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The Dark Web: What is it?

By Jig Mehta, Marketing Executive | Published 4 Jun 2020

The dark web is term that is used often in the news, when you hear about data breaches and in films used by clandestine groups, but do you really know what it is?

What is the dark web?

The easiest way to understand what the dark web is to imagine that the internet is layered. There are three layers.

  1. The Surface Web: This is the smallest, and accounts for just 4% of the entire internet. However, it’s the layer that consists of everything that’s easily searchable using your search engine. So that will include all your favourite websites.
  2. The Deep Web: This is essentially the cloud and all parts of the internet that you need to use logins and passwords to access. This is accounts for 90% of the Internet.
  3. The Dark Web: This is where you will find illegal activity and is generally only accessible through specialist browsers such as Tor, that allow you to access content anonymously. This accounts for 6% of the Internet.

How did the dark web start?

A branch of the US Navy, that ran cyber command had thousands of analysts spying on people online, However it was easy for them to be tracked, to avoid this the US Navy created The Onion Router (Tor). This browser passed the user through a number of global proxy servers, which anonymised where it had come from.

The open-source software was released online to all to use, so that it could increase the traffic within this space and therefore making harder for them to be identified by others who also may be using the same network.

Intelligent and opportunistic criminals quickly utilised the space to conduct illegal activity in anonymity, this ranges from drugs, guns, breached/leaked data, counterfeit currency to the almost mundane such as netflix hacks and Tesco clubcard vouchers!

Why isn’t it shut down? or policed?

The dark web by its very nature is a difficult place to manage, access is through browsers that hide where and who you are. Additionally, the positive side to the dark web is that it facilitates intelligence services, allows for political protesting, and is used by journalists to communicate. However, high profile arrests have been made and sites have been taken down such as the Silk Road.

What if my data ends up in the dark web?

Information on the dark web is sold and copied multiple times, making it impossible to retrieve or stop this information from being shared. The best option is to understand what data has ended up there and how to mitigate the risk.

Dark Web Monitoring

Select Technology now offers Dark Web Monitoring, our service will monitor, identify and notify you if instances of your business credentials have been found online. We will then advise you on the best course of action to mitigate the risk to your business.

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