by Secrets of the Dark
I recently read a couple of great posts on Illegally downloaded blog (by author Deku-shrub) regarding the nature of the so-called “deep web/dark web,” etc. – specifically, the ones in question are Internet writings about misunderstandings and Literally the best blog post ever.
In the former, he expresses his frustration over “unashamed use of ambiguous terminology when it comes to describing nebulous memes such as the so called ‘Deep Web’.” In the latter, he describes how he “created the Wikipedia page for ‘Skunked terms’, a wonderful label…for words that have undergone a marked change from one user to another’ and ‘are likely to be the subject of dispute.'”
As I’ve explored networks like Tor, I2P, and Freenet more, I’ve started to become almost as frustrated with people throwing around such terms loosely (even on the dark web itself!).
It seems that what got the general public (who were previously unaware of the dark web) talking about this sort of thing was the 2013 shutdown of the Silk Road marketplace by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Prior to that, in 2011, Gawker published an article called The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable, which created a lot of buzz around the Silk Road, and the Tor network in general:
While I’m not denying that such things exist (they still do), I think it’s the misinformation that annoys me. So personally, when I use the term “dark web,” I generally mean networks like Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet, Retroshare, ZeroNet, and OneSwarm. And when I use the term “deep web,” I generally mean sites that aren’t indexed by standard search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask.com. As I mentioned in a previous post, Tor has its own search engines as well, such as Ahmia (clearnet URL) and not Evil
As the infographic up top explains, the dark web also includes alternative networks such as SIPRNet, JWICS, and NSAnet, used by the U.S. government to transmit top secret information.
Here are a few screenshots of the networks above:
Tor (Candle Search Engine)
Not so terrifying, are they? I don’t claim to be an encyclopedic expert on the dark web (just yet), but I have explored several of these networks (Tor, I2P, and Freenet, specifically), and they aren’t always as scary as the horror stories make them out to be. In fact, if you had the know-how, you could literally create your own darknet that was only meant to be accessible to a select few people. That, too, would technically be part of the dark web.
So, then, what about all the “horror videos” like Top 15 TERRIFYING Deep Web Facts, Horrifying Deep Web Stories “Why I Quit Hacking”, etc.? Based on my personal experience, I’d say they contain some truths, some half-truths, and some flat-out lies.
For example, the Top 15 video mentions bitcoin as if it’s this “evil currency” only used for illegal goods. It is used in many drug and gun sales on darknet markets, but like any currency, it’s not bad in and of itself. This may seem like common sense, but the reason that bitcoin is used so much on darknet markets is that it’s harder to trace than something like a credit card (but not impossible).
In my personal experience – yes, the dark web does contain some disturbing things, but some of it is merely personal sites made by techies, or sites like Wikileaks, which you can also find on the clearnet.
I realize there are worse things out there, but it’s not hell on earth…or if it is, I haven’t been there yet.
This is what the rest of the dark web looks like.