The Dark-Net Rises

 
In my last post, I explained the basics of network. Internet is a collection of computer networks connected through either copper wires, fiber-optic cables or wireless connections. The World Wide Web is one of the services provided by the Internet.

But how transparent is this internet and the internet traffic? What are the different levels of internet? What is deep web and what is dark net? Lets learn more about it.

The Surface Web

Surface web is that part of internet which is indexed by search engines and are readily available to the public.
This is how a search engine works. The search engine will create a database of all the web-pages using program called Web Crawlers or Spiders.  Every time a web crawler visits a web-page, it makes a copy of it and adds its URL to an index. These database or Search Engine Index is used by the search engines for finding the web-page we require.
In other words, every web page recommended by a search engine has been visited by a web crawler. Those pages which cannot be crawled by the spiders or indexed by search engine is what is referred to as the deep Web.

The Deep Web

Deep Web is simply any part of the internet which is not indexed by a search engine. Whatever we do on the search engine, we wont be able to obtain the information which is there in the Deep Web.
The question is WHY? Why these pages in the deep web are not indexed by search engines? Why these spiders fail to crawl Deep Web. The answer is pretty simple and straight forward.

One of the reason is, so many web-pages are behind Login walls. The spiders wont be able to cross the login page unless they have the right credentials. Thus they get stopped there.

Another reason is that, you can actually tell a spider not to crawl a particular page by coding. There is a text file called robots.txt. These files are to placed on the root directory of the website. These robots.txt file contains the list of the pages that are not to be indexed by search engine. But obeying robots.txt is not mandatory.

The Dark-Net

This is a place where some good things happen and more bad things happen. 
The Dark Web then is classified as a small portion of the Deep Web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard web browsers.
Dark-Net is a cluster of computers meshed together in order to form a network. It is a place where your identity or IP is very very very difficult to track. In order to access a computer in the Dark-Net, you will need special softwares installed on your system.

Ironically it was used for anonymous communications within the Military, to keep messages encrypted and secret.
There is no direct search engine like Google or bing in Dark-Net. You can access only if you have the URL to that website.


TOR
While talking about Dark-Net, the first thing that comes to my mind is TOR. The most famous content that resides on the Dark Web is found in the TOR network. The TOR network is an anonymous network that can only be accessed with a special web browser, called the TOR browser.

This is the portion of the Internet most widely known for illicit activities because of the anonymity associated with the TOR network.

The Silk Road
Silk Road is one of the Dark-Net online market. Silk Road was an online black market and the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs.

As part of the dark web, it was operated as a Tor hidden service, such that online users were able to browse it anonymously and securely without potential traffic monitoring.

Bitcoins
Basically, Bitcoins are digital currency. There are so many advantages of using bitcoins. Bitcoins are transferred person to person without using banks. Bitcoins can be bought online. They are kept on bitcoin wallet in your computer or mobile phones. Users can hold multiple bitcoin addresses, and they aren’t linked to names, addresses, or other personally identifying information. If you have a publicly used bitcoin address, anyone can tell how many bitcoins are stored at that address. They just don’t know that it’s yours.

 

The Hidden Dangers of Dark-Net

Diving into the Dark-Net is something to think about. Remember that you are diving into a pool that is not only deep but it is dark. You cannot see around corners and you have no way of really knowing what you are clicking on. There are forums and blogs sure. But there are also some highly suspect sites (legally) and some are blatantly illegal and do not try to hide that fact. There are hacking information sites, warez/crack sites, hit-men sites, credit card exchanges (and they sure don’t  own the credit card, if you get where I am coming from).

The following are some of many threats of using Dark-Net

Anyone can choose to enter the Dark-Net markets as a cyber criminal. There is no bar and this has been made largely possible with the expanding malware toolsets now available for the newbie.

It is estimated that over 50 percent of the Dark-Net markets that function using Tor offer narcotics for sale. These are easily accessible and are sure to incite interest among the ones that are ready to enter the world of drugs and cyber crime.

Cyber criminals can effectively use Tor and other hidden services for conduct of criminal and illicit activities.Though it is a fact that the financially and politically motivated are still a threat to a system (governments, organizations and individuals) that is against their agenda, it has been pointed out in the report that the more dangerous among all of these are cyber criminals motivated by chaos and fame. Their actions are more challenging and they are harder to control.

The spread of cyber crime is inevitable and is, of course, hastened by the facilities provided by hidden services. The year 2015 saw the globalization of crime. With Chinese cyber criminals taking business to Russian forums, it is evident that cyber crime has matured, is internationalized and is growing at an alarming rate. Jihadists have managed to make the most out of what the dark net markets have to offer, thanks to their new crop of young and tech savvy recruits. They have offered greater support to ISIS and extended the global reach of the terrorist group.