Every house has an untouched part where outsiders are not allowed to enter, or even if they enter, they need to seek permission from the respective owner. Such is the case of ‘Darknet.’ Darknet is a place where only a few selected users can access a private virtual network. In Darknet, some part of the internet is hidden from everyday users to maintain secrecy.

The web access to all the internet users is called ‘surface web,’ and below it lies a much deeper place, called the darknet. The darknet information tracks its roots to the need for security that lies ‘in the dark’ and is not visible on network lists.

Earlier, darknet was a network outside the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) that couldn’t receive messages and thus was unable to make any form of response. It had no way to acknowledge whether the message is received, unlike a Facebook Messenger that reflected the message as “seen.” But today, the definition for darknet has changed.

Entry into the darknet’s secret world is made by accessing a different browser type called The Onion Router (TOR). The word ‘onion’ defines how the router is structured like an onion with multiple layers that data needs to penetrate. Unlike normal surfing, the computer does not directly connect to the server where the website is located. The process involves creating a completely different series of servers present in the connection to create the greatest possible anonymity.

How darknet is different from dark web

Darknet, which is also known as the dark web, forms a component of the deep web. There is a major difference between both the terms –

Accessing the deep web is reaching out to those pages that are not indexed, meaning a search engine will not return any search results. Crawlers don’t reach up to these pages, thus turning them de facto invisible to search engines. It is important to know the exact detailed address of these sites to access any of these pages.

The deep web may also include some significant parts of the legitimate, mainstream web such as Netflix or Amazon pages, as they are personalized for users, and all URLs are not meant to be indexed. So, the deep web is ethically neutral, which may include both good or bad data.

The dark web is a layer even deeper that involves both non-indexed and illegal activities and services. Some even named it a place where humanity’s darkest side surfaces. It is typically a place where the parts of the moral-lacking economy and society come together.

Thus, the above definitions infer that not all deep web is the dark web, but all dark web is the deep web.

Why avoid darknet

The dark web is full of those resources containing information that is not readily available on the internet. It holds plenty of undesirable content that humans need to avoid. The content at its best can be too offensive, and at its worst, it could be highly illegal.

  • Crypto scams

Everyone is aware of the widespread term crypto scams across the regular web. Back in mid-2018, Facebook was forced to issue a blanket ban on crypto ads (but for now, the ban is partially lifted).

Thus, it should probably come as no surprise to learn that crypto scams are even more common on the dark web.

Scammers use the same techniques as on the regular web, but due to lack of regulation, they are less likely to be shut by ad networks, forums, and other places where the scams may appear.

  • Phishing scam

Phishing scams are something that take place regularly on the web. People who lack knowledge of it are the ones who are caught in it.

It’s much easier to fall victim to the dark web due to the way web addresses are presented. Consider a simple example of the DuckDuckGo phishing attempt in 2016.

Here’s how the website’s .onion domain should look like: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

And here’s how the phishing domain looked: http://3g2up5afx6n5miu4.onion/

It isn’t easy to spot the difference between these two!

  • Exit scam

An exit scam is a fraudulent act where a seller stops shipping products but accepts orders and money. Moreover, scammers have even launched a new cryptocurrency that would easily support their activities.

Items sold on the dark web are usually illegal, such as drugs and guns. The transaction generally processes Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies for which the buyer possesses no avenues for redress or compensation.

The Evolution darknet market in 2015 and Olympus Market and Empire in September 2018 are amongst the known exit scams and actual examples of how exit scams take place.

The Evolution market scammers walked away merely with almost USD 12 million in Bitcoins with the help of escrow.

Bottom line

So, ‘dark’ as the word suggests in darknet is a dark place that includes sites and tools that contribute to criminal activities. It acts as a breeding ground for cybercriminals as well as traditional criminals. Darknet is a room where Malware-as-a-Service and other tools of cybercrime are located. It also holds a place to buy and sell the data stolen in the data breaches easily found in the modern, hyper-connected world.

Darknet is something that is here to stay, and entering into it will lead to a suspicious world. Entering into darknet is touching a hot iron rod that would damage oneself; thus, it is advisable to keep hands away from it.

Here are some best practices that need to be followed while using the Dark Web –

  • do not visit illegal sites.
  • Do not access illegal materials as they may lead to viruses.
  • Do not download any unknown file or software.
  • Searches should be severe or appropriate and not vague.
  • Do not trust anybody while communicating in this environment.
  • Switch off or cover webcam lenses of all devices.
  • Disabling java scripts leads to extra protection.
  • Do not use U torrent or any other torrenting services while surfing on the dark web.

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