Published: 26/06/2020

Dark Web

Dark web definition

The dark web is the section of the internet that is intentionally and securely hidden from view. Although mostly perceived as bad, the dark web allows people to communicate freely in countries where freedom of speech is limited.

Dark web vs deep web

The dark web is a part of the deep web, which consists of unindexable pages. It hosts numerous hidden services (websites) that can be accessed only with specific software designed to protect users’ anonymity. Dark Web sites cannot be located or seen in search engine results or listed in any directory, and they are often accessible only through the use of special browsers such as Tor network.

Things you can find on the dark web

The dark web is a section of the internet that is intentionally and securely hidden from view. Although mostly perceived as bad, the dark web allows people to communicate freely in countries where freedom of speech is limited. It’s so large that it can be used for many different things from research to illegal activity such as drug dealing. Information that you can find on the dark web includes:

  • Illegal drugs and weapons
  • Illegal pornography
  • Hacking software or tools
  • Copyrighted material or media
  • Online auction sites for stolen goods and fake documents (such as social security numbers, passports, and credit cards)

Name origin of the dark web

Web designers use dark colors on web pages to make them appear darker. The dark web is often referred to as the invisible internet and is simply a form of some internet content that requires specific software or authorization for illumination.

How is dark web structured

Just as the Internet has domains such as .com, .net, and .org that denote specific websites or IP addresses, dark websites have their own domain names to make them easily identifiable for visitors. Depending upon who created it, the website name can be anything from a random string of numbers and letters to something meaningful. For example, Duck Duck Go is a search engine based in Pennsylvania that is popular on the dark web.

Websites hosted on the dark web appear on a public, internet-facing IP address, but resolving their domain name or locating them on a map requires specific resources and skills. This safeguards normal internet users from accidentally accessing these sites and being exposed to illegal activities.

The most common method used to access dark web content is through an anonymizing service. With this type of software, cybercriminals are able to browse the web without revealing their location, identity, or IP address. To ensure anonymity on the dark web, hackers only connect through these special sites using virtual private networks (VPN) and encryption software.

How does dark web content look like?

The dark web is a place where even the most sought-after of information can be found. To access it, you need to use specific search engines and not those that are well known like Google. The result will show links to domains hosted in the dark web without any ads or censorship.

URLs Of the dark web – .onion URLs

The dark web consists of websites that have various extensions such as .onion, .i2p, and .cab. Some private forums or message boards use a unique URL for every user, but most dark net sites will make use of one that has an address similar to “”. However, this is not the case with hidden services using Tor software. You’ll see an address that resembles “http://3s6yqdfj637zgca7tpr4uvmxci5expa5ozi7kvbtxpcsqwuwkhn.onion” instead of something more familiar like “”.

What is an .onion URL?

An .onion address is a special URL that is used specifically for accessing sites on the dark web. Since these sites cannot be found through traditional search engines, any content hidden behind this domain will not appear in their search results either. Hence, .onion addresses are created to conceal the identity of both websites and users who access them. All websites hosted under .onion extensions are precisely designed to keep users’ activities confidential and anonymous.

How dark web is evolving

Cybercriminals are using the dark web more than ever before in order to market their wares while ensuring they remain completely anonymous. The growth of this marketplace is occurring rapidly and there are even search engines that can easily be used to locate illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband. It’s important for law enforcement agencies to adopt strategies in order to monitor what’s happening on the dark web.

Frequently asked questions about the dark web

  • What is the dark web? The dark web is a network of websites that exist on an encrypted network to protect your privacy.
  • Can anybody access it? No, only people using an anonymizer tool can enter .onion sites.
  • How do you access the dark web? To access the dark web you’ll have to use special software such as Tor or I2P.
  • Is the dark web legal? No, many of these hidden sites offer illegal content or services that are banned by governments around the globe, including copyright infringement sites where you can get your hands on paid content for free.
  • Who uses it? The dark web was once considered to be a haven for cybercriminals and hackers looking to conduct illegal activities like selling drugs, weapons or stolen data. However, it is now being used by activists living under oppressive regimes who want to speak freely and whistleblowers trying to expose government wrongdoings.

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