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Dark web

Dark web

(also darknet)

Dark web definition

The dark web is a part of the internet that is hidden and not accessible on mainstream search engines (like Google or Bing). You can only access the dark web using specific software (e.g., Tor or The Onion Router). While the dark web can be used for legitimate purposes, it is often associated with illegal activities (like drug trafficking, hacking, the sale of stolen goods, and identity theft). The majority of internet users don’t interact with or have any need for the dark web.

See also: cybercriminal

How the dark web works

The dark web works differently from the regular internet. Instead of using normal browsers like Chrome or Firefox, people access the dark web using special software to connect to hidden websites.

These websites have addresses that end with “.onion“ and are not accessible through regular search engines. The dark web offers anonymity and encryption, making tracing people’s activities and identities difficult. While some may use it for legitimate purposes, it is also known for illegal activities and shady marketplaces.

What the dark web is used for

  • Anonymous communication. People may use the dark web to communicate privately, away from the scrutiny of regular internet surveillance.
  • Whistleblowing and journalism. Journalists and whistleblowers may use the dark web to share sensitive information or protect their identity when reporting on sensitive topics.
  • Privacy and security. Some individuals may seek the dark web to maintain their online privacy and protect their personal information from being tracked or monitored.
  • Access to restricted information. The dark web may provide access to content not available on the regular internet, such as certain academic resources or forums.
  • Illegal activities. Unfortunately, the dark web is notorious for hosting illegal activities, including selling drugs, weapons, stolen data, counterfeit goods, hacking tools, and other illicit services.

Watch it explained: Dark web

Further reading

Ultimate digital security