Suppose you’re watching a video on YouTube then you head to Amazon to buy your grandma’s birthday present this internet browsing is taking place on a level of the internet called the Surface Web.
Dark Web / Deep Web:
Beneath surface web are many more layers of the internet and what’s known as the Deep Web at the top of these layers are websites that can be accessed but can’t be found by doing a simple search on Google or Bing think online banking and government databases pages that are password encrypted what if you keep going down all the way to the bottom of the Deep Web well here you’ll find the dark web
Here users can communicate through encrypted messages and combined sell anything with total anonymity it’s been called the Wild West of the internet because operating in the shadows are extremists criminals and trolls but where did the dark web come from and how does it work firstly the dark web is not a place but a term that describes parts of the internet that hide your identity and location.
US Naval Research Lab:
The dark web’s infrastructure was created in the 1970s at the same time as the internet itself but to utilize it you need a darknet software enter the US Naval Research Lab who created back in the early 2000s one of the first and still the most popular dark net software talk it was created for a number of reasons which included providing the US Navy’s intelligence officers with the means to maneuver through the internet without being recognized or traced but to really give you an understanding of what the dark web is like we need to explore it firsthand.
TOR Web Browser:
So I’ve downloaded TOR which looks like a normal web browser and seems to behave like one too I can visit any site I like but unlike normal web browsers which would register my IP address straight away the tor browser bounces my request to enter the site via several computers around the world encrypting and decrypting my identification as it goes so that no one knows where the request has come from now that I’m browsing the internet anonymously certain web sites have become accessible websites like the infamous Silk Road .
Silk Road Black Market:
The Silk Road was one of the first online black markets where you could buy drugs guns and child pornography two years after starting the site the founder Ross Ulbricht was arrested in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison for money laundering drug trafficking hacking and fraud this was quickly followed by a shutdown of its successor Silk Road 2.0 along with similar sites such as Project Black Flag and market reloaded there are even reports that the FBI has hacked into tor itself which subsequently saw the browsers usage dropped by nearly 50 percent this all gives the impression that the authorities are fighting back.
Closing down one or two online markets has simply cleared the way for its competitors if you didn’t want to use the tor browser there’s ITP or Freenet instead of Silk Road 2.0 is now dream Agora or alpha bay and they all provide the same services the dark web however is not just an eBay for illegal purchases it’s also used by radical extremists to communicate and spread propaganda but not all activity going on down in the dark web is illegal tor for instance receives 60% of its backing from the US State Department and the Department of Defense to act as a secure Network for both government agencies and political dissidents fighting oppressive regimes over the past decade the dark web is empowered activists to spread news during the Arab Spring and encourage whistleblowers to release information the dark web as a tool to help journalists uncover the truth was made popular by WikiLeaks now news organizations such as the New York Times and The Guardian all host dark web drop sites for uploading anonymously leaked tips and documents it’s also helped domestic violence victims hide from online stalkers and allowed ordinary citizens to surf the web without being tracked by advertisers or even the government which leaves us with a great dilemma if the authorities try and succeed in shutting down the dark web and the criminal activity that it supports they’ll also be adversely affecting all the people that use it for social benefits the question remains whether Internet freedom and privacy for legitimate and sometimes life-saving reasons are worth protecting while this vast criminal underworld operates alongside it inside the dark web.