Most people have heard about the dark web. However, a considerable number does not know what it englobes. Let’s give a brief introduction very “top level” introduction to these topics.
The part of the world wide web that we know from accessing it through standard web search engines is called surface web.
The deep web, invisible web or hidden web, is the part of the internet that is not indexed by standard web search engines and hidden behind HTTP forms. Not being indexed makes all it’s content not accessible through standard web search engines. It can be anything from internal corporate documents, customer or research data, databases, data behind firewalls, intranet, to password-protected data. To give you an idea, the size of the deep web is estimated to be over 90% of the entire internet (having a concrete number is impossible).
The term dark web or darknet refers to the content in darknets. Darknets are overlay networks created through software visualization, that run over the physical network. The most commonly known and used overlay networks are Tor (The Onion Router) and I2P (Invisible Internet Project). Darknets provide new applications and also security benefits. One such benefit is anonymity to access and interact with online content, which these networks get by using layered encryption. Another benefit of encryption are the services offered such as encryption email services. Entering the dark net cannot be done through regular web browser such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. A specific software, authorization or configuration that blocks your IP address is recommended too.
What most people know about the dark web are the illegal operations that take place here e.g. drug sale, sale of stolen data. However, it is also used as communicating space by actors such as journalists, activists, politically persecuted people and rebels against dictatorial regimes.
For some, cryptocurrencies are considered the “cash of the future”. This virtual currency gives holders and receivers anonymity. This asset is extremely valuable, particularly in today’s highly digitalized and connected world. It has long been “the partner in crime” of transactions in the Dark Web, since this currency does not link to any financial identity (such as banks), making virtual traces hard to link to a real-world identity (individual or collective). The decentralized control used in cryptocurrencies works through distributed ledger technology, mostly blockchain.