File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Tech Tours: We used the dark web so you don't have to

By Faheem Khota Time of article published Jul 6, 2020

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Welcome to TechTours, where we will delve a little deeper into the questions many are too afraid to ask, and dive into the pools that most would just like to dip their toes. Today, we tackle the dark web. 

The notorious dark web has been the subject of many IT discussions and curious minds in the last few years. With the rise of cryptocurrencies and hacking groups like Anonymous, many wonder what is behind the curtain, and how to take a peek. 

The difference between clear, deep and dark web

Clear web is what we use every day. Everything that can be indexed or “found easily” will be classified under clear web. The terms “deep web” and “dark web” however, are often mixed up but they could not be more different. 

The deep web refers to items that can be accessed via a search engine  but are blocked by paywalls or subscriptions and sign-in credentials. It also includes any content that its owners have blocked web crawlers (such as search engines) from indexing. The deep web is estimated to make up between 96 and 99% of the internet.

The dark web is a subset of the deep web that is a lot more difficult to access, and where most of the illicit activity can be found. This requires a specific type of browser to access and is estimated to make up about 5% of the internet. Again, not all the dark web is used for illicit purposes despite its ominous-sounding name. 

What is the dark web? 

The dark web is the “underside” of the internet that isn't indexed by major search engines. By now, you have probably heard about the dark web being a proverbial dark alley of illegal activity and in many cases, it is. 

On the dark web you will find immeasurable amounts of ways to buy credit card numbers, lifetime Netflix accounts and even counterfeit currency. It goes without saying that it would not be a great idea to put in banking details or any personal information on there due to the dangerous nature of the anonymity of its users. It would also be illegal to purchase the aforementioned products.

But not everything is illegal, the dark web also has a legitimate side. For example, you can join a chess club or BlackBook, a social network described as the “the Facebook of Tor”.

How is the dark web accessed?

The thought of accessing a global marketplace where everyone is free to sell what they want, when they want, might sound enticing. I assure you, as can be expected with a platform where everyone is anonymous, accessing the dark web is not easy and it is incredibly easy to be scammed. 

Accessing the dark web requires the use of a browser called Tor. The Tor browser basically hides you from everyone else by routing your web page through a variety of servers making your IP address unidentifiable.  

Some positives of the dark web

Despite its “dark” reputation, the dark web also provides an access point for people in countries where digital restrictions are stifling them. People are turning to the dark web for freedom of speech and privacy. Just like the “clear” web, the dark web is filled with social media platforms, email services and even gaming websites. However, due to the use of browsers such as Tor, you are kept fully anonymous.

The dark web is also being used to expose corruption. News channels such as Fox, CNN and NBC have all got open sites on the dark web in order to receive anonymous tips from online users. In addition to this, due to the anonymity that the dark web provides, many users on the dark web use it to share personal stories. This ranges from advice on drug addiction, sexual abuse and many other personal stories people are afraid to share on the clear web. 

There are also a growing number of medical professionals using the dark web who consult with patients who would rather keep their medical conditions anonymous. 

Another reason people are moving to the dark web is to make anonymous purchases. We do not condone buying illegal items but recognise that there are legitimate reasons to buy products and services on the dark web such as buying specific security software and electronic devices. There are also tons of online communities where no matter what your passion is, you will probably find a forum for it. A note of caution is always avoid forum discussions pertaining to illegal activities. 

The dark web is an interesting place filled with a myriad of forums, marketplaces and illegal items but as mentioned previously, there is little to no policing. 

If your intention to use the dark web is to remain anonymous and find like-minded people then this is the place for you. One thing is for certain, like walking through a shady part of town, you will find lots of bargains and interesting things to see. Just don't go down the dark alley and check what people are selling from their trench coats. 

*Independent Media will not be responsible for person/s using the dark web irresponsibly. Please proceed with extreme caution when doing so and steer away from illegal activity. 

IOL TECH

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