Ever since the advent of the World Wide Web, we have seen the Internet bloom and flourish from its 1980’s counterpart, to the internet we know today. Millions and millions of devices connected together sharing trillions and trillions of data every second is nothing short of a human marvel. The internet today is considered a primary hub for perhaps every kind of knowledge known or unknown to human beings. Whether it is connecting with people around the globe via social media, knowledge about particular topics, mainstream entertainment or anything else, the internet has a knack of evolving and growing every passing second.
With the vastness and dynamicity of the internet, it is no wonder that the only accessible part of this complicated ecosystem is very small. Most of us today only tend to access about 4% of the internet for our use (and that too is pushing it). The remaining 96% remains hidden from conventional users. This hidden part of the internet is often termed as the dark side of the internet.
1What exactly is the dark side of the internet?
It is perhaps a bit difficult to comprehend the true meaning of the dark side of the internet. In layman terms, the part of the internet ecosystem not easily accessible or used by the conventional users of the internet can be called the dark side of the internet. Over the years, the dark net has gathered immense notoriety because of its anonymous nature.
We have seen a tremendous spike in the criminal activity on the dark net, and this is perhaps one of the major reasons people are unaware of the actual potential of the dark side of the internet. Information not present in the 4% of the internet may be found here. Consider the internet as a huge polar ice cap, with about 4% of it floating on the ocean surface. The remaining 96% of the iceberg is submerged in the water.One must be vary that the dark side of the internet is not different from the conventional internet, but a subset of it.
2Accessing the Dark Web
Accessing the dark web does not follow conventional methods. (Here is depth guide to access dark web safely) You cannot just open up your web browser and enter the dark web. A special kind of browser is required, which is available online. One of the most used dark web browsers is Tor. Tor uses onion-routing to hide your location and IP address. A packet sent across Tor is wrapped around different sets of IP address, pretty much like the layers of an onion. After one layer of IP address is removed, the packet moves to a different location and keeps on pinging randomly till it reaches its location. This makes it pretty hard to track the actual source and destination of a packet.
Another interesting fact about the dark web is that it can be partially accessed by mainstream browsers. As per the definition of the dark side of the internet, any of the unindexed pages on a search engine can also be a part of the dark web. Any search engine indexes the web pages as per its traffic. The pages which lay dormant for a majority of the time are pushed back in the search results and eventually un-indexed by the search engine. These web pages then become a part of the dark web.
3Is the dark web legal?
In a broader perspective, dark web is absolutely legal. But over the years, it has been used for more bad than good. The dark web has become a playground for all sorts of criminal activities, which go unchecked and untethered by the law enforcement agencies. From kidnapping, extortion, drug trafficking all the way to cyber terrorism and human trafficking, the dark web has earned a huge notoriety and a negative image. Even though accessing the dark web is legal and can be used to gather a new insight about things, a user is solely responsible for the activities he/she performs on the dark net. The cyber security division of various nations have been taking strict steps to minimize the criminal activities on the dark net, and the punishment of these actions are severe.
4What you can do to be safe on the dark web?
The dark web is a vast and complicated ecosystem of unchecked and untethered information, and any carelessness on your behalf can land you into a lot of trouble. There are certain things you should keep in mind whilst surfing on the dark web.
- Never enter you real information: The dark web is all about anonymity. If you enter your real details anywhere (credit/debit card number, name, address, phone number etc.), your information can be stolen and leaked online leading to identity theft. Data has a lot of value on the dark web.
- Do not open suspicious links: One must try to stay away from any suspicious links present on the dark web, as it may lead to unauthorized remote access of your system or remote malware installation.
- Lear off from criminal activities: Try to stay away from all sorts of criminal activities happening around the dark web. These may seem lucrative and profitable at first, but if you get caught, you can ruin your life.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the dark side of the internet is a powerful element of the internet ecosystem, and can be used positively as well as negatively, which depends on the user.