The dark side of the web
The information superhighway and the online network called internet is becoming the main source of the reliability to do our day to day task, the growing grid independent computer networks mark the new way of communication, just with the click like a swirl of a wizard. The ability of it to provide an amount of information at its fastest phase is not less than that of achieving a super power. But the thing is that the internet is not designed for the thing like anonymity and privacy in mind, so everything you do or say can and in many cases will be traced back to you.
As this was a serious concern for many at mid 90’s, and one such was United States federal government, so they setup team of computer scientist and mathematician working for the branch of “US NAVAL RESEARCH LABORATORY” or simply NRL began a development of new technology know as “ONION ROUTING”. It will allow for the anonymous bi-directional communication over the internet where the source and the destination cannot be determined by a midpoint, and this accomplished by creating something known as “OVERLAY NETWORKING”.
• What is an overlay network?. An overlay network is nothing but a network build on top another network in this case internet, so instead of using normal unencrypted internet also know as surface web the traffic moves from overlay network. There are many types of overlay networks, but the one using the onion routing is known as “DARKNET”.
So it was system created by the US for the anonymous communication, but there was a major limitation that the US government cannot run only for themselves as the people might simply know that it is the government who looking upon them if those are the only people using the network. So it had opened to everyone so as to keep them anonymous. In simple for a network to be anonymous it has to be for everyone, not just for the US government . This made the NRL forced to make the onion routing public. This technology was released with an open source license and this became ”Tor”.
It's the abbreviation “THE ONION ROUTER”And it is the software to need download to be able access this network of onion routing. Today, millions of people across the globe use it for multitude of purpose everything from their innocent daily browsing to criminal activities. While it is the most popular it is one among numerous dark net’s, together they all make up the “DARK WEB”. Subsequently the Dark Web is a small part of the Deep Web.
The Deep Web is everything on the web that cannot be indexed by the search engine,it is nothing like the Dark Web as most of us use the deep web all the time. As you can say that the deep web has lots more content than the Surface Web. It is so large as its very nature that we can only say that the deep web accounts for the vast majority of the world wide web.
So to summarize the surface web can’t be indexed by the search engines, the deep web have the content that cannot be indexed by the search engine, and the big daddy of all the Dark web is the fragment of the deep web which need special softwares and authorization to access.
So what do we find on the dark web more specifically Tor? As mentioned you can use tor for anything innocent browsing, watching YouTube contents etc, but the dark place in the part of the “HIDDEN SERVICES“. The hidden services are the services that can only be accessed by the Tor, and this service will be always end with “.ONION”. If attempted access this file from search engine says google chrome nothing happens, it only connects through the such as Tor. The Hidden wiki tells you about the all publicly available hidden services, such as DuckDuckGo etc. This shows the Dark web has its darker side, the anonymity attracted the vast majority of people for licit and non licit purposes. This involves from various online markets such as selling illegal drugs, ammunition etc. Unfortunately the dark web has the depraved and gruesome extreme, many websites have sexual and mental harassment of animals and child pornography are huge problems at dark web.
The dark net site known as LOLITA CITY which was taken by ANONYMOUS contains photos and videos of over 100 gigabytes of child pornography as of 2013. When the site was taken down and it had around 215,000 members and another site known as PLAYPEN is the largest child pornography website with over half a million members, though the effect of the FBI to take this site down always goes in vain as these people are non trackable and re-emerges again.
A recent study from early 2016 as found that out of 2,723 active content 1,547 uses the dark web for illicit content, that is over half this includes pornography, cyber terrorism, money laundering, contract killers, trading firearms and weapons etc. But only 3-6% user use this service as vast majority use exclusively for their privacy and surf web anonymously and have never visited a. ONION websites. While there is a no question the dark web contains some of the most horrific content on the entire dark web but it is never near extensive as some make it out to be.
Then how do we prevent criminals and still allowing lawful citizens still allowing them their privacy, the answer is quite simple we don’t, We cannot restrict something which is by nature meant to be unrestricted, that's the problem with the anonymity anyone can say or do anything, we have no choice tat to take the good with the bad, even the law enforcement has the ability to shut down it completely they wouldn’t, because the US government needs Tor as much as anyone.
As they created this technology and they didn’t release this technology to the public for free, it was only released to the public as public usage is the essential part of their anonymity. A government agent working undercover is as much need of an online anonymity as the terrorist, pedophile or a whistleblower.
It is everyone or no one that’s the unfortunate truth…!!