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Debunking Top 10 Myths About the Dark Web (Part 1)

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ByHarper Stewart

Aug 16, 2023
Debunking Top 10 Myths About the Dark Web
Harper Stewart
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Justifiably, the dark web is cloaked in secrecy. The term “dark web” is frequently used interchangeably with Tor (The Onion Router), which was developed by the US Navy to provide users with greater anonymity than the surface web. It has come to represent the online criminal underworld where anything from weapons to drugs to credit card data is sold. 

Of course, all of this is accurate, but so many myths have to be addressed. The most widespread misconceptions about the anonymity network are listed below.

The Dark Web is a Subset of the Deep Web

Web pages that are inaccessible to the general public are categorized as being on the “Deep Web.” The Deep Web, in general, is all about privacy. You can view your email online, but not everyone has access to those pages. It’s the same with your bank account. The internal network of every business is a fantastic illustration of the Deep Web. 

There are possibly financial records and staff handbooks on this network that are off limits to the public. Authentication-required web forums are another illustration of the Deep Web. These are merely sites that are not open to everyone.

Web pages that are inaccessible to the general public are categorized as being on the “Deep Web.” The Deep Web, in general, is all about privacy. You can view your email online, but not everyone has access to those pages. It’s the same with your bank account. The internal network of every business is a fantastic illustration of the Deep Web. 

There are possibly financial records and staff handbooks on this network that are off limits to the public. Authentication-required web forums are another illustration of the Deep Web. These are merely sites that are not open to everyone.

The Dark Web is Only for Criminal Activity 

The dark web is not just used for illegal or criminal conduct, unlike what is depicted in the mainstream media. The.onion URL suffix, which denotes a Tor hidden service, does have some substance in reality: about 50% of these websites are connected in some manner to illegal products and services. 

In the 1990s, the concept of a secure, untraceable communication route for US agents was initially developed as a covert network unavailable to common users. Researchers realized the promise of a totally anonymous network when the project was shelved, allowing political dissidents in repressive regimes, human rights and privacy campaigners safe communications and freedom of speech. 

infamously, WikiLeaks has an anonymous submission platform using the Tor network. However, even the CIA, Facebook, and the New York Times have their own Tor secret services. Even the BBC just debuted its dark web version, making the website accessible even in areas with strong censorship laws.

The Dark Web is Controlled by the Government

Tor hidden services are dominant on the Dark Web. The US Naval Research Laboratory created the fundamentals of the Tor network in the 1990s. The Tor Project also receives funding from the US government. Fans of conspiracy theories now believe that the US is in charge of the project as a result. They don’t understand that the code is free source. Researchers would have discovered any backdoors by now. Because they likewise desire tools for anonymous communication, the US government’s many branches support Tor.

In actuality, no government has jurisdiction over the black web. A portion of the internet that is purposefully concealed and unreachable through common search engines is known as the “dark web.” It uses overlay networks like Tor to primarily run on a decentralized network.

Governmental organizations may keep an eye on and look into illicit activity on the dark web, but they have no real power over it. The dark web, which consists of different anonymous websites and services, is utilized by a large number of people and organizations for both legal and unlawful activities. 

To counteract unlawful activity on the dark web, law enforcement authorities throughout the world take action and may target certain websites and offenders. However, no one government body has complete influence over how the dark web functions overall.

The Dark Web is Immense 

The surface internet is sometimes likened to the tip that we can all see, while the dark web is like the bottom of an iceberg. Factually speaking, this is false because, as of June 2020, there were fewer than 200,000 distinct.onion addresses hosted on the dark web, a far smaller number than there were on the surface web. As opposed to this, the surface web has more than one billion sites. 

The greatest comparison to the bottom of an iceberg would be with the deep web, though. Everything online that is not visible to the general public is kept there in plain sight.

The Dark Web Offers Complete Anonymity 

Although Tor provides a lot of privacy, there are few ways a user might unintentionally betray their identity. Small hints, such as the browser version or surfing patterns, malicious javascript that exposes an individual’s IP address, or even newly discovered zero-day vulnerabilities presented by government organizations, have all been used to de-obfuscate a user. 

Every piece of machine-generated information may be used to uniquely identify a user, which is why Tor advises using the Tor Browser Bundle, which includes a number of plugins to prevent metadata leakage and protect users from the most popular deobfuscation techniques.

By routing encrypted network communication via a number of other users’ nodes, similar to the layers of an onion, and then out of what is referred to as an exit node, Tor obscures a person’s identity. Theoretically, users connecting to Tor using a VPN might conceal their IP address of origin while joining the Tor network, but even then, there are ways to reveal a user’s origin, therefore this should only be seen as an extra layer of anonymity and not a panacea. 

Additionally, the issue with Tor is that users might lose their anonymity if a single party has significant influence over the nodes or network layers that users pass their traffic through. Dedicated government entities with sufficient funding could hypothetically flood the network with their own nodes and reveal users using their majority of nodes.

Tor is the Only Dark Web Service

You’re right that while Tor is frequently mentioned in relation to the Dark Web, there are other services that offer extra levels of anonymization and fit the description. You gave the following examples:

  1. Freenet: Freenet is a decentralized peer-to-peer publishing platform intended to withstand censorship. Users may publish and retrieve information anonymously using a distributed data storage, which is how it functions. Users of Freenet can share files and access the web without disclosing their identities, with the goal of preserving freedom of speech.
  2. I2P: Another anonymity network that is a component of the Dark Web is I2P (Invisible Internet Project). It uses a similar routing concept to Tor but focuses on protecting the communication between peers rather than just providing access to hidden services. I2P allows users to browse websites, send messages, and share files anonymously within its network.
  3. The free and open-source operating system Tails, commonly referred to as “The Amnesic Incognito Live System,” was created to offer privacy and anonymity. It is built on the Linux operating system and is frequently utilized for safe and private online transactions.
  4. OpenBazaar: Although it runs on top of the public internet, OpenBazaar can also be regarded as a component of the Dark Web. It makes use of blockchain technology to provide a peer-to-peer marketplace where users may transact with one another directly without the involvement of middlemen. Due to its decentralized structure, OpenBazaar resists censorship and takedown attempts.

These services, like Tor, give further levels of anonymity and privacy, making it challenging for authorities to monitor users’ actions. It’s crucial to keep in mind, meanwhile, that using the Dark Web and its related services exposes users to unauthorized and potentially hazardous information and activities. When utilizing such platforms, caution and respect to legal and ethical rules should always be practiced.

Note that we don’t promote or support any illegal activities. We only inform internet users about the dangers of the dark web. We highly advise not to click on any suspicious links.

 
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Harper Stewart

With a deep understanding of the complexities of the Dark Web, Harper curates informative and thought-provoking content for our readers. Her knowledge of the hidden corners of the internet and cybersecurity helps shed light on the often mysterious and illicit activities that take place in this realm.