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What is the dark web?The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly …

Dark web definition

The dark web is a part of the internet that isn’t indexed by search engines. You’ve no doubt heard talk of the “dark web” as a hotbed of criminal activity — and it is. Researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid of King’s College in London classified the contents of 2,723 live dark web sites over a five-week period in 2015 and found that 57% host illicit material. 

A 2019 study, Into the Web of Profit, conducted by Dr. Michael McGuires at the University of Surrey, shows that things have become worse. The number of dark web listings that could harm an enterprise has risen by 20% since 2016. Of all listings (excluding those selling drugs), 60% could potentially harm enterprises.

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You can buy credit card numbers, all manner of drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts and software that helps you break into other people’s computers. Buy login credentials to a $50,000 Bank of America account for $500. Get $3,000 in counterfeit $20 bills for $600. Buy seven prepaid debit cards, each with a $2,500 balance, for $500 (express shipping included). A “lifetime” Netflix premium account goes for $6. You can hire hackers to attack computers for you. You can buy usernames and passwords.

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.”


Gaining access to dark web and deep web sources can be extremely powerful— if you focus on relevant use cases. The most successful strategies we observe have clear requirements, such as fraud detection, threat monitoring, and finding exposed credentials.

However, monitoring these sources is challenging, and few solutions have sophisticated coverage. “Deep and dark web” spans a huge range of potential sources; marketplaces, closed forums, messaging apps, and paste sites. Few companies span all these sources; fewer still have capabilities to go beyond simple scraping of sites.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of ear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) concerning the dark web. Iceberg analogies have been common for several years, ostensibly demonstrating the deep and dark web is significantly larger than the open web. In truth, the dark web only contributes to a small chunk of cybercrime—we must consider additional sources to get a truer sense of the threat landscape.


The dark web is an area of the internet that is only accessible with specific browser software, such as Tor or I2P. It is a web of anonymity where users’ identities and locations are protected by encryption technology that routes user data through many servers across the globe – making it extremely difficult to track users.

The anonymity of the dark web makes it an attractive technology for illegal purposes. Unfortunately, gaining visibility into criminal locations is difficult: it requires specialized knowledge, access to closed sources, and technology that’s capable of monitoring these sources for misuses of your data.

However, let’s first dispel some misconceptions about the dark web.

  1. Assumption 1: The dark web is synonymous with the criminal internet. While the dark web is home to lots of crime, it also hosts many legitimate companies like New York Times and Facebook who offer Tor-based services, as well as generally benign content. The dark web is not synonymous with cybercrime.
  2. Assumption 2: The dark web is the same thing as the deep web. To clarify, the deep web is broadly defined as anything that is not indexed by traditional search engines. Unsurprisingly, the deep web is also home to criminality – but so too is the clear web. The dark web does not monopolize cybercrime

Dark Web

By ANDREW BLOOMENTHAL  Reviewed by SOMER ANDERSON  Updated Jun 17, 2021

What Is the Dark Web?

The dark web refers to encrypted online content that is not indexed by conventional search engines. Sometimes, the dark web is also called the dark net. The dark web is a part of the deep web, which just refers to websites that do not appear on search engines. Most deep web content consists of private files hosted on Dropbox and its competitors or subscriber-only databases rather than anything illegal.https://de5a5a625ac7a62b3091fa4b0cae1bd6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Specific browsers, such as Tor Browser, are required to reach the dark web. Using the dark web often provides considerably more privacy than just using Tor to access the web. Many dark web sites simply provide standard web services with more secrecy, which benefits political dissidents and people trying to keep medical conditions private. Unfortunately, online marketplaces for drugs, exchanges for stolen data, and other illegal activities get most of the attention.


  • The dark web refers to encrypted online content that is not indexed by conventional search engines.
  • Specific browsers, such as Tor Browser, are required to reach the dark web.
  • As with the early Internet, the dark web has also gained a reputation as a haven for illegal activities.
  • The dark web helps people to maintain privacy and freely express their views.

Understanding the Dark Web

In many ways, the dark web is much like the broader web was in its early days during the late 20th century. There is a lot of material about getting it working, and not very much to do once one gets there. A lot of the content on the dark web is very amateurish.

On the other hand, it is much easier for individuals to start sites and get attention. Tech giants and large media organizations have very little influence on the dark web as of 2020.

The dark web is still very much a work in progress, and its full costs and benefits are not yet known.

As with the early Internet, the dark web has also gained a reputation as a haven for illegal activities. The dark web, like the web before it, is frequently implicated in horrible crimes, such as child abuse and murder for hire. While the dark web has unfortunately played a hand in both illegal and unethical transactions, it has also provided a social outlet for people who may otherwise be persecuted for their identities or political beliefs. It has also provided legal authorities with additional tools to apprehend the perpetrators of unethical activities.

It is crucial to avoid confusing the dark web with the cryptocurrencies often used to make purchases there. The dark web makes it easier to set up and access websites that offer a high degree of anonymity for everyone involved. Many of these sites contain only information, with no ability to buy or sell anything. It is true that cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Monero, are often used for transactions on the dark web. However, one does not have to use the dark web to use cryptocurrencies.

The dark web and the deep web are also often erroneously used interchangeably. The deep web includes all the pages that don’t pop up when you run a web search. The dark web is just one part of the deep web. The deep web also contains everything requiring a login, such as online banking, pay sites, and file hosting services.

Advantages of the Dark Web

The dark web helps people to maintain privacy and freely express their views. Privacy is essential for many innocent people terrorized by stalkers and other criminals. The increasing tendency of potential employers to track posts on social media can also make it difficult to engage in honest discussions publicly. Finally, the popularity of the dark web with criminals makes it a perfect way for undercover police officers to communicate.

Disadvantages of the Dark Web

The dark web empowers ordinary people, but some people will inevitably abuse that power. The dark web can make it easier to commit some of the worst crimes. For example, the combination of the dark web and cryptocurrencies theoretically makes it much easier to hire someone to commit a murder. While the dark web promises privacy to its users, it can also be used to violate the privacy of others. Private photos, medical records, and financial information have all been stolen and shared on the dark web.

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