What Is The Dark Web?
We hear it mentioned often, but What is the Dark Web? At CLARK, we put a great deal of effort into making everyone aware of cybersecurity threats on the internet. The Dark Web is where cybercriminals conspire to make attacks against people and businesses. Not only do attacks start there, but when your data is stolen, it is typically sold on the Dark Web, sometimes as part of a dataset, but most often to the highest bidder.
Most of us have no need to access the Dark Web – and it’s far safer to stay away – but knowledge is power and curiosity killed the cat. Okay, enough with the idioms. This blog is for those who want to learn about the Dark Web and the risk-takers among us who might want to see it for themselves. Before going anywhere near it, we want to make sure you’re aware of the threats that live within and around the Dark Web because that’s what we do.
IS THE DARK WEB THE SAME AS THE DEEP WEB?
The part of the internet that you access with your regular everyday browser is just the tip of the iceberg for all the information available. This section of the internet is called the Surface Web and makes up only a tiny percentage of the data on the internet.
The vast majority of internet content lives in the Deep Web. Data stored here is not discoverable by a standard search engine. Most sites on the Deep Web don’t hold threats – it is made up of encrypted or password-protected data. These sites could include your online bank account, Facebook, and even your Netflix account.
The biggest differentiator between the Surface Web and the Deep Web is that any site that requires a login portal, form, or other security protocol to enter a site belongs to the Deep Web.
While the Dark Web is a part of the Deep Web, it requires specific encryption to ensure anonymity for users and their locations. This is why criminals flock to the dark web to make illegal transactions.
HOW DO YOU GET TO THE DARK WEB?
The Dark Web is, unfortunately, much easier to access than many people think. All you need is a Tor Browser, which can be downloaded with a simple Google Search. In many ways, this browser is similar to those we all use every day, except that it doesn’t have a built-in search engine. That’s right, no Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex, or whatever other search engine you prefer. With a Tor Browser, you have to know the address to each page you want to access.
Be wary, though – just accessing the Dark Web comes with risk. Cybercriminals prey on newbies to the Dark Web, hiding malware and ransomware everywhere. Links, photos, code snippets, and documents are all pitfalls to get those not familiar with the attacks. The risk is significant enough that we recommend staying away from the Dark Web.
If you absolutely must see it for yourself, do some research first and only go to sites known to be safe. You will also want to protect yourself with a reliable VPN before installing Tor. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, concealing your IP address from those looking for targets to attack. You should also install reliable and updated security software before using the Dark Web to be safe.
That being said, be aware that just accessing the Dark Web could draw unwanted attention from your local ISP or government.
WHAT WOULD I DO ON DARK WEB?
Chances are, the risks of using the Dark Web are much greater than any reward we’ll receive from it. In short, if you don’t already have a reason to be there, stay away. The Dark Web is abused by criminals who use its anonymity and encryption to veil their illegal activities in the Black Marketplace.
Unsurprisingly, many Black Marketplaces can be found on the Dark Web selling various products, including drugs, illegal weaponry, and fake legal documents. Among the most popular products on these marketplaces are malware and ransomware kits, stolen credentials, and hacked data sets filled with our information. There is even a thing called, Ransomware as a Service (RaaS). It is precisely what it sounds like – a service where ransomware software can be rented to an individual in exchange for a commission to the seller.
ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS OF THE DARK WEB?
We know that the Dark Web benefits criminals, but there are some reasons for others to use it. The privacy and anonymity provides a space for journalists and whistleblowers to work together with minimal risks of being discovered. Additionally, those living under oppressive governments who censor their citizens can use it to access news sources and outlawed educational materials.
If you have any questions about the Dark Web or protecting yourself from these or other cybersecurity risks, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 301-456-6931 or email us at [email protected]
Being raised by Clark’s owner, Darren, I have always been immersed in the world of technology. However, I have always followed it from a distance. I went to college to get my degree in Business Finance and Applied Economics, as I have always been a fan of research and statistics. I was even lucky enough to get my senior thesis in economics published. My next string of luck was getting a job straight out of college as a Researcher in Richmond, VA. I was able to pursue research and publish dozens of news articles in my field. Now, I am so excited to delve back into the world of technology that I was raised in, and look forward to honing my research in the technological field.