The dark web (or dark net as it’s sometimes known) is so called because not only is its content not indexed by normal search engines, it’s also encrypted, and that makes it even more inaccessible. It’s a part of the deep web that isn’t accessed through normal browsing behavior. Deep web material is not necessarily illegal; it’s just kept private in subscription-based online databases.
There are particular browsers, like the Tor Browser, which users will need to access the dark web. The attraction of using Tor is that it offers a lot of extra privacy.
The dark web trades on its inherent extra secrecy, and this has made it popular amongst political dissidents, and indeed with anyone who wants to keep their personal business private. Naturally, this has led to its adoption by criminal elements, and this unfortunate trend has stoked its reputation as a marketplace for drugs, stolen data, and so on.
About the Dark Web
The dark web resembles what the Internet looked like in its early days. It’s full of amateurish content, some of which is about how to actually make it work, and in truth there is much to do when you get there. On the plus side, it’s easy to start a site and gain attention, and as of 2020, tech giants and large corporations don’t hold much sway there, which is appealing to some.
So, it’s kind of a work in progress, it has some rough edges, and no one quite understands all of its pluses and minuses yet. In much the same way as the early Internet attracted suspicion and concern, the dark web has done the same. It’s become synonymous with crimes like child abuse and murder for hire, but it isn’t as if humanity hadn’t thought of those things a long time ago already, and as for drugs, some of the ones that were once sold on the dark web have now been decriminalized in some jurisdictions.
The dark web makes it more difficult to enforce both good and bad laws, but its covert nature has given rise to plenty of good things. Its provided safe havens and community support for people in countries that might persecute them for their sexuality or religious beliefs, and for those trying to share information about what’s really happening within repressive regimes it’s been a lifeline.
Cryptocurrencies are often used to pay for purchases on the dark web, but it’s important to acknowledge that they’re entirely separate things and to also note that even though Bitcoin and others may be used on the dark web, many sites are only informative and have no shop functionality. There are many such sites because the dark web makes it easier to set them up with anonymity.
The terms “dark web” and “deep web” are often used as if they’re synonymous, but as we’ve said, one is a subset of the other and they are not the same. The deep web includes many sites that won’t appear in your web search and services that exist behind a login, such as banking and file hosting services. The dark web is just another element of the deep web.
Advantages of the Dark Web
The dark web helps people to express themselves publicly without compromising their identity. Now that we live in an age where the information we share online can be used to name and shame us, it’s important to have public fora where we can speak without fear of reprisals.
If there are criminals there, then perhaps one of the benefits of the dark web is that it helps law enforcement officials to find them, as it’s the perfect place to run undercover operations!
Disadvantages of the Dark Web
Everything has its downside and the dark web is no exception. Combination of anonymity and cryptocurrencies have proven to be very attractive criminals and they have used the dark web to do everything from hiring killers to releasing private information without authorization.