Knitting the DARK Web

Kavya Muralidharan
5 min readJan 13, 2021

How dark is DARK?

Hey, so here you are! You must have entered a keyword that led you all the way to this Medium page, and probably, you think you’re the only one in your room reading this. Then, you’re mistaken!

Every time you browse something online, your activity is tracked, recorded, and traced even if you go incognito, by your very search engine. Now, what does this activity mean? Well, it includes pages you’ve visited, videos that you watch, and they compile your browsing behaviour to generate an accurate profile of you. Sounds like an intrusion, huh? Well, this is not the end to it!

You’re being watched! | Source: Pexels

This article aims to introduce you to the different facets of the Internet. What does this article cover? Right from what led to anonymous browsing to finding their benefits, we take a deep dive into the dark web!

To have a secret pathway of communication for the officials in the NRL (Naval Research Laboratory), the US federal government created a new technology termed as TOR (The Onion Router), which uses onion routing over the Internet. Networks using this technology are classified as DARKNET!

Source: Unsplash

The US government can’t simply run an anonymity system for everybody and then, use it themselves only. Everytime a connection came from it, people would say, “ Oh, it’s another CIA agent looking at my website” if those are the only people using the network so that they blend together.

The above were the lines from the speech by the Co-founder and Director of the TOR project, Roger Dingledine. He implies that making the Dark Net open for all would enable people from the public domains to use it for purposes that favour anonymity. This way, it will be hard for the commoners to distinguish the government’s messages from thousands of other messages. Anonymity attracted a huge crowd, who wanted to keep their identity undercover for several reasons that we shall not dig out here.

Iceberg theory | Source: Unsplash

This massive population became a parasite on the Web that hosts it. Many websites and webpages reside in the deeper end of the Web, which can never be accessed by the search engines. Due to its nature of hiding and creating a delusion to users, the Web is compared to an iceberg whose original depth remains unknown.

Classifications of the Web

  1. Surface Web
    All the publicly viewable pages on the Internet, which can be crawled across by search engines such as Google, Safari, Bing, etc., comprise the Surface Web. But, they only form the tip of the Web iceberg we’re talking about.
  2. Deep Web
    All the hidden services that prevent being tracked by a search engine and other message transfer forums come under the Deep Web. For example, a personal blog that is not yet published is a part of the Deep Web. But, they are also the pages that are not indexed by your search engines and hence, not visible to you. In simple terms, you don’t have the password to enter this deep domain through a mere search engine like Google.
  3. Dark Web
    This is slightly different from the Deep Web and is a fraction of the pages found on it. These include pages that are not indexed by your search engine but additionally, they also need a specific authorization and software to be permitted entry into it. It is managed by organizations that want messages definite to them to persist in their zone.
Dark Web | Source: Pixabay

Why Dark Web?

Do you know that Facebook operates a dark web that allows only users to access it via TOR anonymity software?

Other websites that provide hidden services are DuckDuckGo, Silk Road, Ricochet and many more. They all need specific software that encrypts and establishes a connection with another computer on the dark network.

Silk Road | Source: Pexels

Since anonymity attracts a wide variety of people, the Dark Web can be used for both licit and illicit purposes. One of the many forbidden, hidden services includes The Silk Road, one of the Internet’s biggest markets for illegal drugs and other services. Circulating news on the drugs sold at this website brought this website out of the darkness of the TOR network. The website went defunct, and it didn’t take long for another version of the same website to appear in place, and the spiral continues. Seems too shady?

Among such evils, the benefits of the Dark Web remain unexplored. But, you need to secure your personal life from the progressive technology that is slowly curbing every inch of your privacy.

  • Nothing that you do can be tracked by anyone, not even your network administrator. There exist no cookies to track your activity, and hence, your banking history and passwords will never get recorded.
Source: Pixabay
  • Most of the websites keep changing their URLs or their contents and hence, dynamic in nature. The Facebook feed keeps changing too when you access its .onion page.
  • Since the software communicates in a different algorithm and uses unique encryption methods, they cannot be revealed easily by anyone and everyone on the Web. However, they are brazenly existent on the internet and require secret handshakes to establish any connection.
Source: Unsplash
  • When faced with oppression and censorship, people from repressed regimes like China find their way to communicate with people from other parts of the world and learn about the whereabouts of things happening worldwide.

Well, I hope this article gave you a good insight into the dark side of the web that comprises a group of nefarious activities. Let’s not be mistaken, there does exist numerous pros to the Dark Web, and it is crucial we understand how our privacy can be kept private! Through this article, I only recommend you to explore the pros of this side of the web.

If this article was useful and if you felt that it delineated the hidden web's important aspects, please clap and share this article with your loved ones! Stay tuned to catch up on more such content!

--

--