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.
After 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.
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 communication 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.
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.
Tor is not all Bad:
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.