5 Common Misconceptions About The Dark Web

The dark web consists of a decentralized network of internet sites that are designed to provide users with a high level of anonymity, by routing all their communications through multiple servers and the utilization of encryption methods.
Like anything that is shrouded with mystery, there are several rumors and inaccurate assumptions that exist regarding the dark web, below are five common misconceptions regarding the dark web: 

1. The dark web’s sole purpose is to help criminals conduct their nefarious plans 

The dark web to the uninformed is commonly thought of as the dingy underbelly of the internet where the criminal underworld conducts their nefarious plans out of the eyes of the authorities. Even if there is some truth to this, the reason why the dark web was conceived may surprise a lot of people, the dark web was actually created to fulfill a positive purpose. 

The dark web was in fact conceived and prototyped by researchers in the US Naval Research Lab, individuals who had recognised the need for anonymity from the huge threat of being under surveillance when surfing the open internet. For example, people who live under oppressive and tyrannical governments where internet access is restrictive and scrutinised, utilise the dark web to remain anonymous. The dark web also helps whistleblowers share their thoughts and browse the internet freely. 

2. Dark web and deep web are interchangeable terms 

The deep web is commonly confused with the dark web, although similar, these terms are considerably different. The deep web refers to any content on the internet that is not indexed by search engines, which makes the content inaccessible to the respective search engines. For example, content that lies behind a paywall or requires login credentials is considered to be a part of the deep web. On the other hand the dark web is considered to be a subset of the deep web and consists of content that is intentionally hidden and only accessible through specific browsers like the Tor browser. 

3. 90 - 96% of the internet is made up of the dark web 

Another common misconception perpetrated mostly by the media is that the dark web makes up a lot more of the internet than it actually does. This misconception is further exacerbated due to the two terms, deep web and dark web being interchangeably used incorrectly. Therefore a common statistic that is thrown around and is believed to be true is that “the dark web makes up 96% of the internet”. The truth is this statistic refers to the size of the deep web, which encompasses 96% of the internet while the dark web is only a subsection of the deep web making up less than 1%.

4. Going on the dark web is illegal 

Apart from individuals on an FBI watch list, it is not inherently illegal to visit the dark web, like discussed above, the dark web does not solely exist as a vehicle for criminal activity, there are a number of sites that are not illegal, in fact, even Facebook has a presence on the dark web. The Tor Project is an anonymous communication channel used by individuals who choose to operate on the dark web. Although going on the dark web is not illegal, it is important to be well informed as that people sometimes may start out on one path on the dark web but end up someplace entirely different where they may get pulled into criminal activity. 

5. Using the dark web makes you completely anonymous 

Although the Tor Browser offers anonymity, it only makes you harder to track while on the dark web, therefore it may be difficult to track you but not impossible. Law enforcement around the world does a great job of monitoring Tor Downloads and even creates bait in the form of dark websites to lure and trap criminals. Therefore, a great VPN and antivirus are useful additional layers of protection when surfing the dark web. 

For organisations just starting to understand the dark web, that important to know is that business-critical data can be leaked onto the dark web and misused by cybercriminals. And to prevent this, you need to know what is dark web monitoring, and how why it's important for businesses today. 

StickmanCyber can set up processes to conduct dark web monitoring, discover any data breaches and instances of company data being available on the dark web, and prevent it from being leveraged by cybercriminals.

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