Have you ever gone through the words ‘Deep Web’ or ‘Dark Web’? Mostly, we hear these words in popular spy movies and TV shows. It is the term that is used to describe a collection of websites that are visible but actually hidden from the general public. These websites keep their IP addresses as secret and make it impossible to identify who is behind the screen.
You think that you can find them through the standard browsers such as Chrome and Firefox? No, not at all. They are not even indexed on Google or Yahoo.
So, people can buy anything illegal from many of these websites. You can buy a gun or a kilo of marijuana from Mexico. You can hire a killer or even buy yourself a fake identity. The Deep Web is a dark place and lets us find out what goes on in there.
How Does It Work?
Almost all, every website in the Dark Web uses an encryption tool called TOR. This TOR acts a browser to these websites. So, many of these websites have a .tor domain which means you cannot access through regular browsers. TOR is also known as Onion Routing because the Internet is much like an onion and has many layers.
Tor or Onion Routing is free software that was developed by the United States Naval Research Lab for anonymous communication.
For your information, there are around 8 million websites on the Internet from all over the world. One of the shocking and interesting facts is that “traffic to websites like Facebook, Google, Amazon and any other page that uses HTTPS or .com as a domain, only contributes to only 4% of web content on the internet and the remaining 96% of the digital universe is mostly present in the Deep Web. These websites are protected by passwords and even cannot be traced to their owners.
Not all Dark Websites in the Deep Web use TOR encryption, some websites like the all new Silk Road Reloaded use a similar service called I2P. Silk Road was a website for purchasing and selling recreational drugs. It was the first modern black market website that caught too much heat and the owner was arrested and imprisoned recently.
Why is it called Deep Web or Dark Web?
It feels exciting and scary talking about Dark Websites. Both the terms look like they are co-related but these terms tend to be different in definition. Deep Web is a term used for ALL websites that are present in the network including ‘Dark Web’ sites. Deep Web consists of all sorts of data which is boring and present for mundane reasons.
What Is The Dark Web And What Do They Do Here?
The Dark web, which is a part of the Deep Web, requires specialized tools and equipment to access. These websites are set deep underground. Because of its nature, we cannot possibly measure or determine how many websites actually exist with mischievous or hateful content. Here are few horrific websites.
Online Black Market Marketplaces:
In the Deep Web, mostly visited websites are marketplaces that sell illegal drugs, pharmaceutical products and pirated games. According to the web reports, the user base that visits these websites normally like to buy and sell the following drugs:
The Deep Web provides a platform for secrecy which is the best way of motivation people to engage in illegal activities. There is a cybercriminal underground and these activities can have drastic effects in the real world.
Ross William Ulbricht aka Dread Pirate Roberts, the founder of Silk Road was accused of money laundering, murder for hire, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic fraudulent identities and conspiracy to traffic narcotics. His website ‘Silk Road’ enabled people to sell all these services.
The availability of illegal drugs is easily accessible and varies on the Deep Web. Many of these websites sell cocaine, cannabis, and psychedelics amongst others.
There’s even a search engine called ‘Grams’ that guides and allows people to easily search Deep Web sites that sell illegal drugs. They had even mimicked the Google logo to set themselves apart from other competing websites.
Money Laundering and Counterfeiting:
In the Deep Web, people don’t need to use their credit card or debit card to buy products and you don’t even need PayPal for these services. There is a special and virtual currency called ‘Bitcoin’ which is the dominant mode of payment and it is a currency designed keeping anonymity in mind. It is the ideal currency for illegal activities which is out of control of banks and governments.
There are few services on the Deep Web which makes even harder for authorities to track your Bitcoin transactions. These services mix your Bitcoins through spidey networks and return them to you. Of course, they charge a small processing fee but this way it remains impossible to track.
Bitcoins can be exchanged for real cash; however, there is a wide availability of fake currency on the Deep Web. This fake cash is available to buy in bulk or per order basis. They are nearly identical to the real thing and are made of 100% Cotton Linen Paper, which is used in most paper money today. Most of these bills can be detected by an infrared scanner but that does not prevent people from buying or selling it. These websites offer $20 Bills for half the price and other websites also offer Euros and Yen.
“According to research by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the most popular items sold on the dark web are illegal drugs. MDMA and Marijuana are the most popular items sold, however, the sale of guns and other forms of weapons are catching up. There is a dedicated website called The Armory, where users can buy all kinds of illegal firearms and explosives. And get this; they ship it all over the world!”
These Dark Websites have made it hard for authorities to effectively monitor them and still becoming harder.
Passports and Citizenships:
When it comes to travel and citizenship benefits, owning an American or an EU passport is one of the most valuable assets. Being an American or an EU citizen certainly, has its perks. They act not only as a document that helps you cross borders but one can open bank accounts, apply for loans, purchase property and even get state benefits if you are a citizen of a specific country. Documents such as Passports and other powerful documents are faked and sold on the Dark Web.
In fact, the founder of Silk Road, Dread Pirate Roberts, was caught because he ordered dozens of Fake IDs on the deep web in order to hide his identity from the FBI. These fake IDs were caught by the FBI and showed how accurate these documents can be as the original.
Child pornography is present in stupendous quantity and it needs to stop. Just make sure you don’t click on that Twitter logo if you ever decide to explore the dark web.
Finally, the Deep Web was invented with the sole purpose of fulfilling the genuine need for freedom and secrecy. Civilians used it during the Egyptian crisis and it denotes that the Deep Web has far more use for good than evil.