The dark web is often associated with unlawful things. This is especially after 2013 when the FBI arrested Silk Road founder Ross, William Ulbricht. The website was a dark web marketplace where illegal drugs, arms, and services were bought and sold.
However, apart from ‘the bad’, the dark web also contains ‘the good’ – and ‘the ugly’. But before we look at these, let’s see what makes it popular in the first place.
How the Dark Web Operates
In case you are not familiar with the dark web, it a hidden part of the internet that is made up of proxy servers whose aim is to provide anonymity. Once connected, a user’s traffic is usually tunneled through 3 nodes which all add levels of anonymity.
The most popular and the biggest dark web network is the Tor (The Onion Router) network, which can be accessed through the Tor browser. The browser can be installed on Windows, OS X, Linux, and Android platforms.
The Brighter Side of the Dark Web
When the dark web was created, the goal was to have an anonymized and encrypted network that would protect the sensitive communications of US spies. Although this goal was never fully realized, researchers saw a good opportunity to launch a nonprofit focused on anonymity for human rights and privacy activists. This is how Tor was born.
Thanks to the anonymity provided, Tor has been a key facilitator for whistleblowing. This is often done through SecureDrop, a software used by various media houses such as ProPublica, The Guardian, The Intercept, and The Washington Post. Some famous whistleblowers who have used the dark web are Wikileaks and Edward Snowden.
Apart from that, there are so many great activities and services facilitated by the dark web’s anonymity. These include anonymous email platforms, chat rooms, discussions, and more. It is also often used to bypass government censorship and access blocked content.
To explore the lighter side of the dark web, you can check out this list of dark web sites worth visiting.
The Dark Side of the Dark Web
Anonymity is a crucial part of the crime, and the fact that Tor is good at that makes it a favorite spot for criminals.
A popular way of carrying out illegal activities on the dark web is through market places. These offer illegal goods (such as drugs and counterfeit products) and financial crime services (such as money laundering and bank frauds). Other criminal activities that have been on the rise in the sale of personal data and stolen financial details.
Apart from these, there’s also an ugly side of the dark web that offers pedophilia content, hitman services (allegedly), conventional and chemical weapons purchase, and illegal medical research.
The dark web is not necessarily bad as it can also be used for good things. However, this part of the internet is notorious for criminal activities, and anonymity provides a good hiding space. Overall, the dark web is what you make it, and you take maximum advantage of the anonymity provided.