The world we live in today is slowly becoming more and more computerized every day. Lately, even household appliances are likely to have a connection to the internet. The internet is gradually pervading every aspect of our lives, accelerating the proliferation of information across the world. It is connecting humanity on a level that is unprecedented in history, with the promise of universal access to knowledge and communication on a worldwide level. But, despite the degree to which the internet has begun to dominate our lives, most people actually know very little about it or how it works. Specifically, the average person has no idea how much of the internet is hidden from them.
Approximately four percent of the internet is able to be seen by a person surfing the web. Which leaves ninety-six percent of the internet hidden in the shadows. This vast majority of the internet is referred to by the term ‘deep web’. It consists of websites that can only be accessed by specific software or permissions, unable to be found by simply using a search engine. This includes sites locked behind paywalls, ones that require users to register in order to gain access, and email accounts. Most of this deep web is perfectly innocuous in nature, harmless and legal sites that are simply restricted from being accessed by the average internet user.
However, while most of the deep web is harmless, a fairly large portion of it is devoted to legally dubious and completely illegal behavior. This shady internet black market is referred to by most as the ‘dark web’. While the deep web is made up of things like scientific research and government databases for the most part, the dark web is slightly more sinister in nature. The dark web is the home of hackers, thieves and variety of other types of criminals who commit their crimes by using the internet.
Because of the shady behavior that takes place on the dark web, it is difficult to identify with complete confidence precisely what is being done there on a day to day basis. After all, there is no search again for the deep or dark web, and those who use it are trying to remain anonymous for the most part. But, there are a handful of studies that have taken place with the goal of investigating the usage of the dark web. They have shown that the majority of the sites on the dark web contain child pornography. It is undeniably the most popular use for this anonymous corner of the world wide web. Only slightly less popular on the dark web is the sale of illegal drugs and drug related paraphernalia.
Customers use cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to purchase things that they cannot obtain legally where they live. It is also used, allegedly, for the sales of weapons and hiring hackers or even assassins. The dark web is the seedy underbelly of the internet we all like to think we know and love, and a hotbed of criminal activity.