October 26, 2016

What is the Dark Web?

dark web (1)

So exactly what is the Dark Web? The submerged part of the iceberg, the scary part of the Internet — these are just some depictions of the so-called “Dark Web.”

Here’s an exploration what’s behind this part of the Web’s infamous reputation.

You might have heard some news or already read some articles online about the alleged criminal side of the Dark Web. Allegations suggest drug trading and an ongoing black market of illegal products like weapons and services. Gore, pornography, human trafficking – if you can name it the Dark Web probably has it.

But how is it possible with our generation living in the age of Internet?

What is the Dark Web and How Does it Work?

The Dark Web works under the radar of our trusty search engines. The websites in the Dark Web hide themselves in a cloak of anonymity that conceals their IP addresses, making them harder to visit.

But it is possible for any users to access these sites. The most popular way to visit them is by using Tor. It is an anonymity-based Web browser that hides your identity and location. Through Tor’s different layers of encryption websites on the Dark Web can be visited without either browser or website exposing their data to each other.

And that’s the beauty of the Dark Web — anonymity.

While law enforcement may claim this unanimity cloaks criminal activity, this anonymity can work for everyone’s benefit too.

Recently, well-known media outlet ProPublica launched its Dark Web site version running on the Tor network. The company is a non-profit news organization and now the first major online news outlet ever to offer part of its content on the Dark Web. According to Mike Tigas, ProPublica’s developer, the aim is to deliver a service to ProPublica’s more privacy-oriented users.

The outcry for privacy and anonymity for online activities has been persistent these past few years. Without the need for visitors to fill out any forms at all, Web sites can now collect personal information without you knowing it. But by on the Dark Web, users can hide their private data under extra layers of encryption making sure that information remains safe.

Can Businesses Thrive in this Kind of System?

As explained earlier, the Dark Web can represent dangers. Without the data gathering common today on the Web, malware and other dangers can be difficult to spot. The Dark Web’s inherent anonymity brings with it other inherent dangers. Cyber criminals may also be difficult to spot do to the lack of data available.

On the other hand, a well-established Dark Web site can absolutely serve its purpose to provide security to its users. Visitors can land on your site without sharing their data or running the risk of having that data seen by others.

Background Photo via Shutterstock

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Jonha Richman

Jonha Richman Jonha Richman is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends covering apps, ecommerce and new business models. She draws on her 8-year background developing digital media strategies for tech companies and consumer goods companies. She contributes to other sites including Business Insider and Fast Company. You may connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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2 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    I have read about this before. But I think that it is not so dark anymore now that it is out in the open. Reminds me so much of the dark side of marketing too.

  2. I had a friend show me some topics from DW a long long longgggggg time ago, some were disturbing, but there was actually a lot of “light” web stuff too. Basically everything imaginable was available. He also claimed that like 99% of the internet was DW, seems unbelievable tbh

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