If you’ve been reading the news lately, you may have heard of the dark web (sometimes known as the darknet, or ‘onionland’ due to the domain suffix “.onion”). If you’re wondering what it is, then we’re here to tell you. Do note, however, that if you’re looking to discover more about the dark web, or even browse it, you should probably proceed with great caution.
Essentially, the dark web is a hidden side of the wider web – invisible to most people, and accessible only to those with technical knowhow. It can only be viewed with specific software, configurations or authorization. It forms part of what’s called the deep web (basically the part of the online world not indexed by search engines).
Most of the dark web is formed by friend-to-friend peer-to-peer networks, but there also networks which are run by certified organizations and individuals.
Due to the secretive nature of the dark web, the authorities have expressed concern that it acts as a meeting point for criminals – hackers, fraudsters and organized crime syndicates. In fact, it was reported in 2015 that Interpol has developed a training program on the dark web, due to the level of criminal activity taking place on the clandestine networks.
In the past, specific criminal content has included stolen personal data, which has been sold on to fraudsters, as well as other illegal digital content. It has also provided a forum for discussion of other illegal activity, such as denial of service attacks, cyber hacking and more.
Got any further questions about the dark web? Let us know by tweeting to @JustAskGemalto or posting a comment below.