Dark Web 101: Your Guide To The Unknown Net

Dark Web 101: Your Guide To The Unknown Net
  • PublishedDecember 24, 2021

The dark web is a combination of websites that one needs credentials to access. The dark web is something which you can’t discover on search engines.

These sites are not accessible via the usual web browsers as well. Reason being, encryption tools like Tor hide the site’s identity and its location.

There are a variety of encryption techniques available for these sites. For this reason, visitors have to use a similar tool that can decrypt the site for them. 

People who use these sites have an onion link to locate the site. 

The dark web accounts for 6% of the Internet, consisting of different blends of peculiar individuals. It is a strange mix of drug sellers, black hat hackers, weapons, etc. 

Due to its secrecy, this Internet fold works as a bridge between political misfits and the free world. Anonymous tippers utilize it as well (whistleblowers).

Both parties like the dark web because it can make anybody and everything invisible. The darkweb’s key ideals are privacy and anonymity.

The dark web is a swarm of servers and nodes connected by onion-like linkages.

History of Dark Web

Be that as dark web may seem to be a new century innovation, it has a far longer history than one may believe. The dark web is what it is today because of a few pioneers who built it.

The notion of an incognito internet communications network, as the dark web, dates back to the 1960s with ARPANET.

ARPANET, or Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, has been in existence since the 1960s. It was created as an experimental computer network.

ARPANET’s work was to predate the Internet as well as the dark web.

It was born out of a need to communicate information across long distances. The need to communicate without requiring phone lines between computers.

This computer communications system developed to a tentacle-like topology to allow device connectivity.

Originally, ARPANET’s intentions were for academic use. But, the military swiftly adopted the use of it.

ARPA wanted a communication system that was computer-based. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), is a branch of the United States Department of Defense.

They wanted a system without a central core. Its objective was to protect against attackers who wanted to black out the whole network by just removing its core.

As a result, ARPA was prompted to begin supporting ARPANET. They used it to connect computers at Pentagon-funded research institutes instead of telephone lines.

The government gradually privatized ARPANET. Even so, they allowed researchers to join.

Most of them were from universities throughout the nation, to conduct bold experiments.

In the early 1970s, the first unlawful online transaction occurred through ARPANET.

Stanford research students utilized ARPANET accounts at Stanford University’s Laboratory for illegal activities. They used the school’s artificial intelligence laboratory to sell Marijuana.

It was okay for ARPANET researchers to conduct risky experiments. But that risk was too much considering it was still linked to the government.

As a result, ARPANET’s creators decided to divide the network into two sections in 1983.

The first one would be MILNET. MILNET’s use was for military and defense organizations.

The second was ARPANET in its civilian version. The particular version served as the foundation for what is the Internet on this day and time.

The dark web and the ARPANET are both driven by the same need for secure communication. As a consequence, it’s no surprise that the dark web appeared just a few decades later.

A slew of dark web sites and a corresponding number of followers started to develop in huge masses. This was as a result of the introduction of secret browsing networks such as Tor.

The original purpose for creation of most dark websites was to aid people living under repressive regimes in resisting censorship.

But the lure of browsing anonymously drove the growth of hidden websites hosting illicit material and activities.

Is the Deep Web Same As the Dark Web?

There is a lot of confusion between what dark web and deep web is. Well imagine the Internet as a multi-layered onion.

The uppermost layers are the simplest to reach, and peeling back layers gets more difficult. So the uppermost layer is the clear web that is easy to access.

The second layer is the deep web while the third layer is the dark web. In this case, if the clear web is google’s best friend, and the deep web is its secret lover.

And now the dark web is their strange friend.

The deep web comprises the vast majority of the Internet.

It contains stuff that isn’t searchable through search engines. Stuff such as the corporation’s secret database or internal website pages.

The public is protected from accessing deep web information by a thin layer of protection.

The darknet and dark web are the “onion’s” innermost layers. The deep web is a subset of the black web since it is also inaccessible.

Wired estimates that just 0.01 percent of the deep web is dark. While certain deep web sites may be visited using private browsers like Tor, these are the only ways to reach the black web.

In a few aspects, the black web is concealed from public view.

For starters, since Google doesn’t index dark web sites, you won’t be able to locate any using a search engine. To access a blackweb site, you must utilize a specific browser.

Some dark web site owners may limit access to their sites based on IP address.

While you could technically accomplish the same thing with a public website, there isn’t as much need to do so.

3 Biggest Dark Web Myths Deciphered

1. Accessing the Dark Web is Illegal

Going on the dark web isn’t always prohibited if you keep a few things in mind.

On the black web, users may read and post material that their government prohibits. For instance, a US journalist on an assignment abroad.

This journalist may not be allowed to disseminate news through conventional channels. It is not unlawful to publish such information in the United States, but it is in that nation.

The dark web would be useful in this circumstance. The use of the darkweb in this case will be to safeguard the right to free expression.

Even if you just access unlawful stuff on the dark web, bear in mind that the FBI may be tracing your IP address. Point is, you never know which dark web sites they are monitoring.

So although visiting some of the darker stuff may be safe, you may also be exposing yourself to an undercover FBI operation.

2. To Find Unlawful Activity, You Have to Go to the Dark Web

The dark web is commonly referred to as a hub of criminal activities. While it attracts criminal-like characters, illicit internet activity isn’t limited to the dark web.

Many websites that are accessible to the public have been shut down for illegal material production/distribution.

An example, is a 2014 Internet Watch Foundation investigation detailed that the law enforcement discovered 31K URLs containing photos of child pornography.

Only 51 among the URLs, or 0.2 percent of all URLs, were housed on the dark web.

Illicit activities occur on both the surface and dark webs. But the dark web’s ability to disguise its users IP addresses makes hiding and carrying out unlawful activities simpler.

3. Illegal Content is Easily Accessible on the Darkweb.

Just because you have access to the dark web doesn’t imply you have access to all of its sites.

Some dark website developers really wish to limit site access. By doing this, they may password-protect their site.

Alternatively, they may also allow access to people from a list of certain IP addresses.

Want to Get on the Dark Web? Here’s How to Do It Step-by-Step

1. Know the Correct URL

Because the black web is decentralized, there are no crawlers to gather data. Even the URLs, if we can call them that, are vastly different.

For example, if you want to visit a website such as YouTube, all you have to do is type the URL into the address bar. Or alternatively, search for the website using Google.

To enter and use the dark web, you must know the specific URL down to the last decimal and character. All dark web addresses seem to be random sequences of digits and characters, followed by a .onion extension.

2. Install VPN

It is highly recommended to use VPN services while accessing the dark web for security purposes.

Technically, you may browse on this internet layer for free as long as you don’t do anything unlawful.

Yet, the US Supreme Court has ruled that even casually visiting the darkweb might get you into some hot soup.

3. Install An Adequate Browser

The first rule of the dark web is to never use your usual browser to search. Authorities can easily monitor you using popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Opera, and Firefox.

If you still want to proceed to the dark web, I suggest downloading Tor, it’s the safest and most user-friendly onion browser.

4. Install Virtual Machine Software

Use of VM software is highly recommended for normal browsers because controlling viruses in a controlled virtual environment is simpler.

Several VMs include: 

  • Oracle VM Virtualbox
  • QEMU
  • VMware Fusion and Workstations
  • Xen Project
  • Red Hat Virtualization

The Future of Dark Web

If you want to see what the future of the dark web looks like, you can look at Dar0de market as it’s one of the fastest growing dark web marketplace across the globe. 

As far as technology is considered, it looks like we might see things like AI as well as a whole new existence of virtual reality on the darkweb. 

And if this happens, activities like trafficking, selling of drugs, and things of similar nature might take place even at a much bigger scale.  

Written By
Azfar K

Azfar is a musician and founder of a content marketing agency

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