Deep, Dark, Dastardly: The Dark Web and its Origins

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Deep, Dark, Dastardly: The Dark Web and its Origins

Elena Horton, Reporter

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“It wasn’t going to be a box of flowers,” said two men involved in a bomb plot. Michael James Young Jr., a 31 year old inmate who is currently serving a 50 year prison sentence, attempted to assassinate his ex-wife by ordering a bomb via the dark web on February, 28th, 2019.

Michael James Young Jr. on a WIS broadcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a counterfeit phone he had been spending weeks communicating, along with two other inmates, with someone he thought initially to be a foreign explosives dealer on what is known as the dark web. It turned out to be an FBI agent.

“He created this scheme. It was sadistic. It was cruel,” Assistant U.S Attorney Will Lewis told the judge. Sadistic and cruel are only two of many words that could be used to describe the nature of the dark web. But what is the dark web? Where did it come from?

Deeper and Deeper

 

To start, there is a major difference between the Deep and Dark webs.

The internet is made of billions of networks intermingling and connecting, so it’s only natural that the parts you visit everyday– Google, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram and more– only scratches 10% of the information available on the internet.

Infographic depicting the deep vs. the dark web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reason google isn’t able to bring up the 90% is because of how its indexing system works– it crawls, the act of searching for new pages, indexes, the act of saving those pages, and then serves, which is when the bot gives you the information best associated with your search.

Then there’s the dark web. While the deep web is simply a very shy, hard to find section of the internet, the dark web is purposely difficult to find. That exact purpose is to provide a space in which people can anonymously convene without fear of  oppression, censorship, or intimidation.

Info-graphic showcasing how hidden the dark web is to the rest of the internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, the phrase “once it’s on the internet, it stays there forever” is probably one of the first things thought of when someone hears the dark web is ‘anonymous.’ How does the dark web remain anonymous?

Tor, the anonymous internet browser used to access the dark web.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key to dark web anonymity is the IP address used to connect. Depending on what’s being used to enter the dark web, the medium routes and reroutes the address through many different sources. Think of it as an international rubix cube: the IP address is scrambled so if anyone tries to trace it, it’s difficult to trace it back to its original position.

The Dark Web began in 1997 when the NRL created it to cloak U.S intelligence. It was released to the public domain under the web browser, “Tor.”

Tor is a routing network specially built to keep IP addresses anonymous. But don’t confuse this with torrenting– which is an unencrypted file-sharing network.

OnionScan; a dark web investigation tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up to now, the Dark web’s primary use was for people in countries who may be oppressed to contact journalists and get their stories out, or share ideas among one another to escape persecution. However, the anonymity is free to anyone: including the bad guys on the internet.

Bad guys like Michael.

Through Filtered Lenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to browse the Dark Web, someone would need the Tor browser, or some other medium such as one provided from the invisible internet project or free net. Followed by a pathway beforehand to get to sites, as websites in the dark web don’t use “.com” or “.net.

Finally, a VPN is a must-have. On the dark web, it’s possible to allegedly access things such as malware that can be used against someone who’s hated, buy credit card information, illegal drugs, weapons, and more. Even more allegedly, it’s possible to purchase hackers for hire and assassins.

But the dark web isn’t all bad. Once again, the Dark Web allues a venue for expression and speech for those being censored. And although there is certainly villainy afoot on the darkweb, there are hackers working to take down those villains, working as self described vigilantes.

That being said, Young is unfortunately a villain himself. One of many who browse and tour the deep web freely. But, it’s important to recognise, there’s more than just Youngs and other ill-willed people like him on the Deep Web. There are people who exist who’re trying to be heard when their government refuses to adhere.

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