What exactly is it? What is fact? What is just a rumor? Firstly, it is important to differentiate between the public web, dark web, and the deep web.
The Public Web is the Tip of the Iceberg
The public web is what you will access via a Google search. But did you know that you can only access 4% of the worldwide web through Google, and similar search engines?
In the scheme of the entire internet, that is actually still a lot of information. The public web contains an estimated 8 billion web pages.
Public web pages tend to contain specific web code that can web crawlers can pick up on, and match to your web searches. This does not happen for websites on the deep web and the dark web.
The Dark Web Inside the Deep Web
The deep web makes up 96% of the worldwide web. It contains websites that require a password login, like your email account. For example, they are websites that a web-crawler cannot gather trawling data from because it is behind a registration wall.
The dark web, on the other hand, is actually quite small. While it can only be found on the dark web, it barely makes up about .01% of it. You could think of it like a dark back alley of the internet.
And just like what you imagine you would find down a back alley, the dark web can be a dangerous place. This is because it attracts people who wish to utilize the anonymity of the deep web. People who wish to take part in secret activities.
Secrets and Anonymous Activities
Not only are the websites on the dark web not traceable by a regular search engine, they are also guarded by complicated encryption. It is almost impossible to trace who is browsing, and who is running the websites in there.
Nevertheless, even though it can be a frightening and disturbing place, it also can be intriguing and enlightening. Obviously, a lot of criminal activity takes place there. However, it’s not all drugs, weapons, and pornography.
Many see the dark web as a political statement. The main gateway tool into the dark web, Tor, was the brainchild of online activists. They believed in people’s right to remain anonymous in their web browsing.
The Dark Web as a Political Ethos
As a result, parts of the dark web contain safe places for privacy activists to communicate. People are able to research and ask questions about information that they don’t want to have connected to them.
Journalists are beginning to utilize the dark web because it helps them receive anonymous sources. There is a tool called SecureDrop that enables this to take place.
Wikileaks was part of the dark web. Also, the film “Citizenfour” is about the dark web liaisons between whistleblower Edward Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and filmmaker Laura Poitras.
How do you get into the Dark Web?
To access the dark web, you need to take the advice of the gateway tool Tor and begin by installing a reputable VPN service. Once you have done this, you can download the Tor browser.
This way, your IP address is not traceable. It is not just from outsiders that you need to protect your privacy on the dark web. Criminals that use the dark web will also try to damage you and steal from you if you give them access to your personal information.
Browsing with Tor is slow and requires patience. But this is because they are bouncing your requests between other users computers. This is how you become untraceable.
How do you find out what to look for inside The Dark Web?
You can go to websites like Reddit to find sub-Reddit groups that will give you web addresses to search in Tor. The websites used in the dark web all end with “.onion“.
The other option is to put some search terms into Tor to find the Hidden Wiki. This wiki is regularly updated, and it lists resources found on the dark web. Such resources include marketplaces, discussion boards, financial services and more.
Beware! Some Words of Warning
And just like in any regular dark back alleyway, you must remember that your anonymity is never 100%. The FBI, Europol and the Department of Homeland Security recently arrested 17 people who were allegedly taking part in criminal activity inside the dark web.
It is not known whether these security agencies found a way to trace the identities of these people. It could have been that they were able to convince people on the inside to reveal evidence. Those behind this “Operation Onymous” are reluctant to divulge how they did it.
It is better to be safe than sorry when taking the risk of venturing into the dark unknown of the dark web.