What Is the Dark Net?

  • The dark net, also known as the "dark web," is a component of the greater "deep web," a network of encrypted Internet content that is not accessible via traditional search engines.
  • The dark net is most often used for illegal activities such as black markets, illegal file sharing, and the exchanging of illegal goods or services (including stolen financial and private data), and the anonymity of the darknet attracts drug-dealers, hackers, and child pornography peddlers.
  • Dark net markets have been instrumental in the development of cryptocurrencies because transactions completed on dark net markets using cryptocurrency protect both the buyer and seller.

Dark Net vs. Deep Web

  • The terms "dark net" and "deep web" are occasionally used interchangeably. However, this is not correct. The dark net is part of the greater deep web. The deep web encompasses all unindexed sites that don't pop up when you do an Internet search.
  • Not all activities associated with the deep web are nefarious. In most cases, these pages are not searchable through traditional channels because they are password-protected and require specific tools or authorization (like a log-in) in order to access them. Personal email, online banking, and other similar sites are included under the umbrella of the "deep web."
  • The dark net is part of the deep web, but it refers to websites that are specifically used for nefarious reasons. Dark net sites are purposefully hidden from the surface net by additional means. The dark net facilities black markets, activities like illegal file sharing, and the exchanging of illegal goods or services including stolen financial and private data. In order to hide exchanges in this hidden economy, bitcoin is often used as a currency.
  • The anonymity of the dark web attracts drug-dealers, hackers, and child pornography peddlers.

Some of examples of the Dark Net

  • One of the most famous examples of a dark net website was called the Silk Road marketplace. Silk Road was used for buying and selling a variety of illegal items, including recreational drugs and weapons.
  • Silk Road was founded in 2011 and is often considered the first dark net market. Although it was shut down by FBI in 2013, it has spawned a number of copycat markets.
  • Dark net markets like the Silk Road were instrumental in the development of cryptocurrencies because cryptocurrency transactions on dark net markets protect both the buyer and seller.

What are some of Concerns Regarding Darknet:

  • Threat to security- Secret communication by the terrorists and other anti-social elements can be used for their nefarious purposes. Terrorists also use the dark net for illegal purchase of explosives and weapons, using virtual currencies like Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies.
  • Facilitates Illegal Activities : A large portion of the activity which takes place on the dark net is illegal. The dark net offers a level of identity security that the surface net does not.
  • The relative impermeability of dark net has made it a major haven for drug dealers, arms traffickers, child pornography collectors and other criminals involved in financial and physical crimes so much so that one can buy anything from tigers to hand grenades to any kind of narcotic substances, provided the potential buyer finds the right website on the dark net.
  • Harm the democratic setup- Illegally gathered voter registration information using the dark web could be used to influence elections.
  • Threat to privacy- This platform can be used illegally to encroach on the Right to Privacy of the others. In a study title Cryptopolitik and the Darknet, it was highlight that of the 2,723 websites on Darknet, 57 % host illicit content.  
  • Anonymity: The end to end encryption of dark net offers a high degree of anonymity and thus it is almost impossible to track.
  • Illegal business- This can be used in drug smuggling, child pornography, which eventually affects the socio-economic fabric of the nation. 
  • Heaven of Hackers- These platforms can be used by the hackers for cyber-related crimes like money laundering, phishing etc.