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What Is the Dark Web and Why Isn't It as Bad as You Think

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What Is It?

The Dark Web is part of the Deep Web, which is just a part of the internet that you can't find on a search engine, such as Google or Bing. The Deep Web includes anything behind a paywall or something that requires login credentials. Interestingly, 96 percent of the internet is in the Deep Web. The Dark Web is a portion of the Deep Web which people can only access with certain web browsers. The Dark Web is shrouded in mystery. We don't know of every site, but we do know of some of the stuff that goes on there. The Dark Web, as you may have heard, is a hub for illicit activity. However, there are also some very normal sites on the Dark Web. Keep reading to hear more about both.

What is on the Dark Web?

The Dark Web contains anything that you can think of, but unfortunately, not all of it is good. On the Dark Web there are websites to buy drugs, human organs, people, and videos of people getting tortured. You can hire hackers and hitmen to kill people. There is a video of a girl who has been trapped in a room for many days. The video ends with people trying to get in and her desperately barricading the door with objects in the room. There's another video of a man being forced to eat something that's making him cry. However, there is some light in the Dark Web. The Dark Web can be used by people living in totalitarian societies to connect with the outside world. It can be used by these people to report how people are being harmed by their country's governments. It has also helped people report their domestic violence victims online. The Dark Web has the power to make some people's darkness lighter, but unfortunately it also has the power to do the opposite.

How Does the Dark Web Work?

The Dark Web uses something called Onion Routing. To access the Dark Web you need the Tor (The Onion Router) browser. This browser encrypts user traffic and passes the IP address through a complex of Tor nodes. This may sound complex, so let me break it down. Your IP is your digital address of where you are in the world. Tor makes your IP address look different every couple of minutes. To the internet, one minute you'll be in Germany and the next you'll be in Spain. As said, Tor also encrypts your data. When you use the internet, anyone who can view your data will see exactly what you're viewing. When Tor encrypts your data, it turns all your data into random strings of letters and numbers. Your data goes from your computer through the Tor nodes and then to the host of the website and back. See the image below. These steps that make Tor anonymous also make it very slow. Tor website web addresses will be random strings of letters and numbers, such as hds8949dsns8.onion. All Tor web addresses are like this so they are difficult to find and remember. They also all end in .onion, as in The Onion Router. All of this allows websites and people on the Dark Web to stay hidden.

How the dark web works, with the client being you

How the dark web works, with the client being you

Why Can't We Stop the Dark Web?

Even if we could shut the Dark Web down, there would be a lot of debate about doing so. As stated earlier, the Dark Web can be used for good. The debate may center around whether or not the good outweighs the bad. However, this situation only applies if we could stop it. So why can't we stop the Dark Web? Well, geopolitics play a role. If a Dark Web site is hosted in, per se, France, then the U.S. has no jurisdiction to shut it down. While the U.S. can block connections to this website for people in this country, most Dark Web users use VPNs to change their locations anyway. Many Dark Web sites are hosted in smaller countries that don't have the resources to shut them down, but a different country can't either. Additionally, it's difficult to find these Dark Web sites because of all the protection Tor offers and all the measures taken to try and keep people and websites anonymous. Even when we do find sites, it takes a lot of time and resources to shut them down. While we may be able to target and take down some larger Dark Web sites (Such as the Silk Road), it seems the Dark Web is here to stay.

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© 2022 Sameer Shehrawat

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