On the surface, the internet is one of the greatest human inventions. It has given us the capacity to do things previously unimaginable and has made life so much more convenient. Now it permeates every part of our lives: in society, at work and at home. Yet, underneath its glossy façade, you’ll find it has …
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:
- Protection of whistleblowers and dissidents
- Potential of producing significant innovations in the payments business
- People will find others ways to use the Internet for illicit purposes
- Access to unlinked database queries and odd file formats
- Access to current news without censorship
- The right to speak openly without fear of persecution
- A robust and sturdy statistical analysis tool of bridges and relays
- Greater user base, increased capital, and higher black market competition
- Hosted blogs from countries without the ability for candid thought exchanges
- 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.
Top image ©GL Stock Images
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