The dark web sounds so mysterious you may question its existence. But it’s is not just the myth we see in American thriller movies – it’s real and hosts roughly 30,000 hidden websites.
How did it all start?
The dark web is the creation of the U.S. government and ironically, is used by people wanting to hide their online activities from the authorities.
Military researchers developed the technology in the 1990s as an anonymous communication channel with spies. Named The Onion Router, the browser became known as TOR. It was released into the public domain to deeper bury messages between the government and their spies.
What is the dark web?
Designed to make users as anonymous as possible, the dark web is a decentralised network of internet sites – hidden away from any search engine. User information is routed through multiple servers and protected by layers of encryption (hence the ‘onion’ reference in the name) making activity untraceable.
Think about when you log in to a private account – perhaps your online banking. The website pages you navigate here are on the deep web: That’s to say they are not directly accessible from a search engine and the information found there is encrypted for privacy. The dark web takes you a layer deeper into the internet where everything is this hidden.
What is it used for?
Some users are just extremely passionate about their privacy, even if they’re just playing online solitaire (whether that would stand up in court is another matter). But the dark web is most known for its illegal goods sites (guns, drugs and illegal imports) and illegal finance activity.
However, some positive slants can be taken on the dark web: The anonymity makes it a very useful tool for whistleblowing. The infamous WikiLeaks site is one example. This platform, made available by the dark web, enables people to leak information and evidence on conspiracies anonymously to then be leaked to the press in the interest of public information.
The dark web and cyber crime
Of course, it’s not surprising to hear that the dark web is also the hangout for cyber criminals. Not only are there a host of forums where cyber criminals can hang out and chat undetected, but the dark web also makes available a range of toolkits including Ransomware-as-a-service, Malware-as-a-service and Phishing-as-a-service.
Hacking is no longer just a hobby for tech-fanatics wanting to show the world what they can do; there is now a world of cyber crime innovators developing cyber attack tools and selling them on the dark web – it’s a business. These capitalist hackers develop products and use marketing techniques in the same way we do but their products are helping grow an army of cyber criminals.
More Than IT Support – It’s IT Consultancy
At Jupiter IT, we have a proactive approach to cyber security; monitoring your systems on a day-to-day basis. We also include regular cyber security audits as standard with all our contracts. These audits are based on the 5 key controls laid out by the Government-back Cyber Essentials initiative.
At Jupiter IT, we hold the prestigious Cyber Essential Plus Certification and as experts in this standard, can help you become certified too. To find out more, drop us a line – we’re waiting to share our expertise with you.