Technology

What is the Dark Web?

By Sidirgot
September, 25 2018

Describing something like the Dark web might be one of the most difficult tasks for someone. Some facts and the actual truth might scare you and even change your view about the World Wide Web in some way.

I do hope that after reading this article you will not consider trying to gain access to that network because it is not the purpose I am writing this down. It’s only for educational purposes about a part of something we all use every day but have no actual clue about its true scale.

Deep Web, Dark Web and the Public Web

The past couple of years, the Dark Web has gotten some fair attention from the public eye and a lot of miss information is going around about its actual purpose.

As you might have noticed I am using three different phrases, one is Deep Web, the other one is Dark Web and lastly the Public Web. Now take note that they are not the same thing.

Public Web

When you are typing a URL on the browser or you search Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing or any other search engine you are using the public web. This is every website or document that the search engines can crawl.

Now crawling is the way that every search engine uses to find websites and save it inside their database for you to access. A crawler is a program that scans a website for links, if they find a link inside a particular website they will go inside and crawl it, meanwhile they save every website they crawl in their database. So as long as there are links inside a website, crawlers can find it and save it.

A scary fact about the public web is that even thought when you search for something on Google you will get millions or even billions of results, it is only 5% of the actual information that is available.

Deep Web

As you might imagine, not every website is linked to the others, meaning that the crawler can’t see it. So, in essence the Deep Web is everything that the search engines can’t crawl, and is actually the rest 95% of the information that is available.

You might wonder what kind of information you can find in the Deep Web, and the answers is that it’s not just information. Other than websites and documents a big part of the Deep Web is Databases. These databases are mostly hidden within private networks and they are much bigger than the websites.

Dark Web

The Dark Web is a part of the Deep Web, and you can’t just stumble upon a website that is a part of it.
If you have heard about a scary story about the Deep Web I can assure you that it took place here.

To gain access to the Dark Web you will need a tool or browser called TOR.

Tor broswser

TOR witch is short for the onion router, is a browser that enables you the benefit of accessing websites that end in .onion extension. These websites are not accessible via any of the normal web browsers and a common URL of a website hosted in the Dark web looks like this 2csd34sxd2342dasf.onion.

The main reason that someone will want to gain access to this type of place is its anonymity. You see when you download and use the TOR browser you are also connected to the TOR network that uses heavy encryption and advanced techniques to hide the user’s identity from anyone.

The .onion extension started appearing back in the 1990’s and was actually build from the US Naval Research Laboratory as a way of anonymous communication between users.

Since it’s providing this type of anonymity, it’s gotten the attention of heavy illegal activities.

It is actually scary but there is nothing that you can’t buy in the Dark Web. Drugs, pornography, guns, passports, computer virus, private information of public figures, there is really everything imaginable.

A famous example of this, was the website named SilkRoad which was the most viewed website on the Dark Web. It was named the eBay of drugs and you could find anything drug related and buy it using Bitcoin, which made the whole process even harder to pinpoint.

The website was shutdown from the FBI in 2013 after heavy surveillance and tracking techniques for its creator Ross Ulbricht, you can find more about Ross Here. The below image is what you where seeing if you visited the SilkRoad website after it was taken down by the FBI. This is a very common image that you can stumble up in alot of the websites since then, because the FBI has actually taken a lot of them down.

FBI seizing silk road photo

Since the SilkRoad was shutdown, countries have lunched dedicated cyber-crime units to go against the Dark Web. The FBI claims that they have cracked the TOR network and they can track every user that is using it.

Final Thoughts

I do hope that after reading this article you will not be tempted to go inside this network. The main reason I am empathizing this, is even if you are careful about what you are doing, you never know who can hack into your system. Even the smallest action, like a wrong click inside that network can have a lot of bad outcome.

The numbers used to describe the scale of the Deep Web are just estimations since no one can give an exact evaluation. Both the Public Web and the Deep are constantly growing with an enormous rate.

 

 

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