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Thread: Dark web

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    Dark web

    The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets, overlay networks which use the Internet but require specific software, configurations or authorization to access. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines, although sometimes the term deep web is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web





    The darknets which constitute the dark web include small, friend-to-friend peer-to-peer networks, as well as large, popular networks like Tor, Freenet, and I2P, operated by public organizations and individuals. Users of the dark web refer to the regular web as Clearnet due to its unencrypted nature. The Tor dark web may be referred to as onionland, a reference to the network's top-level domain suffix .onion and the traffic anonymization technique of onion routing.

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    The dark web has often been confused with the deep web, which refer to the parts of the web not indexed (searchable) by search engines. This confusion dates back to at least 2009. Since then, especially in reporting on Silk Road, the two terms have often been conflated, despite recommendations that they should be distinguished.

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    Darknet websites are accessible only through networks such as Tor ("The Onion Router") and I2P ("Invisible Internet Project"). Tor browser and Tor-accessible sites are widely used among the darknet users and can be identified by the domain ".onion". While Tor focuses on providing anonymous access to the Internet, I2P specializes on allowing anonymous hosting of websites. Identities and locations of darknet users stay anonymous and cannot be tracked due to the layered encryption system. The darknet encryption technology routes users' data through a large number of intermediate servers, which protects the users' identity and guarantees anonymity. The transmitted information can be decrypted only by a subsequent node in the scheme, which leads to the exit node. The complicated system makes it almost impossible to reproduce the node path and decrypt the information layer by layer. Due to the high level of encryption, websites are not able to track geolocation and IP of their users, and users are not able to get this information about the host. Thus, communication between darknet users is highly encrypted allowing users to talk, blog, and share files confidentially.


    The darknet is also used for illegal activity such as illegal trade, forums, and media exchange for pedophiles and terrorists. At the same time traditional websites have created alternative accessibility for the Tor browser in efforts to connect with their users. ProPublica, for example, launched a new version of its website available exclusively to Tor users.

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