What is the Darknet?

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Who created the darknet?

The concept of an anonymous online communication network – the key principle of the darknet – goes back to the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) in the 1960s. The experimental computer network from the 1960s was the forerunner of the Internet and the Darknet that emerged later also goes back to it. Darknet and ARPANET are based on the same basic principle: At the core, it is about secure correspondence.

The 1980s were the hour of birth of the data oases. Data oases worked in a similar way to tax havens: They made it possible to export large amounts of data to countries with lax laws, where it was inaccessible to domestic authorities.

In the 1990s, the phenomenon of illegal music streaming came along with the Internet. Gradually the realization took hold that the internet was a place where you could get anything imaginable anytime. So it was only a matter of time before the network became a hub for even more illegal transactions.

The release of Freenet on March 30th, 2000 marks the „official” start of the Darknet. The decentralized peer-to-peer network was designed to offer better protection against attacks and espionage by authorities and state actors. Freenet was invented by Ian Clarke, who developed the underlying concept and required software tools while studying at Edinburgh University in the UK. Although Freenet did not gain a large fan base, it boosted the demand for anonymous internet access.

In 2002 Tor was created , a private network for anonymous surfing on the Internet. Tor changed the face of the internet forever. By providing an environment in which one can surf the Internet freely and anonymously, the creators of Tor opened a portal to the underworld of the previously known Internet and created a breeding ground for cryptocurrencies, illegal trading forums such as Silk Road and their use by hackers and cyber criminals etc.

What is the Darknet used for?

You may be familiar with the term darknet from the media and news. The reason for this is as follows: This part of the network consists of hidden websites that cannot be found using conventional search engines. Darknet websites use encryption software to keep the identity of their users and their whereabouts secret. This makes the darknet the ideal platform for illegal activities. There you will find a variety of offers from illegally sold drugs to pornography and online gambling.

What is the Deep Web?

Wait a minute, then what is the deep web? The deep web is hidden too, if you will, but it includes better-quality websites – password-protected email accounts, corporate intranets, online consumer bank account pages, government databases, and private websites that can only be accessed with a username and password can access.

So the deep web is largely harmless. The Darknet, on the other hand, represents a small subset of the Deep Web that has established itself as a hub for illegal activities. But there are legitimate reasons to visit this potentially dangerous region of the Internet.

For example, regime critics who want to escape political persecution by their government use the seclusion of the Darknet as a platform for exchange. Other users seek out the „dark web” to seek medical advice on complaints that they do not want to disclose out of shame, and journalists sometimes use it to remain anonymous themselves or to protect the identity of their sources.

Would you like to learn more about this hidden part of the internet? This guide provides more information. But be careful: the darknet can be dangerous. Those who use it for illegal activities run the risk of prosecution and jail. Also, depending on which websites you visit and what you do there, you could run into cyber criminals and scammers trying to inject malware into your devices or steal your personal information.

Darknet: the facts

Yes, the darknet is often used by cyber criminals. Journalists, law enforcement agencies, and other legitimate users also seek it out. Investigative news organizations run websites on the Darknet to interact with sources who want to remain anonymous. Even a well-known social network has a presence on the Darknet for users in whose countries this network is prohibited.

Of course, the darknet has also earned a bad reputation as a black market for drug trafficking, prohibited activities, and illegal pornography. This has the following reason: The websites of the Darknet depend on two anonymity-ensuring software services: Tor and I2P. These programs encrypt the traffic and hide the IP addresses of the servers that host these websites. This makes it difficult to find out where and by whom they are hosted, even though they can be visited. This anonymity makes the darknet attractive to many types of criminals.

What is the content of the Darknet?

The Darknet has at least partially earned its shabby reputation. Basically, it is possible for users to buy and sell weapons, drugs, counterfeit money, third-party online accounts, credit card numbers and much more there. You can also find software there that can be used to gain access to other people’s computers. But it should be emphasized again that the Darknet is not only used for criminal activities. Here you will also find online editions of books that have long been out of print, a collection of political coverage from the largest news portals, and several websites run by whistleblowers to uncover cases of economic and political corruption.

Cryptocurrency

Without the advent of cryptocurrency, the darknet would likely not be nearly as successful. Why? With these virtual currencies one can conduct transactions without knowing the identity or the whereabouts of the transaction partner. Their anonymity makes cryptocurrencies the ideal medium of exchange in the „dark network”.

One might think that it is safe to buy goods on the Darknet as long as you pay with an online currency and thus keep your identity secret. But that is not necessarily the case. After all, it is precisely because of its anonymity that the Darknet is attractive to fraudsters and criminals. Even if you use a virtual currency, you could be a victim of scammers. You may never receive the items that you have already paid for. The scammers may send you a completely different product than the one you ordered. Many of the websites on the Darknet offer little protection.

Black Markets and Secret Services

The Darknet is perhaps best known as a platform for black markets where visitors can buy illegal drugs. Silk Road is a good example. This website was a notorious drug hub. In 2013 she was taken offline by the American FBI. A new version of the website went online at the end of the same year, but it too was shut down. Its founder was arrested in late 2014 and sentenced to life in prison with no prospect of parole. AlphaBay was another popular online black market selling a plethora of illegal products. The portal was closed in 2017.

More criminal activity

The darknet has also built a reputation as a platform for other criminal activities, particularly pornography – including child pornography – and illegal firearms. Rumor has it that you can even hire a hit man there.

Our advice? Should you decide to visit the Darknet, be careful what you click and who you interact with so as not to inadvertently view or view questionable or illegal content.

Is the Darknet illegal?

Surfing the Darknet is not illegal. Buying banned drugs or firearms from a website on the Darknet is highly illegal. The same applies, of course, to hiring a hit man or downloading child pornography.

Think about your safety

There are legitimate websites on the darknet, but if you search for illegal activity there you could run into serious trouble. So be careful what you access when you are in the „dark network”.

Darknet browser

Tor is a popular browser for anonymous web searches. It is also often used to surf websites on the Darknet.

Tor stands for „The Onion Routing Project” (English for „Project for routing according to the onion system”). The browser was developed by the United States Navy. It has been available to the public since 2004. You can download the browser from torproject.org . But first you have to find the websites on the darknet that you want to go to. And that is still a tricky task.

Use a VPN

Get a private network, or VPN for short, to protect your privacy when doing banking, shopping or surfing the Internet. A VPN ensures that you remain anonymous by providing you with a private network over a public Internet connection. This is how you can prevent cyber criminals from eavesdropping on your WiFi connection and intercepting the data you are sending or receiving. With Secure VPN , you can secure your online activities with highly secure encryption to increase the security and privacy of data transfers.

Be careful while surfing and never reveal personal information

Be careful when visiting the darknet. Even if you have legitimate reasons to venture into this corner of the internet, you run the risk of unknowingly running into a few nasty corners. Never reveal personal information or do anything online that you wouldn’t do in real life.