What is DarkNet? How to access it and what you can find in it? Here is a compendium on the dark side of the internet, i.e. anonymous forums, stores and blogs that not everyone has access to. You won’t find them in ordinary search engines. We checked what DarkNet is and how to get there.
What is DarkNet?
DarkNet, or Dark Web, is the collective name given to the dark side of the internet. It consists mainly of anonymous discussion forums, websites, e-commerce stores and blogs. They are distinguished from traditional websites by the fact that you will not find them in generally available search engines or by directly entering their addresses in the browser.
It is a true underground internet that not everyone has access to. The websites or services operating there are most often only transferred between initiated persons. Searching for such sites is also possible through dedicated browsers, for example by Grams or Tor, but even in this way we will not get to all places in this virtual space.
The mere use of DarkNet is not illegal. Browsing these sites is fully allowed, but at this point the line between legal and illegal activities is blurred, so be very careful.
This place can even be compared to the shadow economy, where illegal products are traded or tax obligations are avoided. The information about the dark side of the Internet got to the general awareness after the 2016 attack in Munich, when it turned out that the perpetrator of the shooting had purchased a gun in one of the stores in the DarkNet space.
How to enter the DarkNet?
How to use DarkNet resources? If you are thinking about surfing the dark side of the web, it is worth downloading and installing the Tor browser. Although it looks very similar to classic browsers, its tasks are completely different.
How to fully use the potential of the Tor infrastructure? First of all, we shouldn’t torrent with it, because this way you can reveal your IP and lose anonymity. Also, do not provide any data, including email addresses.
It is much better to set up dedicated and anonymous mailboxes with providers such as Mail2Tor or TorBox. Websites published in the Darknet space cannot be found in official services, but there are specially prepared catalogs that will help us navigate.
One of the oldest and largest directories is The Hidden Wiki. You can also use the Liberty Wiki, which is heavily moderated, so there are far fewer dubious links there. Currently, one of the four browsers from the list is recommended for surfing the Dark Web: Tor Search, Tor Find, TORCH, Grams.
DarkNet – what can you find in it?
DarkNet is a virtual space where you can buy almost anything. Buyers and sellers are anonymous. As a result, DarkNet is used on a large scale by criminals and people who want to avoid tax obligations.
You can find, among others, basic products or home accessories, including electronic equipment, jewelry, furniture and precious metals. We are never sure where our data goes and whether the product will finally reach us. In addition, we usually do not have any warranty for it.
Dark Web is a place where there are also products considered illegal. There you will find shops that offer illegal weapons and drugs. They are used by criminals and terrorists, including the aforementioned Munich bomber.
There is also illegal trade in organs and counterfeit money in the DarkNet. Other banned products for sale include illegal books, counterfeit ID cards and fixed sports matches. This is only part of the wide range that is sold there.
Dark Web is not only online stores, but also forums and blogs on suspicious topics. You can find extremist blogs or websites that incite violence there. You will also find websites with child pornography and with information that, for the sake of citizens, should not be made available on the open Internet or in the mainstream media. It is a very dangerous part of the Internet.
The Positive Aspects of the Darknet
Paradoxically, the Darknet is not only a dangerous space. If properly used by users and services, it can also have its benefits. Users can remain anonymous, which is why Facebook also has its site there. Why?
In countries such as China, the use of this medium is prohibited, so citizens of the PRC, wishing to stay in touch with the network and the outside world, must use the Tor browser. In this respect, a skilfully used darkweb can be a great opportunity for people who live in authoritarian countries on a daily basis and could face serious repressions for using open channels of communication. This applies not only to China, but also to countries such as North Korea and Belarus.
There are many suspicious people and criminals in the DarkNet space. In order to enforce law, the dark side of the Internet is being monitored more and more closely by the intelligence services. According to statistics, in 2012 alone, about 1,000 pedophiles and people distributing child pornography were caught thanks to this method.
The skillful use of the Darknet by the services can be considered a positive thing, but a much greater benefit would be the complete elimination of this element of virtual space or its sanctioning.
There is also content in the Darknet that is 100% legal. It is estimated that up to half of the resources made available in this space are fully legal and safe files. There are also classic discussion forums, blogs, databases and news sites.
Access to them is not generally available, so only privileged people who will be invited to them have it. As a result, the exclusivity of these sites increases, and people surfing the legal part of the darknet remain anonymous and safe.
Deep Web and the DarkNet
We already know what characterizes the DarkNet. So what does the term Deep Web mean? It is the body of information and Internet resources that are not available from the level of traditional search engines. The functioning of the Deep Web can be compared to a private zone in a city.
This is a place to which only selected people have access and is guarded against unauthorized individuals. Similar rules apply to the deep part of the Internet, which is known as the Deep Web.
Why is there? First of all, it helps to maintain the anonymity of users and allows you to share content with a narrow audience. Such sites are not officially indexed by bots.
The Deep Web includes any place that is not open access. This means that an element of this space is also subscription content, access to which is only possible after entering a password or paying a subscription.
In short, it can be considered that the words Deep Web mean all content that cannot be found with an open browser or cannot be opened due to the lack of a password or purchased license.
Part of the extensive Deep Web structures is also the aforementioned DarkNet. It enters directly into the collection of hidden content and is a largely dangerous phenomenon that was created on the basis of the Deep Web. This is the biggest difference between them. The Deep Web collection is much larger, and the DarkNet is simply part of it.
The dangers of the DarkNet
It is an interesting and very dangerous place. What dangers should we face? First of all, in this space there are many cybercriminals who want to steal our data. The hacking threat is one of the main threats we should consider.
DarkNet is also dangerous in terms of making transactions. We are never sure whether we are buying from a trusted person and whether the goods will finally reach us. In addition, we do not have any purchase confirmation, making us an easy target for the tax authorities.
What is forbidden also attracts younger, less aware users. This is another threat. We should make every effort to ensure that minors do not have access to the dark side of the Internet, where there is a lot of prohibited content, including violence and child pornography.
And what do you think about the darknet and the dangers associated with it? In your opinion, is the dark side of the internet an advantage or a potential problem?