IT Security News, News 26 September 2019

What is the Dark Web & Why Does it Exist?

What is meant by the Dark Web and why does it exist?

What is the Dark Web & Why Does it Exist?, Fabric

When asking our engineers, “What is the Dark Web?” I was faced with a room full of blank, slightly concerned expressions. “Terrifying”, “Mysterious”, “You can hire a creepy clown to visit your house”. As you can imagine, these responses left me more confused than before.

After a little research, here’s what I found…

Most people don’t realise how huge the internet is. It’s pretty big. It’s estimated that 96% of the internet is hidden away in the deep web. The deep web can’t be accessed with your usual search engine. To access these parts, credentials are required. For example, your email inbox, private Facebook pictures and online banking are in the Deep Web as they can only be accessed with a username and password. The Deep Web is the opposite of the Surface Web, which is what you’re using whilst reading this blog post.

As you browse on Google, the websites you visit can easily gather your IP address and find out browsing habits. This is often used for advertising and I’m sure you’ve all seen sponsored adverts like the one below which reflect your browsing habits!

Can you tell I was recently looking at hotels?!

Instagram Advert Example

Inside the Deep Web, is where the Dark Web can be found. Here, you can be anonymous and virtually untraceable.

How the Dark Web works

Anonymity achieved by routing and rerouting online activity through a series of geographically dispersed IP addresses. To access the Dark Web you need The Onion Router (Tor) browser or similar. The diagram below shows the layers of encryption used when browsing on Tor. These layers help to hide your IP address and make it much harder for people to trace things back to you.

Tor Diagram

And below is a representation of the set up you’re probably using now. Your IP can be seen by the website server you’re accessing when using a standard browser like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Standard Browsing Diagram

Anonymous browsing seems like a great thing, right? It can be used for people who live in repressive countries which try to control and surveil the internet. It also enables anonymous communication without the watching eye of large corporations who may take advantage of your personal data. Some governments and secret services even use it!

However, it’s not all positive. The Dark Web is a popular place for illegal activities. This could be the selling of drugs, firearms and even personal information. Here’s where it gets scary. When a data breach occurs, personal information and credentials are put on sale for hackers across the world to access your accounts.

Thankfully, Fabric IT have a smart service which monitors the entire dark web for your information. We can find out if your current credentials are on there and let you know if they ever appear! Your domain can be monitored for just £20 a month.

We offer a one-time free scan your business domain.


What is the Dark Web & Why Does it Exist?, Fabric

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