What is the Dark Web: The Dark Web is only a small fraction (0.01%) of the Deep Web, which contains Internet content that is not searchable by your standard search engines. In some ways, this corner of the Internet gets a bad name, and research has shown that many of the darkest things supposedly happening on the dark web have been exaggerated.
What is the Dark Web
It’s well-known that many people, mainly the younger generation, go there to buy illegal substances that they may have otherwise procured on the street. It’s also well known that people with strange inclinations visit this place to chat with others that share their fascination with what we might call the more eccentric aspects of life. If you’ve seen our shows on the dark web, you’ll know that finding them is not hard at all. The question is, should you go there?
It’s said that only around 10 percent of the Internet is the Internet as we know it, meaning the part we can all access. Much of the rest of the Internet we call the Deep Web, which is just the part of the World Wide Web that is not indexed by search engines such as Google.
Difference between Deep Web and Dark Web
It’s a common mistake to think the dark web and the deep web are the same. The dark web is just a small part of the deep web. Many people give the example of an iceberg. The bit at the top that we can see is the Internet as we know it. The main part that lies under the water is the deep web and the dark web is just a very small part at the very bottom of the iceberg. This is naturally where people go when they don’t want to be found. That might be because they have a store there selling the aforementioned illegal substances, or it might just be because they are living in a country that has very oppressive laws on speech.
How to Access Dark Web
On the dark web, you’ll find sites that end with .onion. These websites are not accessible using your regular browser. But you can easily download the Tor browser and before you can say where am I you’ll be on the dark web. Here you should have complete anonymity.
Ok, so the question is, should you go there? Well, firstly you should know that the dark web of course is of interest to authorities. Illegal things happen there, so we can expect authorities to keep an eye on the place. You should also know that the Tor browser has vulnerabilities. With this in mind, you might ask just how safe is your anonymity?
We might also ask if there are other reasons why you should not visit the dark web, reasons more related to you finding things you probably shouldn’t have found. With the latter concern in mind, we looked at Reddit and Quora posts containing people talking about negative experiences on the dark web. We can’t vouch for the honesty of the posts, but indeed there are people out there who
said they came across things in the dark web they wish they would have never seen.
One person on Quora wrote, “I browsed the dark web for well over half a year before a horrible experience made me quit.” That experience sounded very nasty, and it’s not something we want to recount here. Let’s just say that it involved a video of someone being hurt. Now, others say this kind of thing is very unusual even for the dark web, but we must remember that it does happen because an Australian man was put in prison for making such videos.
Unless you are sick to the bone, this is not the kind of thing one wants to see in life, so we can say that one reason not to go into the dark web might be because out of curiosity you see something you might not ever be able to forget. Another person who used the dark web said he looked at forums where he found what he called weird stuff. By that he meant people talking about hurting others, discussing gore, and talking about depraved things such as wanting to eat people. And yet another person said he witnessed what he called a very creepy video. He said there were about 50 people watching this video, again relating to someone being hurt – in this case not very hurt but still not something most people would want to see – and many of the folks watching this video were making what he called “obscene comments.”
We looked at another website called DarkWebNews.com. It told us that many people access the dark web without using the Tor browser. It said this can be done using websites such as “Tor2Web” and “Onion2web”. The problem here is that you are exposed, and this puts you at risk of being hacked. Other than that, many people do use the Tor browser but they don’t use a VPN. The problem here is that Tor has been cracked a few times and if that happens your URL can be seen.
But the big thing to remember, according to that same expert, is don’t think that what you are doing on the dark web is legal. That person says, “If you’re viewing a site on the dark web for any reason from actually desiring to acquire those products or services to just wanting to quench your thirst for knowledge on the subject, know that you may be held liable for what you come across.” With that in mind, have people been arrested for using the dark web?
Well, in 2018 the U.S. media reported that authorities had made a huge bust of people selling illegal things on the dark web. Engadget tells us those authorities, “announced the first-ever national-level undercover bust of dark web outfits selling drugs, weapons and other contraband.”
Now, perhaps you had visited some of those sites that got taken down. Again, it was just out of curiosity, but if they could find the owners of the sites what’s to bet you could have been exposed. It’s just not something you want to happen to you, and it might not matter that you went to those sites innocently.
Other websites tell us that the FBI and police from all over the world are regularly inside the dark web. Sometimes they go undercover and manage to find the address where parcels are delivered.
The Indian media tells us that arrests were made in 2017 by the Mumbai Anti Narcotics Cell when some boys had ordered LSD from the dark web. Arrests have also been made of the sellers.
In one such case in the UK a bunch of students at Manchester University was arrested after making a fortune on the dark web selling illegal substances. The Guardian wrote, “Thee gang, who compared themselves to the Breaking Bad character, Walter White, included undergraduates studying pharmacology, computer science, petrochemical engineering, geology, and marketing.”
Police in the UK said buying your stuff on the dark web carries more risk than buying on the streets because if your purchase came from abroad you could be said to be an importer. The police also added that mail services in the UK are getting very good at spotting packages containing such substances.
Ok, so let’s say you have no intention of reading or viewing gruesome content or procuring a dozen MDMA pills or some such stimulant. But then we might ask why you are on the dark web in the first place. Perhaps you have a legitimate reason in that you want to discuss a sensitive issue about yourself, or you are a whistleblower or an at-risk activist. In that case, go ahead and get down with the dark web.
But if you don’t have those sorts of reasons one could argue that using the it is not worth the risk. Motherboard wrote in 2016 that authorities have developed very sophisticated ways of finding people on the dark web. As we said, sometimes they are undercover.
The FBI has been known to sell weapons on the it, and who knows where they might be lurking. The motherboard also tells us that the FBI set up one hack wherein when a user clicked on a link that was supposed to take them to an unseemly illegal image, that person’s IP address became known to the FBI.
What if you have just clicked on that link by accident? What if your curiosity just got the better of you? As part of the operation, the FBI harvested over 1000 US-based IP addresses, and Europol generated 3,229 of its own cases,” wrote Motherboard.
That article tells us police units in many countries now have dedicated task forces concentrating on the web, so you might ask if you really want to be there. Maybe you went there already and did something illegal. Well, we are told that when police make an arrest of a vendor or someone doing something illegal, they often collect IP addresses of people who had connected with that person or persons.