The Darknet is the Internet’s Hangout for Outlaws

BY:

Jun 3, 2016

You run a reputable business. Your online presence is a nicely designed website with a cache of great keywords and agile ad words. When the web crawler spider comes crawling, you get a high position on the results page inviting anyone to click and visit. However, what if your product was pirated films or pornography that mainstream porno sites wouldn’t touch with a…you know?

Darknet

There actually was a website that sold illegal drugs. Until the FBI shut it down and arrested its founder, it had raked in over $1.2 billion. The site name is Silk Road, but don’t bother trying to gain entry with your current browser. Silk Road traveled in the Darknet– and you can’t get there from here without a browsing tool known as ToR or through password-protected forums.

What is the Darknet?

The Internet your business uses every day is but a fraction of the entire worldwide web. The Darknet is where people go to interact—buy, sell, plot—in total anonymity.

The Darknet, according to BatBlue, a cloud security company, has anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 sites. Those sites are at hidden locations, further protected by encryption and virtual private networks.

What is ToR?

ToR is the abbreviation for The Onion Router. It is a technology that gives Darknet surfers the anonymity (and security from detection) they seek. The technology, like the Internet itself, is the brain child of the military—the U.S. Navy in the instant case—which, in the mid-1990s, developed its encryption to hide military communications.

Using a ToR web-based browser, the user’s communications bounce off multiple ToR servers before they reach their destination. That makes it pretty much impossible for anyone to trace Darknet traffic. Also, ToR hides websites and applications using strings of random characters, followed by the “.onion” domain name.

What is on the Darknet?

As mentioned previously, the Darknet is the marketplace for a lot of illegal substances, services, and private communications by people with sinister or violent intentions. A virtual black market, with the tools available today, Darknet remains highly resistant to government regulation or law enforcement.

The Bright Side of the Darknet

While the Darknet is a haven for hanky-panky, it does offer a protection for free speech, especially in countries that don’t operate under their version of the First Amendment. The Darknet is also home to many services providing secure messaging and file sharing.

Should You Go Slumming on the Darknet?

The Darknet is the equivalent of the Wild West, and its preferred currency is Bitcoins—also anonymous and irretrievable in case of theft. Considering the types that skulk there—scammers, hackers, weapons dealers, etc.—it’s best to steer clear. The mainstream surface web has all the services any reputable person needs.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for absolute security in communications and guaranteed anonymity, a trip to the Darknet with due consideration and care might be in order.

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