INTERNET FEATURE: How dark is the '˜Dark Web?'

We've all heard of the dark net, the normal internet's evil twin. A place where wicked endeavour thrives; drugs, weapons, counterfeit money and stolen information are some of the more milder products up for grabs on the dark web.

Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 11:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:25 am

The internet’s under beally was made famous by Silk Road; the first modern dark net market of our time and for them it’s still very much business as usual, as I write.

Now, before I begin – should this article rouse a blazing curiosity and you feel you absolutely must visit the dark web, please be extremely cautious in your approach. ONLY visit the dark net if you know what you’re doing.

A lack of experience could lead to serious consequences for an amateur user such as becoming victim to a scam, or exposing your identity to a hacker (at the very least!)

So what exactly is the ‘dark web?’ Put simply, the dark web is an unindexed part of the internet that can’t be accessed by search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo! – specifically crafted to assure anonymity, you can only access the dark net by using ‘Tor’ browser

To understand the dark web, you must first understand ‘Tor.’

The U.S military first released ‘Tor’ in the mid 1990’s, a technology that allowed intelligence operatives to communicate anonymously.

It stands for ‘The Onion Router’ and it was released into the public domain as a strategy to create noise on the dark web.

If government agencies were the only ones who communicated across such channels, their information could be easily identified and intercepted – you can’t be anonymous alone!

Contrary to popular belief, the dark net isn’t totally saturated with nefarious engagements and it does serve purpose for innocent pursuit.

The rationale behind the dark web wasn’t to weaponize a cyber wild west, but rather provide anonymity as functionality.

You see, internet anonymity can be vital for people in countries subject to targeted surveillance such as those who face punishment for accessing basic online resources. Whilst the dark net is a hotbed for criminals, it’s a lifeline for others.

All the hype around the shady transactions associated with the dark web might lead you to believe that navigating the marketplaces is easy . . . .

I can tell you it’s not.

‘Tor’ works like magic to render your IP address untraceable but, as a result it’s unpredictable, messy and painfully slow.

Believe it or not – the dark net’s success has been somewhat attributed to good service.

The marketplaces are ruled by the one thing that always ensures a job gets done, money.

Not only does it provide anonymity, but hackers, hitmen and cartels really know how to look after their customers.

Users also have the option to leave reviews on vendors; think of it as the amazon for questionable characters except you pay in cryptocurrency such as BitCoin, Monero or Ethereum

The thing about browsing the dark web on Tor is, once you delete the browser from your machine all your browsing history and darknet activity goes with it.

‘Tor’ is a self-contained package and offers a very quick clean-up.

A forensic analysis can merely prove Tor was on a computer system and not what it was actually used for.

So, you’ve heard of the dark web? What about Mariana’s web? Suitably named after the deepest trench in the ocean. A deeper, darker version of the web yet again . . . .

This level of the internet is only rumoured to exist and is alleged to be far beyond the dark web – a place that no one has successfully reached.

It’s supposedly only accessible through the use of quantum computing and a type of math more difficult than I can bare attempting to try and comprehend.

What lurks in the trenches in of mariana’s web is a mystery; some disregard the notion as nothing more than an urban myth whilst others are convinced it holds the murkiest secrets in the history of humanity.

I’ll let you decide for yourself . . . .

In the next feature we’ll take a look at what I found after a week’s fishing on the dark web.

So, don’t forget to grab your next copy on December 18th to continue our tour through the internet’s worst neighbourhoods.