things to know about the dark web

Top 10 Dark Web facts you need to know

By its very nature, the dark web is a mysterious place– and sometimes dangerous. Hackers, child predators, scammers, drug dealers, and a whole slew of nefarious players reside there. But what exactly goes on there? Here are 10 interesting facts I found about the dark web.

Tor– the government creation

The tool used to access the dark web is Tor. With such a negative stigma, it is fair to assume some Russian mob in Moscow or some super evil genius who created it. Nope!

During the 90s, internet security was a near frontier. To protect the military’s online communications, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washing DC created “The Onion Router” or Tor. It provided the anonymity and privacy they wanted. However, it had one flaw.

If you’re the only entity with this super-secure network no one else has– it’s pretty obvious who’s using it. However, to increase its power, they released it to the world. It makes Tor one of the best ways to stay private online.

Your personal and financial information is on the dark web (or will be soon!)

It’s no secret, you can buy nearly anything on the dark web. One of the biggest products is information. Specifically, credit card info, social security numbers, addresses, birthdates, driver licenses (pics and all), background checks, credit reports– you name it, it’s there!

With that said, data breaches happen often and are big. In early May 2020, hacker group ShinyHunters stole over 200 million records from 13 companies. And that’s only one breach. Now, don’t forget about the Equifax hack in 2017 that’s still affecting people to this day.

Sadly, the fact is, no one is safe on the dark web.

You can buy drugs, guns, and hitmen

Ok, most of you likely know this already. Hell, it’s the most well-known aspect of the Dark Web. But just in case– yes, it’s the truth. The Dark Web is home to marketplaces similar to eBay and Amazon where you can buy the aforementioned information, drugs, and other illegal things I don’t condone.

Image by Sammy-Williams from Pixabay

When it comes to hitmen, you can pay for the “service.” Unfortunately, the likelihood of it being executed (pun intended) is abysmal. I can find one dark-web-commissioned assassination comes from Russia is a cop killed by two teenagers hired off a credit card and fraud site.

Sex traffickers and child predators run wild

Sadly, another dark web fact is many forums and sites cater to child rapists, sex traffickers, and the like. In 2019, the Feds took down “the world’s largest child pornography marketplace.” The site was set up by a South Korean man named Jong-Woo Son.

Son was 23 at the time of the arrest. His collection totaled over 200,000 videos involving disgusting acts with children. Users would purchase access using bitcoin. Son made over $750,000 over 7,000 transactions. The marketplace was able to run for three years before the feds took it down.

That’s only a single person caught. There are countless others.

The Dark Web is 25 X the size of the Clearnet

First, I know the dark web and the deep web aren’t the same. Secondly, they’re often used interchangeably– stop being so pedantic! Anyway, the dark web fact: Google itself says it only indexes 4% of the internet. That leaves a whopping 94% for the deep web and its darker parts.

Remember, a search for “taco” brings back about 237 million results!

Taco search results

Red Rooms aren’t real

Honestly, you’ll have better luck on clearnet. A “Red Room” refers to a site where someone is either tortured or murdered(or both) over a live stream. There’s usually a hefty price paid in bitcoin. And the live stream and payment are key– we can found gore and murder videos on Google for free.

However, Tor is notoriously slow. Loading a simple webpage takes long enough, imagine streaming a video. Logistically, it wouldn’t quite work out for the dark web. That doesn’t mean someone demented enough wouldn’t stream something like that on YouTube. In fact, the dark web is the last place you might find that.

The long arm of the law reaches the Dark Web

Law enforcement all over the world knows everything that happens on the dark web. There are thousands of people busted and arrested thinking there were safe on Tor. Here’s just a few you should check out:

And you can find anecdotes on Reddit and other forums of buyers having packages seized and/or LEO showing up at the door. Do your due diligence if you choose to endeavor.

No matter how many they knock down, another will soon pop up to fill the void.

Bitcoin is king and no one knows its creator

Sure– there are other, more secure cryptocurrencies like Monero and Ethereum. They have their drawbacks, though. They’re a little difficult to use and don’t have nearly the user base. But Bitcoin reigns king. Plus, BTC is famous.

Decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are forms of online money used to buy things both on the clearnet and the dark web. Bitcoin’s creator used the moniker “Satoshi Nakamoto” on internet forums. To this day, no one knows his, her, or their identity. Though many have claimed the title, none of us can say for certain.

A common misconception among your average internet user is that even downloading and going on Tor will have LEO at their door. This is simply not true– if you live in most of the world. Using Tor is perfectly fine.

However, in places with strict internet censorship like China, the use of Tor is illegal and blocked behind their Great Firewall. You can read this article about the lengths they go to to keep their citizens under control.

But for the most part, you’re free to browse Tor. In fact, you can even log into Facebook from the dark web.

There are sites with malicious intent– be cautious

There are people all over the net looking to scam and steal. The dark web is a playground for them. Many sites loaded with malware, ransomware, and viruses lure you in and take you for everything you got.

The adage holds: if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Never download anything and be wary of every onion link you choose to visit.

Do you know any other interesting dark web facts? Drop them down below!

About Cortez Tolbert

Word wizard and traveler. Finding my place in the world by finding places in the world.

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