While the Dark Web only comprises an estimated five percent of the entire internet, it has an alarming 2.7 million daily users as of April and the volume of illegal activities being executed is alarming, a report has warned.
While its intended purpose is to allow people access to a censorship-free internet where they cannot be tracked by governments or any other parties, data acquired by niche news publisher BanklessTimes.com revealed that in fact 56.8% of Dark Web activities are illegal in some way.
“Thus, it’s estimated that over half of the 2.5 million daily Dark Web visitors in 2023 have participated in illegal activities. Even more so alarming is that this number is on the rise, as of April 2023 this figure rose by 200 000 to 2.7 million daily Dark web users,” the report noted.
Those most familiar with the Dark Web are those from BRICS countries - amounting to 28% of those who cited being familiar with it.
Latin America and the Asia Pacific region were next with 26% of respondents claiming some familiarity with the dark net. The Middle East and Africa stood at 23%, while the global average was 24%, the report noted.
There are a variety of functions on the dark net and some individuals do use it for more lawful reasons such as citizens in different countries looking to access uncensored information, or help researchers find the right data.
The Dark Web market is listed with various illicit goods and services. The most listed items on the market are Paypal account logins - with 50 accounts costing just $200 (R3 900) in 2022.
Another prevalent product on offer are hacked crypto accounts which are becoming more affordable.
The price for a Kraken verified account dropped from $810 in 2021 to only $250 in 2022 and similarly, the numbers for Coinbase decreased from $610 to $120, said the report.
Direct "high-quality" malware attacks against someone in Europe cost $1 800 per 1 000 installs, while in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, "medium-quality" attacks with a 70% success rate cost $1 200 per 1 000 installs.