10 Steps in Learning About Inside the Dark Web
Many people have heard of the dark web (aka dark net) as a part of the internet that contain a criminal element of society. This is absolutely true, and unless you are researching or are a portion of that criminal base, most don’t even try to access it. Unlike the standard web, the dark web isn’t visible through standard search engines and can only be reached by using “Tor,” an anonymizing browser. In using this browser you will be introduced to some of the worst of human activity.
1. Read What the Researchers Say
In 2019, University of Surrey’s Dr. Michael McGuires did a study called “Into the Web of Profit.” His research compared dark web information from 2016 to show that there has been a 20% increase in dark web listings that could cause harm to enterprises with a total of 60% of all of the listings that offered potential harm to enterprises.
2. The Dark Web is Home to Hackers
Many of the hosts of cybercrime exist on the dark web. It’s here that they feel safe selling, exchanging or just offering for free the various tools of the cybercrime trade. A report called “Into the Web of Profit” identified the 12 most prominent tools used in data hacking and network breaches:
· Access, including remote access Trojans (RATs), keyloggers and exploits
· Espionage, including services, customization and targeting
· Support services such as tutorials
· Customer data
· Operational data
· Financial data
· Intellectual property/trade secrets
· Other emerging threats
3. What Kind of Crime is On the Net?
Before you decide to jump in and be curious, be prepared to know what you will be getting involved with. The dark web is host to all manner of illegal and immoral activities including the sale of stolen credit card numbers, guns, all types of drugs, credentials to login to Bank of America accounts, hacked streaming accounts, prepaid debit cards, and counterfeit money. Everything is for sale.
4. Not Everything is Bad
The anonymity of the dark web is an attraction to many and while a majority of the content is heavily criminal, there are some areas that are legitimate. It may be surprising to find that the dark net has its own social media network that is similar to Facebook called BlackBook and there are even chess clubs that you can join.
5. Accessing can be Dangerous
The dark web has a lot of tech geeks and if you try to access without protecting yourself, you can leave yourself open for attack. Anyone that uses the dark web makes use of a VPN in combination with the encrypted Tor browser.
6. The Dark Web is disorganized
We are accustomed to browsing the standard web with a semblance of organization that makes things easy to read. However, the dark web is chaotic, messy and disorganized, making it difficult to navigate.
7. Website Names are Different
Although the appearance of the sites on the dark web are somewhat the same, they are named completely differently. Instead of url endings such as .com, .org, or .co, dark web site uses the url ending in .onion. They also have names that are nonsensical, using a combination of alpha and numeric characters instead of actual names.
8. No One Knows who Anyone Is
Unlike legitimate businesses that have registered owners, the anonymity of the dark web means that everyone is anonymous and a lot are there to scam and make a profit.
9. The Dark Web is Slow
No matter what speed your net connection is or who you use as a provider, the dark web is insanely slow. This adds another layer of frustration.
10. Repetitions, Time Outs, 404 Errors
Doing a query on the dark web can lead to a lot of repetitious results, connection time outs, and 404 Errors.
My advice is that “being forewarned is forearmed, and the dark web is not a place that I advise anyone should go. Being aware of the dark web through information and education can be enlightening and also help to protect those that are even thinking about venturing there.”