Internet is a much larger space than you probably think of. You are aware Facebook, Google, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Youtube which are user friendly and trustable, but do you know what is sneaking beyond those user friendly and respectable websites or search engines? In the tiny corner of the internet lurk Dark Web and Deep Web that emerge in much shadier corners. While Deep Web just information such as your bank statement, torrent websites, private forums, etc. whose’s details don’t directly appear on search engine, Dark web is a total different story.
Dark web are a much more complicated part of Deep Web. The websites here are totally encrypted, have .onion extension and can only be accessible by TOR Browser. But, do you really want to access Dark Web? To answer this, lets first understand what is dark web.
What is Dark Web?
The Dark Web is a term that refers categorically to a collection of websites that is present on an encrypted network and cannot be found by using traditional search engines or visited using typical browsers.
Ideally all the sites on the Dark Web hide their entity using Tor encryption tool. Tor has the ability to hide your identity and activity. You may use Tor to fake your location so it appears you are located in a different country rather than where you are currently located. Websites that are run through Tor also produces the same effect.
To visit a website on the Dark Web that is using Tor encryption you need to have Tor installed in your machine and you can access the sites using Tor only. There are several degrees of secrecy associated with Tor when you visit a website via Tor for both parties. This means that anyone can visit a site on the Dark Web using Tor but it is extremely difficult to figure out who is behind the sites. Dark Web is not a place you can drop by online nonchalantly. It requires you to go through a process and some level of technological sophistication.
In spite of the shady name and challenging methods to access the web, dark web is a major draw for a lot of people worldwide. The question is what is the appeal of dark web? Users claim that there are a lot of reasons to use the Dark Web.
Why People Use Dark Web?
Anonymity: Undoubtedly this is the major reason why so many people are attracted to the Dark Web. Apart from people selling or buying drugs or other illicit items incognito, the Dark Web gained spotlight as a safe haven of sorts for various journalists and people who were required to share and receive information that could not be shared via the normal websites. Journalists have used the Dark Web to contact whistleblowers anonymously or store sensitive documents. The conclusion is this that you are on the Dark Web because you wish to hide your identity and have taken specific steps to make it a reality.
Privacy: As more evidence surface regarding how our activities online are monitored by various entities, net users are becoming more and more concerned about their privacy. People choose the Dark Web to remain unidentified for whatever reason. However, the Dark Web and the tools you use to access it to remain unidentified are completely two different things. Many people use The Onion Router or TOR to ensure their activities online are undisclosed and might not actually visit the Dark Web.
Information Safety: Most of the journalist uses the Dark Web to share and receive sensitive information from anonymous whistleblowers. Dark Web has become a safe haven for those who wish to share information safely without the headache of being watched.
Who uses the Dark Web?
The question which obviously might arise in your mind is who uses the Dark Web in spite of all the notorious activities that are associated with this hazy Dark Web. Identifying the benefits of online anonymity criminals, politicians, libertarians quickly exploited the new software. Pundits claim that ideally there are a few groups of people who use the Dark Net frequently such as:
- Freedom Fighters: A lot of people credit TOR as a vital component for the Arab Spring where the libertarians used the social media to raise the awareness and create a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across North Africa and Middle East in late 2010 and by the middle of 2012 rulers were forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. The Chinese and the Russians also use the Dark Web to get around the Great Firewall of those countries that block foreign websites.
- Whistle blowers subject to punishments: Some people say that The New Yorker runs a dark website- Strongbox, which allows whistleblowers to safely leave documents or messages. Dead Man Zero offers potential whistleblowers a platform that will automatically publish and deliver their secrets if they are injured, killed or imprisoned. The system is developed in such a way that in case a user is found not to access the site at predefined intervals the information is automatically released to a set of email addresses and publications established by the user.
- Sufferers of abuse and discrimination: Recognizing the anonymity of the Dark Web, individuals’ bank on the Dark Web to share their personal stories and console their peers without fear that their privacy is going to be breached. There are sites for rape victims, trans people, and other prosecuted minorities whether religious, political or cultural.
- Government and Corporations: Dark Web is considered as a safe haven to keep and limit access to sensitive data whether company records or political intelligence. Although, it might seem to be a paradox, Law Enforcement officials also use the Dark Web to hide their anonymity to visit websites and create fake sites to trap wrongdoers.
There are people who dislike the idea of government agencies like the National Security Agency, collecting data from personal phone calls, emails and messaging. People who resent such government activities use the Dark Web to interact with others and share or receive information which they feel will be monitored while using the surface net.
What are the pros and cons of Dark Web?
- Dark Web makes it impossible to track you: Did you know that all your searches on the reputed search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo can be accessed? Your searches define what kind of person you are and it can track you down. Your IP address can be accessed on the websites you go and download or even run a search. Dark Web handicaps such kind of surveillance activities. It is perhaps because of this reason that the Dark Web is such a major attraction among many users who resent such activities. Dark Web spoofs your identity as it roams through various network circuits.
- Plethora of Information: In case, you are trying to find some information that is prohibited and is not published on the internet, you can search it on the Dark Web and get lots of answers. This is very advantageous to the journalists and media people. There is an abundance of information on various topics that you might not find on Google, Wikipedia or Bing.
- Freedom of speech and activities: You might be aware that you may get arrested if you write something against your community’s ideas and norms on the internet. Dark Web helps you to remain anonymous. You can write against certain laws of the state without having the fear of getting arrested or trolled.
Though anonymity can be a blessing the Dark Web has some evident disadvantages also:
- Dark Web advocates racist dogma and bigotry
- Since there are no restrictions, people use the Dark Web to publish and trade child pornography with relative safety.
- Absence of surveillance allows people to send threatening emails completely free from repercussion.
- Dark Web allows people to engage in other criminal monetary transactions like money laundering through crypto-currency.
- Dark Web is used for various nefarious activities like selling drugs, firearms etc without any repercussions.
You may use the Dark Web for benign things for a variety of reasons such as a sense of community, avoiding surveillance or tracking or just want to do something in a different way. It is worth noting that what flourishes on the dark web is material that is been banned elsewhere on line so browse the Dark Web cautious. Best practices to browse the Dark Net will be to exercise common sense, protect your identity, avoid use of personal credit cards and do not download or open files online while you are on the Dark Web. Remember to keep your web browser up to date.