What is the Dark Web?



Has the term "dark web" ever caught your attention? If so, it might sound a bit mysterious. Well, it is. But we can make it far less so. To know everything about Dark Web, stay tuned with us.

What is the Dark Web?

The dark web is just a part of the internet that offers access to hidden .onion sites that are inaccessible through traditional browsers. To find these hidden sites, you must rely on browsers and search engines designed specifically for this purpose.


This corner of the internet is also shrouded in secrecy. Sites on the dark web use encryption software to keep their visitors and owners anonymous and to conceal their locations. That’s why the dark web is a hub of illegal activity. 

What’s found on the Dark Web?

The dark web has acquired some ill repute. According to a 2016 report from King's College London researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid, 2,723 dark web live sites contained illicit material.


In other words, the report says that users of the dark web are usually involved in buying drugs, guns, counterfeiting money, accessing other people's Netflix accounts, credit card numbers, and more. Also, you can find programs for accessing other people's computers.


However, the dark web is not just for criminals. You'll find e-versions of books that have been out of print for years, news reports gathered from mainstream media, and websites maintained by whistleblowers investigating corporate and government corruption.


Dark web users are often seeking confidential medical advice. In some cases, journalists use the dark web to hide their identities or that of their sources.


It's time to get a clearer picture of what's going on on the Dark Web.


Drugs

Among the most notable features of the dark web are its black markets, where visitors can purchase illicit drugs. As an example, consider the Silk Road. It was renowned for the drugs it offered its visitors. In 2013, the FBI shut down Silk Road. Later that year, a new version of the site was launched, but it was also shut down.


Ross Ulbricht, a founder of the site who went by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested in late 2014 and sentenced to life without parole. AlphaBay was another online marketplace that sold illegal goods. And it too was shut down in 2017.


Pornography

The dark web is a hub for pornography. It's not surprising that people want to remain anonymous when they browse porn. This is what the dark web allows them to do.


However, the dark web is also home to illegal pornography, such as child pornography. For an example? Earlier this year, federal prosecutors instituted charges against a 23-year-old South Korean man allegedly running an online marketplace for child pornography using the dark web. As reported in news coverage of the case, the site contained more than 200,000 videos of underage children engaging in sex acts.


Firearms

Guns got your attention? It isn't just you. In a study published by the Rand Corporation last year, it was found that shopping for firearms in the United States is relatively easy.


Nearly 60 percent of firearms listings promoted products originating in the United States. As per the reports, Europe is the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, contributing almost five times more than the United States.


On the dark web, pistols and rifles are the most commonly listed firearms, with pistols accounting for 84 percent and rifles 10 percent respectively.


Login credentials for streaming services

It is possible to find the passwords to a variety of streaming services on the dark web. These include both mainstream movie streaming services as well as pornographic streaming services.


These passwords are sold by criminals to those seeking to avoid paying the monthly fees associated with streaming subscriptions.


The services that provide passwords and usernames typically include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, and other streaming services.


Credit card numbers

It's a frightening one, a report by Gemini Advisory says 115 million stolen debit and credit card numbers were posted on the dark web in 2020.


The criminals sell these stolen numbers to other thieves. Criminals can use your information to make unauthorized purchases online using these numbers. While it is possible to dispute these purchases, who knows how much damage these thieves can cause before you catch them?


The passwords for your bank accounts

There's a good chance that thieves will sell bank account numbers and online savings and checking passwords on the dark web if they sell credit and debit card numbers there.


A cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows has found that more than fifteen billion records of financial account information were sold on online marketplaces in the past year. The report found that about a quarter of the listings were for banks and financial institutions.


Once criminals have your bank account information, they can do a lot of damage. They can quickly drain your savings account or checking account by using your account.


Social Security numbers

The Dark Web also sells personal information such as birth dates, addresses, and phone numbers, including Social Security numbers.


It is possible for criminals to steal a person's identity using their Social Security number. As a result, your could face serious financial problems, since these thieves could apply for credit cards with your name, borrow money for a mortgage, or even report your income taxes so they can steal your refund.

Advantages of the Dark Web

Despite all criminal activities, the Dark Web has some positive aspects as well.


  • Dark webs allow people the freedom to express themselves privately and freely. Stalkers and other criminals have been terrorizing innocent people for years. In such cases, privacy is paramount. 

  • The increasing tendency of possible employers to monitor social media posts can also make it difficult for candidates to have honest discussions publicly. 

  • Furthermore, the dark web can be a convenient communication tool for undercover officers since it's a popular platform for criminals.

Disadvantages of the Dark Web

People can use the dark web to empower themselves, but it is inevitable that some people will abuse the power. 


  • The dark web can be used to commit some of the worst crimes. As an example, the combination of the dark web and cryptocurrencies theoretically creates the possibility of hiring someone to commit a murder. 

  • Even though the dark web promises privacy to users, it can also be used to violate others' privacy. 

  • All kinds of private information, including medical records and financial records, have been stolen and posted on the dark web.

Can the dark web be tracked?

Using an IP address, it is possible to track and monitor an individual's internet activities. By anonymizing a device's IP address, the 'Dark Web' makes it very difficult to determine which websites a device has visited.

Is the dark web illegal? 

It's quite simple, the dark web itself is not illegal. What is illegal on the dark web is some specific criminal activity. There are sites, for example, that sell illegal drugs and others where it is possible to purchase firearms illegally. Furthermore, there are sites that distribute child pornography.


However, the dark web itself is not illegal. It has plenty of objectionable websites, but it does not violate any laws. For example, you'll find plenty of sites, blogs, and forums that discuss current events, politics, and sport that are not illegal.

Is it possible to access the dark web on a phone?

Yes, Tor apps are available for Android and iOS devices. These applications share the functionality of their desktop counterparts. To access dark web, you can read this tutorial


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