How the Dark Web and TOR Contribute to Current Privacy Concerns

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The main purpose for creating the dark Web was to provide access to encrypted and untraceable information. Within the last several decades, it has evolved into an area containing illegal content, damaging to businesses and individuals.

Accessing the content inadvertently is possible, presenting a security threat more dynamic than phishing scams or unscrupulous Websites. In addition, traditional security measures are bypassed, leaking more information than by utilizing traditional networks. The result is malware installation and hackers with free reign to your personal information.

A disconnect exists between wanting to browse the Internet in privacy and keeping your information and network safe. Generally speaking, dark Web users are treated with suspicion even though some of the content it houses is entirely legitimate.

Dark Web Versus Deep Web

The dark Web is the term for seedy corners of the Web, where users interact online without the concern of being detected by authorities. For the most part, the sites existing in the dark Web are guard by encryption devices that permit users to visit them anonymously. The deep Web is a broader concept. It refers to all online content that is not accessible to search engines.

  • Dark Web purposes: buying and selling drugs, discussing and selling hacking techniques and services, and trading child pornography
  • Dark Web technologies: not inherently good or bad because both dissidents in repressive regimes and whistleblowers use the procedure to hide their identities
  • Deep Web purposes: databases that are not available to the general public, including private information from social media sites and academic papers that are not indexed
  • Deep Web technologies: most content is harmless and a result of unindexed pages

The dark Web is the principal area of issues for businesses because content is hidden deliberately from browsers. Unidentified access is a prerequisite to its use. For that reason, users are frequently those who do not want their Internet activity monitored and who use it as a prime outlet for the placement of illegal content.

The Onion Router (Tor) Network

The Onion Router (Tor) Network is a technology that allows users free access to the dark Web. The Tor interface consists of thousands of servers located worldwide. Volunteers who run it hope to sustain, nurture, and support privacy rights. It makes traffic anonymous by passing it through a series of proxy networks, altering identifying data such as IP addresses and locations of users.

Tor-based browsers work by automatically bouncing communications from various Tor servers before reaching their destination. The method makes it nearly impossible to trace the origin of the traffic back to the user.

Tor, created with financial support from the United States Navy in an effort to promote the free flow of information, provides processes for accessing information censored by other governments, including:

  • Hidden physical locations that thwart tracing techniques
  • Illegal activities undetectable by authorities
  • Restricted social media sites in countries such as Iran and China


Setting up an illegal drug marketplace that accepts conventional credit cards would most likely be ineffective. The credit card merchants would bar someone offering unlawful services from obtaining an account, and customers would worry about the likelihood of their credit cards being linked to their real identities. The digital black market requires the virtual equivalent of cash so that clients cannot reverse charges after delivery of the products or services.

Bitcoin provides the same transactional anonymity as a cash sale. In addition, no one is in charge of the Bitcoin network, which removes the possibility of any authority from blocking illicit transactions. However, that does not necessarily protect buyers and sellers from being tracked by authorities. In fact, every Bitcoin transaction is publicly available, allowing authorities to tie patterns to real-world identities.

It is essential to know that Bitcoin networks exist for both legal and illicit purposes. Myriad legitimate businesses accept Bitcoin. The attraction of criminals to Bitcoin is similar to the reason that they prefer cash: anonymity.

Governmental Involvement With Privacy Concerns

The government is unlikely to ever fully suppress the dark Web because of the high demand for the products and information offered on these Websites. Also, there will invariably be individuals willing to accept the risks associated with meeting that market.

Shutting down the underlying technologies that make the dark Web possible, such as Tor, would remove vital protection of activists seeking to avoid detection and whistleblowers around the globe.

Reasons that the government limits involvement with privacy concerns include:

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  1. Protection of whistleblowers and dissidents
  1. Potential of producing significant innovations in the payments business
  1. People will find others ways to use the Internet for illicit purposes
  1. Access to unlinked database queries and odd file formats
  1. Access to current news without censorship
  1. The right to speak openly without fear of persecution
  1. A robust and sturdy statistical analysis tool of bridges and relays
  1. Greater user base, increased capital, and higher black market competition
  1. Hosted blogs from countries without the ability for candid thought exchanges
  1. Secure file sharing tools

For the most part, the surface Web contains all the devices and services that the average user requires. In contrast, the dark Web is a useful tool for avoiding media censorship and a potent and practical resource for academic scholars.

Growing Trends Amidst Media Speculation 

The expanding trend of dark Websites creates a tremendous risk of the exposure and malicious use of personal and enterprise data. Cybercriminals use the dark recesses of the Web to create pages that appear to be legitimate, such as disguising them to resemble search engines and account logins. However, after extracting as much information as possible from users, the data is used to compromise confidential data and business secrets.

A large amount of media speculation exists surrounding the dangers of the dark Web. It is necessary to understand the facts regarding the dark and deep areas of the Web because the security risks contained in them are hidden, dynamic, and virtually unrecognizable.

In the end, the deep Web is an essential source of content and information. Nevertheless, the brief journey to the dark Web could compromise your online and business identity before you realize that it has happened and after it is too late to remedy the situation.

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Holiday Security Concerns Good for Small Businesses and Web Hosts

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

As 2014 ends and the new year begins, business and technology experts are looking at online business trends. A number of high-profile security breaches have led to significant shifts in consumer behavior, especially when it comes to online shopping and the types of businesses that they purchase from. A recent survey shows that many online consumers are being driven to small businesses by security concerns—but how will this affect those businesses, their digital presences, and their web hosts?

Consumer Study

The survey in question was taken by in order to determine how online security breaches would affect holiday shopping. The study was conducted online from September 19th to the 26th of 2014. 3,039 respondents were interviewed, 1,003 of which were small businesspeople and 2,036 of which were consumers. The margin of error was 1.5%.

Security Concerns

One of the most relevant results of the study is that many consumers are losing their trust in the security of larger companies. 69% of consumers were worried about their privacy and security while shopping online this year, and nearly 30% were more concerned about big businesses than they were about small ones. Nearly two-thirds of consumers were influenced to shop online more with small businesses this year.

Why is this? Although bigger businesses usually make an effort to keep customer data secure, they are also targeted much more often than other entities because they are such large targets. A big box store often collects the data of thousands of customers, which means that if a hacker can break into their system then they’ve hit the metaphorical jackpot. This fear is borne out by news headlines, which report another major breach every few months. Target was hacked during the holiday season of 2013, and Neiman Marcus announced a security breach the following January. Home Depot was targeted in the spring, Staples was attacked over the summer, and Kmart fell prey in the fall. Most recently, Sony has suffered a number of cyber-attacks in the past few weeks. It’s no surprise that so many Americans mistrust the security of major retailers.

Small Business Benefits

So what alternative do consumers have? Many are turning to small businesses, which offer less of a target to hackers and are thus considered to be more secure. In the survey, 43% of consumers reported that they were likely to change their shopping behavior and another 32% said that it was possible they would change. 65% were somewhat or highly influenced to increase their online shopping (which is understandable, since many of the security breaches involved physical brick-and-mortar stores). Consumers were more than twice as likely to be worried about their security at big businesses then they were at small ones, and 41% of customers were planning to shop mainly at small businesses. Although security breaches are bad news for large companies, they are good news for small ones, since cyber-attacks drive consumers towards smaller stores.

Service Adaptation

Of course, many of these customers expect the same level of service that they received at big businesses to be present at the small ones. Customers are expecting mobile options and professional services from small business websites, and many of these sites are complying. 60% of customers rated the professionalism of small business sites highly, and those that are not well-designed are likely to fall behind.

Web Host Benefits

Although this move toward small business online shopping is good news for local companies, it’s also good news for web hosting services. A whopping 78% of consumers who were going to shop at small businesses planned to shop online, which means that traffic to these sites is going to increase for 2015. The potential for financial gain is significant as long as companies respond correctly.

Trend Predictions

Will this trend continue? Customers will always be driven towards more secure sites, but whether small businesses can remain secure is an open question. Companies that benefit from cyber-attacks on larger retailers can grow themselves and become targets for hackers. In order to avoid falling prey to the same attacks as these big companies have, smaller businesses should be making improvements right now to ensure that their own sites are safe and convenient for customers.

Traffic Changes

First of all, websites should be prepared for the increased traffic. If a sudden influx of visitors crashes a business’s site, then the company will lose money while it’s down and can potentially alienate customers. As mobile devices become more and more common and shopping on these devices increases, small businesses and web hosting services need to be prepared to tailor the site so that it can handle the influx.

Security Adaptations

Also, small business websites absolutely must be secure. Since privacy and security concerns are currently driving customers to smaller retailers, they will also be one of the things that keep them there. Many consumers will bolt as soon as they feel unsafe. Also, a security breach can significantly cost a company and may even end up putting them out of business. This is why enhanced security features are absolutely essential. Some of the most important changes to make are:

  • Training employees on how to avoid threats
  • Keeping software completely up to date
  • Secure encryption of sensitive information
  • Ensuring that physical hardware is protected
  • Using strong passwords
  • Installing antimalware software

Storage Space

Finally, small businesses should ensure that they have sufficient storage space to handle increased online traffic. Without enough storage, a website might run slowly or crash altogether, which can seriously hurt a company’s sales and bottom line. Web hosts should take step to ensure that their clients have adequate space for their websites.

During the holiday shopping season, convenience is drawing many consumers to online shopping, while security and privacy concerns are driving more and more of these shoppers to the websites of small businesses. As the survey shows, smaller retailers can expect an increase in sales (and their web hosts can expect an increase in traffic) due to cyber-attacks. If these businesses are unable to offer a secure shopping experience, however, they’ll eventually lose customers just like bigger retailers did. To take full advantage of this opportunity, small businesses and their web hosts should take steps to ensure that their websites are up for the challenge—companies that are prepared have nothing to fear.

Top image ©GL Stock Images

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Paid Prioritization Tops User Concerns as FCC Closes Net Neutrality Feedback Period

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The open comment period of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet discussion ended on Monday with 3.7 million comments and replies submitted, according to an FCC blog post.

The post Paid Prioritization Tops User Concerns as FCC Closes Net Neutrality Feedback Period appeared first on Web Hosting Talk.

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HIPAA Compliance and Security Top Cloud Adoption Concerns for US Healthcare Providers

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Over 80 percent of healthcare organizations are currently using cloud services, mostly in SaaS form, according to a recent report by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

The post HIPAA Compliance and Security Top Cloud Adoption Concerns for US Healthcare Providers appeared first on Web Hosting Talk News.

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More US Federal Agencies Adopting Cloud Computing in 2013 As Security Concerns Linger: Survey

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Despite perceived security concerns standing in the way of cloud adoption, US federal agencies are rapidly expanding their adoption of cloud infrastructure, according to a new survey from security and compliance solution provider Tripwire.

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1&1 Internet Poll Tracks User Concerns About Website Security

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting News

December 19, 2012 — Web hosting provider 1&1 Internet released the results of a study of online consumers on Wednesday that tracked attitudes about the security of business websites and the factors that can affect a customer’s willingness to spend on a given website.

Keep on reading: 1&1 Internet Poll Tracks User Concerns About Website Security

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