A recent investigation conducted by Intelliagg and Darksum, two companies known for intelligence gathering and information mapping, set out on a quest to discover the true extend of the Dark Web. Before we get into the findings of the study, if you were unaware you are on what is called the surface web right now. There is something known as the Deep Web and there is something known as the Dark Web, these two are not the same thing.
Surface Web vs Deep Web vs Dark Web
To try and put it simply, the surface web is any part of the internet that can be accessed by standard search engines such as Bing or Google. The Deep Web consists of dynamically-generated internet content which can not be accessed by standard search engines and instead requires specific technology such as Tor to access. The Deep Web as a whole is significantly larger than the surface web which is known to host over a billion web sites. Lastly, the Dark Web refers to any Web page that has been intentionally concealed to hide in plain sight or reside within a separate, but public layer of the standard Internet. The most common example of this the use of a .onion site which turns a web site into a random configuration of numbers and letter followed by a .onion to form a web link. “The Dark Web is classified as a small portion of the Deep Web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard web browsers.” Source: http://www.brightplanet.com/2012/10/deep-web-and-dark-web-major-differences-between-confusingly-similar-names/#more-1024
Getting back to the study, using a custom series of automated scripts, researchers scanned and indexed every .onion site they could reach – which turned out to be approximately 29,532 websites. This number war far lower then previous estimates and in an interesting twist of events researches noted that nearly half of the .onion sites, or 54% of all sites uncovered throughout the investigation “disappeared” by the end of the investigation. Researches speculate this phenomenon was a result of “temporary domains set up for cyber-crime campaigns, probably used to host C&C servers or other types of temporary services.” Further suggesting that the Dark Net is much smaller than even the preliminary number led on.
Last December a group known as the Anonymous Intelligence Agency with the help of Red Cult and partners in Russia, Anonymous tipped the FBI to the location of over 7,000 illegal Dark Net .onion sites. If the numbers in this new study are indeed accurate, the A.I.A may have dealt a much larger blow to the Dark Net than anyone realized. For the same reasons that the A.I.A did this is the same reason that nearly 71% of internet users agree that the Dark Net should be shut down. Simply put, the Dark Net is not a noble tool used for anonymity or privacy, it is a tool used by criminals, scammers and black hats to get away with things they otherwise would not.
In fact this reputation was the very reason the researchers conducted this study in the first place – to see just how much of the Dark Net is malicious/illegal content. “We believe it is important for the public to gain a better understanding of the contents of the dark web in order for there to be a proper debate about its nature, dangers – and potential benefits. Misunderstanding about the dark net is rife, and has been fueled by often misleading media coverage.” According to a small sample size of 1,000 web sites, researchers estimated that 68% of the Dark Net is used to host illegal activity.
Download A Full Copy of Their Report Here: http://www.deep-light.net/
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