The dark web gained renewed notoriety in the last couple of months. This is mostly down to people’s private online accounts details being sold on it. The most notable were the millions of Tumblr hacked accounts and the LinkedIn accounts details that were hacked a few years ago. All these were dumped and sold on the dark web for pittance. Famous names had their names dragged through online news sites over the scandal. To date, the most famous is Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, whose social media (apart from Facebook though) account details were sold on the dark web.
What Goes on in the Dark Web
It is famously called the internet’s black market. Some people would have you believe that the dark web is all about illegal and nefarious activities. The recent social forum accounts dump reinforced that notion. To be fair, a lot of illegal activities goes on in the dark web. And buying or selling the account details of people are not even the worst.
In the dark web, anything goes. Not necessarily illegal though. At one end, you have people who go online through the dark web for purely security reasons. For instance, they could be political targets who need to pass on a message through the internet. At the other end of the spectrum are criminals who need the anonymity of the dark web to do their business. Any criminal transaction could be carried out here. From selling women as sex slaves to hiring a killer to assasinate somebody.
What is the Dark Web
The dark isn’t that difficult to access if you know how. What makes it dark is the fact that all people on it are hidden from the public. To put it in tech terms, the real IP addresses of users are hidden from view. That is the first unique thing about the dark web. The second is that the websites that feature on it are not indexed by normal search engines. Basically, the idea of using Google or Bing to search for content on the dark web is impossible.
How is the Dark Web Accessed
The dark web can only be accessed through the use of specialized browsers like Tor. These browsers have pre-installed encryption that automatically hide your identity or location by re-directing your internet traffic through servers based in other countries. Tor works just like any good VPN. So apart from the fact that you can use Tor to hide your identity and browse normal sites, it can also be used as the gateway to the dark web.
Again, Tor is just one tool that can be used to accessed the dark web. Another popular tool is I2P. As a matter of fact, some notorious dark websites use only I2P.
How to Access websites on the Dark Web
Since the websites on the dark web cannot be found on any normal search engine, to access them, you need to know the full URL of the site. Or you need to know where to find a listing of these sites’ URL where you can then copy and paste it on Tor browser or any other client with access to the dark web.
Reddit and several Wikis can provide a list of websites in the dark web. A good aggregate online resource for a list of dark websites is the Hidden Wiki. We have to state very clearly at this point that what you do with that information is at your own discretion. We do not endorse active participation in the activities of some of these websites.
Another thing to note is that, dark websites, by their very nature, can shut down at any time. So the list is constantly being updated to reflect that. Sometimes, it is not.
Dark Web vs Deep Web
Deep Web refers to all web pages that are not indexed on a search engine. These pages include username and passwords of online accounts; users’ data in various websites; email pages; registration information of users; and those pages that are hidden unless you pay money to access them. So the dark web is also a part of the deep web. The sheer magnitude of the deep web is mind boggling. Just think of all web pages ever created since the advent of the internet, they are all part of the deep web.
The dark web on the other hand is just a tiny fraction of the deep web. There (dark web), people who need to hide their identities do business. Hope that clears it.
photo credit: truthfinder.com; bata.money;codingsec.net