a few years back and was shocked by the wide variety of products and services you can find. Personally I think that the Dark Web is a good alternative to black markets. Although the selling of many drugs on the site are illegal, it allows for a safe and predictable transaction between the two parties in a market that is otherwise deemed extremely dangerous. Although I think it provides some benefits, I don’t think the right to pay for another person to be killed can be justified, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. I highly recommend checking out this video on the Dark Web for those who are interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09Vuq6SqgmQ

  5. Great blog post, it really helps people understand the deep web for those without any knowledge at all. As you mentioned, there’s a lot of “dark” things that you didn’t touch upon just due to the nature of the blog but your iceberg picture sums it up perfectly. How do you think the “deep web” would play out if technology took a different course (as in like a black market in real life)? It’s interesting to think if the Internet was a catalyst for making illicit deals but then you always have to consider that these things would be going on without anonymity on the Internet.

  6. adamsmea89 · ·

    I really enjoyed this post, very interesting! I did not know much about the dark web before this class, and this post gave a lot of additional useful details. It is interesting to see that there are some positive websites that are located here just so people can be kept anonymous. It does seem like that majority of what is on the deep web is illegal and not beneficial for society, so it will be interesting to see if the government puts more resources into trying to track people down that are running these websites.

  7. Great post, I was obviously keen to read as I did my presentation on the dark web. It is certainly a spooky concept that people browse the internet anonymously, ordering illicit substances and services. Something I didn’t touch on in my presentation was assassins. Really interesting and scary topic. it’s crazy to think that simply entering a name anonymously with some supplemental information can unleash such a terrible consequence. Trafficking of human occurs via transactions in the dark web. As we have acknowledged there are some more positive uses for the dark web, but it remains to be seen if these positives can outweigh the great deal of illicit activities they facilitate.

  8. Great post. Some suggest that we should all traffic on the Dark Web, just to keep the government from monitoring out communication.

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