A Look Into The Dark Web

An, Staff Writer

The dark web, mistakenly called the deep web, is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets. Darknets are overlay networks that use the internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access.

The dark web is accessed through a web browser called Tor, similar to Chrome or Firefox. Tor, short for The Onion Router, is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. It was developed in the 1990s by the United States Naval Research Laboratory employees, mathematician Paul Syverson, and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag, to protect American intelligence communications online. 

The internet is commonly described as an iceberg. At the top, you have the surface web. This includes everyday sites like Facebook, YouTube, Schoology, and the like. In the middle, there’s the deep web, which is just government hidden documents. Things like emails and passwords. At the very bottom of this hypothetical iceberg, is the dark web. This part of the internet hosts websites with illegal services with little to no moderation.

In order to access the web through Tor, you would need to go to a certain part of the site. Tor is not just a surface web place for illegal activities, it requires digging to get to the dark web. But with the Tor browser providing so much anonymity, it’s hard to track who’s on it which made it a prime place to host illegal websites. While the dark web is an extremely dangerous place, involved in hundreds of drug dealings and human trafficking incidents, many people use it as an escape. Many of those in countries who oppress their free speech use it as a way to let their thoughts out without getting caught.

Ross Ulbricht, the “Dread Pirate Roberts” of the internet, founded and operated the darknet marketplace Silk Road in 2011 until it was shut down by the U.S. government in 2013. The site was a marketplace that included criminal activity involving drugs and weapons sales. It was the largest drug and weapon marketplace on the dark web, but after being shut down it was replaced by many marketplaces that last for a few months at most then shut themselves down on their own accord or police accord.

Concerned Thunderridge parent Myra Carlon said, “With the web being used so much, there should be special police tasks monitoring these websites and cracking down on crime. Cracking down on child trafficking, drugs, weapons, and illicit materials. People need to know that this really exists, there needs to be more awareness so that they can form groups and police task forces to work against these people.”

While there are Honeypot sites, which means that there are sites created to bait people into illegal activities and then caught by the police, the police can only do so much. The dark web is huge, and it’s impossible to just get rid of it all.