What is the Dark Web?

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It’s a part of the Internet that most people will never experience or might not even know exists, but what is the Dark Web?


The Dark Web can be thought of as the Internet’s underworld: although this traditionally comes with negative and illicit connotations, it isn’t always the case.

It is of course used for illegal practices, such as trading in drugs, arms, or other clandestine paraphernalia.

But the inherent anonymity and the challenge of accessing the Dark Web makes it a place which also lends itself to the intensely security conscious or those looking for freedom in highly restrictive countries.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, explains how resilient the Dark Web is and what it is used for.


Taking down the Dark Web


“The Dark Web will change and adapt in any way to survive, whilst we have supply and demand no amount of law enforcement will shut it down or stop it from working, it will just adapt.

“As one location or area is shut down (Silk Road) then another means or avenue will surface, criminal activities have done exactly that over the years.

“Law enforcement, stings, and the take down of large scale operations will cause inconvenience, but we need to understand the Dark Web is only a small portion of the deep web.

“The Deep Web provides many avenues for freedom of speech and many non-malicious services or activities, but of course where there’s anonymity there is always someone willing to abuse it.”


How can we start to dismantled the Dark Web?


Although it’s extremely difficult to infiltrate and destroy the highly illegal parts of the Dark Web we have seen some success in the past year or so.

In late 2014 a coalition of several European countries and the US took down the massive Silk Road marketplace and 400 other sites selling illegal items. We covered it here.

How do law enforcement agencies start to penetrate organisations on this scale?

“There has to be a trust model involved here, it usually involves references along with participating in something illegal first to place a degree of illegality on you as the initiator.

“Just as with organised gang infiltration it’s all about getting the people at the top, stopping the smaller distributors only causes waves and no real damage is done.”


Do you use Tor or any other means to maintain anonymity online?


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