Taking a Deep Dive into the Dark Web
Much like jumping into a pool for the first time, most people begin their lives online by slowly sliding into the shallow end of the pool. Sites like Wikipedia, Facebook, and Google are easy enough to come by. And with an email client and a good search engine almost everyone’s information needs will be met. For those willing to dive a little deeper, however, there is a huge amount of information available online that isn’t monitored by search engines and isn’t readily available to those who don’t know how to look. The “deep end” of the Internet is known as the Dark Web, but it’s not as easily accessible as the deep end of the pool.
The first thing that’s required to get to most of the Deep Web is anonymity. This is often accomplished by using a tool like TOR, which is a special proxy server which sends a request bouncing through a series of other nodes before finally exiting at an arbitrary point to get the data that was requested. Each bounce adds a layer of anonymity, and with enough bounces privacy is almost guaranteed.
From there, many parts of the dark web can be accessed, as their browsing is often restricted to those using something like TOR. Private chat rooms can be found, restricted online marketplaces are open, peer-to-peer networking is available for media sharing, and virtually anything else.
Obviously, this has the potential to be abused by anyone looking for a way to market illicit substances or materials. Recently a drug trafficking ring known as the Silk Road was busted and shut down by law enforcement. This sort of activity on the Dark Web isn’t the only thing that it’s used for, and while there are many communities and content available there, the only key to all of that information is the knowledge that the network that you’re looking for even exists, and which tools you’ll need to find them.