What is the Dark Web and Why is it so popular?

Pierluigi Paganini June 23, 2015

What is the Dark Web? Unveiling the myth of the Dark Web and making sure that people understand its magnitude and its limitations.

Let’s begin by explaining what the so called “Dark Web” actually is. This is a term used to describe a collection of websites that may be publicly visible, but they hide information like the IP address of the servers that they run from. This gives the ability for any user to visit these sites, with no chance of finding out who manages them. At the same time, these sites are not discoverable with the use of a search engine.

So, how do the sites of the Dark Web manage to hide their identity? They manage this by applying encryption tools. Tor is a well-known encryption tool used to hide the end user’s identity and also location. With the proper encryption, the traffic is concealed and consequently nobody can intercept personal information on behalf of the Internet user who prefers the Dark Web. Now, let’s have a closer look at the myth of Dark Web towards separating the lies from the truth!

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Analyzing the myth

This secret part on the Internet is being talked about now more than ever, after two significant events took place. One of them was the conviction of the popular Silk Road marketplace owner (Ross Ulbricht) and the other one was -as it has been presented on various articles- the claim that the state of Islam is using secret sites for the planning of attacks.

Nevertheless, not all the story regarding the Dark Web is true; part of it is, in fact, a myth. Dark Web is not just a space hidden under the standard web where people of ignoble moral connect and trade with each other, avoiding the investigative eye of the authorities. According to Tor encryption platform, only 1.5 percent of overall web traffic of its network has to do with hidden sites and an average of 2 million users per day use Tor.

Also, Tor hidden websites are about 0.03 percent of the billions of globally available different sites on the Internet. In other words, the total amount of users visiting the Dark Web is just a fraction of the overall Tor users which overall makes the total amount of those users a very small fraction of the total amount of users who access Internet services.

Dark Web penetration

Dark Web is not impenetrable. People may consider it as a zone that the authorities cannot reach, but this is not the actual case. More than 300 people which had been operating via the Dark Web have been arrested over the past few years, such as gun dealers, drug dealers and site administrators of sites dealing with such content.

What is the Dark Web after all?

Practically, the Dark Web is a collection of hidden sites used for various purposes. It’s used by a category of people making use of the anonymity provided, so as to perform illegal activities, as described before in this article, but can also be used by professionals who want to provide anonymous support to people in need, like doctors who can provide advice to drug users.

Also, citizens of China can freely discuss whatever topic they like without being blocked by the “Great Firewall”. In other words, the Dark Web is practically a space which cannot be controlled by individual states and users can exchange ideas freely with no censorship, so it’s actually the World Wide Web as it was originally intended to be.

Written by: Ali Qamar, Founder/Chief Editor at SecurityGladiators.com

Author Bio:
Ali Qamar is an Internet security research enthusiast who enjoys “deep” research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. He is the founder and chief editor at Security Gladiators, an ultimate source for cyber security. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Dark Web,  privacy)

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