Anyone may have already heard about dark web, but what really makes it so mysterious for some people? And what makes it a dangerous place to visit?
So Dark … So Deep …
Dark web is basically a web content that exists on overlayed networks or darknets that use public internet but can only be reached through the use of a special software or authorisation to access. Although some people may often confuse the term “deep web” to refer to the dark web, deep web is actually a subset of the internet that we’re all too familiar with but is not indexed by major search engines. However, it still offers a high level of anonymity — which is largely used by organisations for document preservation or individuals. If deep web is broken down by layers, you’ll know that dark web only makes up a small part of the latter.
What made dark web so special is its complexity — thanks to some anonymity tools such as Tor and I2P. In order to access the contents, one needs to acquire special web browsers or techniques that provide user anonymity such as the Tor Browser and Onion routing. Navigating through the dark web is just like what you do on a standard browser but much slower due to its decentralised method of access. And because of these features, dark web became a lair of some illicit services.
So Mysterious …
Dark web has earned a notorious reputation as being a lawless digital space, but the hype behind dark web started when a site named Silk Road was shut down by authorities over drug trades. After that, people start converging into its domains.
The biggest mystery behind dark web comes from its illegitimate sites. As seen through discussions in online forums and by people who have gone to its realm, some sites contain disturbing videos and images that, well, can’t be mentioned in this blog as well as some thought that someone on the dark web is watching their every move. There are also sites that offer hitman services (the thing wherein you pay someone to “eliminate” someone) the usual illegal trades in drugs, weapons, hacked personal information, etc. And to make matters worse, dark web is also a camping ground for black hat hackers — meaning, the bad kind of hackers who use their skills to instil fear to the World Wide Web.
There Is Usefulness After All
Aside from its known mysteries, other people find usefulness in this dark world. Many people — including whistle blower Edward Snowden, the man behind the Mass Surveillance leak — use the dark web to hide their move from the eyes of the U.S. government. Some, according to IT Security Services Australia, also use it as a trading area for Bitcoins, an online cryptocurrency introduced in 2009. The military also uses it for their private networks.
Some dissidents also penetrate the dark web where censorship is in full effect to anonymously send news and information that is blocked in their country or disclose any kind of information to journalists.
The mysteries of the dark web may have spooked some of its first-time users; but still, its usefulness should also be considered even though some took dark of it. IT Services Australia warns that if ever you have plans to travel to the dark corners of the internet, be ready for what you will encounter — and try to get back in one piece.