Inside The Deep & The Dark Web

Under the surface of the 'normal internet'  day-to-day activities like watching a video, checking the news or booking a tickets for an event, lies a shadowy corner of the web where terrorists, criminals, and whistle blowers lurk. This part of the Internet, which is not readily accessible without special search tools, is commonly referred to as the the Deep Web.
 
The Deep Web is considered by some to be an important aspects of  of internet privacy in an increasingly intrusive age, while others consider it an evil parts on the internet, charcterised by criminality - commonly referred to as the Dark Web.
 
They Deep Web and the Dark Web are enormous, inaccessible except to those with special knowledge and widely misunderstood. They are not the same thing - what is really going on in the hidden part of the Internet? 
 
Inside the Deep Web
The Deep Web refers to any website that cannot be readily accessed through any conventional search engine such as Google or Yahoo! Search The reason for this is because the content has not been indexed by the search engine in question.
In layman’s terms, the Deep Web is just another ‘level’ of the internet. Residing below the “surface,” it is the deepest level of the Internet.
 
Who Benefits From The Deep Web?
There is a wide range of people that benefit from the Deep Web’s capability to allow anonymous use and communication. 
And it is worth noting that the Deep Web is not always illegal and there are plenty of activities taking place that are entirely within the context of the law. The individuals or groups who have benefited from the Deep Web in the past and whom also continue to benefit from its existence today are:
 
  • Journalists and Whistle blowers
  • Political Protesters, and Anti-Censorship Advocacy Groups
  • Residents of Oppressive Political Regimes
  • Government and Commercial analysts
Journalists and Whistle blowers. Former military, government, and corporate employees are coming together en masse to report widespread (and largely unknown) corruption within their respective fields. Working in conjunction with investigative reporters, these individuals can communicate top-secret and classified information to the media to expose corruption under a modicum of protection.
 
Political Protesters, and Anti-Censorship Advocacy Groups. Anonymity is of paramount importance for these figures, who utilize the Dark Web as an application to conduct communication measures safely and privately.
 
Residents of Oppressive Political Regimes. Citizens living in countries ruled by oppressive regimes often do not have ready access to news, information, and critically important data pertaining to the health and sustainability of society as a collective whole.  The Deep Web offers members of society living under oppressive political regimes a relatively safe way to garner crucial information for their own needs, in addition to exporting it out of the country.
 
Inside The Dark Web
The Dark Web remains incredibly attractive to Internet users for a wide range of reasons. The enshrouded nature and complex methodology required to access this world have effectively made it a secret world, full of salacious activity, black markets, sights, and perks limited to a select few. The Dark Web has emerged as a digital space where content has been intentionally concealed and users can surf anonymously.
 
It is used for several legitimate purposes, such as to perform marketing tracking, to circumvent censorship and to conduct research on topics that might be sensitive in certain countries. At the same time, the Dark Web facilitates organised crime. Anonymity is a key element for illegal activities on the Dark Web: identities are concealed via the Onion Browser (TOR) and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are used largely anonymously.
 
Government and Commercial Analysts
Different government and commercial information analyst departments use the Dark Web to check on what has been potentially stolen and what is apparently now available to trade and buy. Technology has revolutionised policing practices and at the same time it has facilitated criminality.
 
 Listed below is a sampling of the many things to be found using Dark Web links: 
 
Credit card numbers. Stolen credit card numbers are a big business on the Dark Web. Typically sold in bulk lots of a hundred or more, credit card numbers can be had at low prices and ready for the most illicit of uses.
 
Fake passports. Popular Dark Website “Fake Documents” specialises in selling top-notch replica documents from every nation in the world. A United States passport can be had for as little as 1,US$1,00.
 
Marijuana. Every strain, potency, and type of Marijuana can be found on the Dark Web. Meanwhile, prices are often lower than those typically found in the “regular” market. Traditional internet browsers such as Google can amass up to a million daily hits for “how to buy marijuana on the Deep Web,” indicating a mammoth interest in entering the hidden world.
 
Stolen/Hacked Accounts. On the Dark Web, it is very easy to procure stolen/hacked accounts to popular websites and services such as Netflix, Spotify, Uber, and PayPal. Commonly stolen accounts include Netflix at just one dollar, hacked Uber accounts for the purposes of evading law enforcement, Spotify accounts for pennies on the dollar, and PayPal accounts that buyers can empty out at will.
 
Bitcoin & Lottery Tickets. Bitcoin is the singular currency used on the Dark Web and is favored by users for its anonymity. The crypto currency is often used for gambling and other similarly illicit activities, and bitcoins are widely used today in conjunction with a cottage industry of bitcoin lottery tickets.
 
Fake Coupons. Fake coupons offering savings ranging from fifty cents to substantial discounts exceeding twenty percent off are a booming business on the Dark Web. The counterfeit coupons are used at businesses such as Home Depot, Lowes, and other major companies to fraudulently obtain major discounts via seemingly legitimate bar code printing on coupons. Recently, a magnate of the counterfeit coupon industry on the Dark Web was indicted by the Federal Government for stealing more than one million dollars via fraudulent coupons.
 
Fake College Degrees. Any name and any institution are for sale on the Dark Web. Whether you are interested in purchasing a degree in your name from Harvard, Yale, or Stanford, these official looking documents can be quickly and cheaply had.
 
Ricin and other Poisons. Recently popularised by its presence on the mega-hit TV show Breaking Bad, Ricin is a deadly poison that can swiftly kill people.Recently available for purchase at a site on the Dark Web called Black Market Reloaded, Ricin could be purchased in mass quantities. Black Market Reloaded has since been shut down, with its operator sent to federal prison for his part in manufacturing the illicit substance. Despite the closure of Black Market Reloaded, Ricin can still be found throughout the Dark Web along with a host of other deadly chemicals.
 
3D Printing Services. Business Insider recently reported the story of entrepreneurial-minded individuals using printing technology to create counterfeit money, card skimmer apparatuses and more. As printing technology continues to advance, many individuals are taking advantage of it by creating official-looking documents that can be used in a vast array of mediums.
 
A Pocket-style EMP Generator. Selling miniature, pocket-sized electromagnetic pulse generator devices are a popular market on the Dark Web in China. Capable of “frying” nearby electronic devices and rendering them dead, the applications for this tool are endless. Savvy users have gone as far as using the generator to add mass amounts of credits to slot machines at casinos and gambling halls to cheat their way to guaranteed winnings.
 
Murder for hire/Assassination. Murder for hire is perhaps the most famed notion associated with the Dark Web. According to reports, there are legions of contract killers available for hire hiding within the murky depths of the Dark Web. However, there is a large collective insisting that hitmen do not truly exist on the Dark Web and that anyone foolish enough to employ the services of these types of individuals is merely setting themselves up in a trap to be arrested for conspiracy to murder.
Whether you believe in the existence of contract killers or consider it a hoax, there exists a very real community on the Dark Web with a plethora of individuals claiming they can kill for money. Whether that individual is a teenage prankster or a serious killer is a question which remains unknown.
 
Plastic Explosives. If Ricin and cocaine aren’t enough to quell your thirst for illicit compounds, you may be surprised to hear about the existence of authentic C4 plastic explosives available on the Dark Net in mass quantities.
 
Social Security Numbers. A site on the Dark Web called Black Bank offers what they call “fresh” social security numbers featuring credit scores topping out over 750 at affordable prices and with free shipping.
 
Drugs & Narcotics. Drugs are a booming market on the Dark Web. Home to every drug imaginable, the Dark Web offers consumers marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, 'magic mushrooms', LSD, cocaine, crack, meth and more. Pharmaceuticals are also abundantly available with many consumers swapping up prescription meds for pennies on the dollar. Common examples include painkillers, Ritalin, Adderall, and Dextroamphetamine.
 
Weapons. Frighteningly enough, the Dark Web features a website called the Armory where consumers can readily purchase weapons such as replica AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, homemade explosives, missiles, and more. Despite their terrifying product list, The Armory insists that it refuses to sell to terrorist groups.
 
SWAT-style body Armour. SWAT-style body armor is in common use during military campaigns and is rarely found outside that specific application. On the Armory site, consumers can pick and choose from gun and weapons packages complete with SWAT-grade armor for the ultimate in protection.
 
Uranium. Even Uranium Ore can allegedly be sourced on the Dark Web. For those not in the know, Uranium Ore is a chemical, that once refined, can be made into atomic material at the weapons-grade level.
 
Hacked Government Data. Hacked government data is a big business on the Dark Web with many consumers looking to purchase lists of thousands of emails, social security numbers, and a host of other sensitive data.
 
Luxury Goods Counterfeit and Fakes. The counterfeit market on the Dark Web is massive. Any replica of any brand can be found from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Prada, Tag Heuer, Rolex, Gucci and far more. Consumers seeking a designer handbag, watch, or other luxury items can procure replicas for incredibly low prices.
 
Conclusion
The Deep Web will always exist, as it is merely a “locale” within the Internet that holds all the hidden content that isn’t crawled by Google and similar web search engines. 
 
Browsing the Deep Web is now easier than ever. The Tor web browser is one of the leading ways to access the Deep Web today. Many users are now also Tor along with VPN tunnels for heightened security and privacy. There are also a number of Tor-style plug-ins that can be used with major web browsers. It’s worth noting that using Tor or a Tor-style plug-in is something necessary to access the deep and dark web.
 
While the Dark Web is highly associated with illicit, illegal, and immoral activities, it is often more generic in nature and is loosely defined by its collective of hidden sites, accessed by various individuals, many of them with innocuous reasons such as maintaining privacy, security, and safety.
 
The Deep Web and the Dark Web
Today, countless internet users try to gain entry into the Deep Web and the Dark Web. Some are looking for something in particular that simply can’t be sourced on the regular internet, others are simply curious. The Deep Web, the Dark Web along with tools such as Tor hold mass appeal due to their secretive natures.
 
Despite their relatively recent invention, the appeal they hold is as old as time itself. It is human nature to be intrigued by that which we don’t understand or cannot easily access. Now 28 countries are involved in the program could make a huge difference in stamping out crime in the Dark Web. 
 
Criminals on the dark web are compelling law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe to alter the way they conduct investigations on the internet, opening up new possibilities for international police collaboration against cyber crime but also, critics warn, expanding the long arm of the law without a clear understanding of the impact. 
 
World Politics Review:    Northumbria University:   Alphr.com:     Infosecurity Magazine:    History.com
 
US Congress Research:     Digital.com        The New Stack:    SocialMediaDNA
 
You Might Also Read:
 
Easy Cyber Knowledge Ch.2: Deep Web And The Dark Web:
 
New Dark Web Search Engine Can Strengthen Business Security:
 
« The Future Of Ransomware Is In The Cloud
Cyber Threats Are The Top Insurance Risk »

Directory of Suppliers

eBook: Practical Guide to Security in the AWS Cloud

eBook: Practical Guide to Security in the AWS Cloud

AWS Marketplace would like to present you with a digital copy of the new book, Practical Guide to Security in the AWS Cloud, by the SANS Institute.

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

Practice Labs

Practice Labs

Practice Labs is an IT competency hub, where live-lab environments give access to real equipment for hands-on practice of essential cybersecurity skills.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

A simple and cost-effective solution to monitor, investigate and analyze data from the web, social media and cyber sources to identify threats and make better security decisions.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

Qolcom

Qolcom

Qolcom is a leading UK based integrator of secure wireless network and mobile device management solutions.

bdCERT

bdCERT

bdCERT is the national Computer Emergency Response Team for Bangladesh.

Emerson Electric Co

Emerson Electric Co

Emerson provides industrial automation systems and associated cybersecurity solutions to protect critical process control systems from cyber attack.

CRU

CRU

CRU is a pioneer in devices for data mobility, data security, encryption, and digital investigation.

VNT Software

VNT Software

VNT's vision is to change the way complex IT problems are resolved by predicting business disruptions before they occur.

Very Good Security (VGS)

Very Good Security (VGS)

VGS is the modern approach to data security. Our SaaS solution gives you all the benefits of interacting with sensitive and regulated data without the liability of securing it.

SecuLetter

SecuLetter

SecuLetter is able to detect unknown attacks with hybrid approaches, static and dynamic analysis.

CyberPion

CyberPion

Cyberpion’s groundbreaking platform enables security teams to identify and neutralize threats stemming from vulnerabilities within online assets throughout an enterprise’s ecosystem.