Deep Web For Academic Reasearch

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1. Introduction

The internet is consisting of three parts: The surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. The surface web is what we use in our day to day life. The deep web is the part of the internet that contains very specific information. A lot of people don’t have access to this information, and it isn’t accessible through search engines either. The last part of the internet is the dark web. It’s the most difficult to reach than the surface or deep web since it’s only accessible through special browsers such as the Tor browser.

2. Body

Talking about deep web mostly, these are pages and databases that are only meant for a certain group of people within an organization. To get access, you need to know the exact web address (URL). In some cases, you need a password as well. Examples of pages on the deep web are some university library databases, reports and journals that only subscribers have access to, and the timeline of your private Facebook account. Moving on to the dark web, the dark web is the sporadic part of the internet. No people, federation and government can commonly access these webs and able to modify it. This is the reason why the dark web is commonly associated with felonious practices. It’s practically impossible to have access to the dark web using a ‘normal’ browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Even in some special browser namely Tor browser you won’t be able to find any ‘dark’ websites ending with .com or .org. Instead, URLs consist of alphanumeric characters and end in .onion. Moreover, the URLs of websites on the dark web changes regularly. Before moving on to the types of websites you’ll find on the dark web, we’ll first explain a little

more about different important terms related to the dark web.

The dark web is full of specialized jargon and technical talk. Lots of people active on the dark web use abbreviations that are unclear to newcomers. That’s why a summary of regularly-used terms can come in handy.

·       2FA: Two-factor-authentication. This is simply a way to better secure your account. Rather than relying solely on your password, you now have to enter the second type of identification-method to gain access to your account. Usually, this is done with a smartphone.

Alpha bay: This was the biggest dark web market after the shutdown of the original Silk Road. When that shut down, most buyers flocked to Alphabay. It didn’t survive for long though.

·       Blockchain: This is the fundamental technology used in Bitcoin. It functions as a public ledger to ensure compliance across its users. It theoretically eliminates the need for private banks.

·       Bridges: Bridges are nodes that you can use to access the Tor network even though this network is banned by your country. A bridge will make it appear as though you are entering the network from a different location and are therefore not restricted to your local barriers. Some people also use it as a way to circumvent their ISP from knowing they accessed the Tor network. This is however not necessary and frowned upon, as this further limits the options available to people who live in repressive states.

BTC: This is the acronym given to Bitcoins. It is still the most widely-used and popular cryptocurrency to date.  

Clearnet: Simply put, the clearnet is everything you can find on the internet via a search engine such as Google. These are all the publicly available websites, do not require any kind of registration or log-in credentials. However, this does not mean that websites that require a log-in are necessarily not part of the clearnet.

CE: Short for Child Extortion. Unfortunately, the dark web contains several pedophile networks through which their members are able to exchange illicit materials of children. There have been various attempts by law enforcement of a wide number of countries and also hacktivists such as the group Anonymous to try to bring down this behavior. Alas, the problem still exists. Occasionally, perpetrators are arrested and convicted. However, the vast majority of these communities persist and there does not appear to be a solution any time soon.

Darknet: The darknet is often used as a synonym for the dark web, although this is not entirely accurate. The darknet encompasses a wider range of the internet that is not technologically restricted to hidden services such as those offered by the Tor network. Rather, any kind of perceived out-of-the-norm behaviour can fall under the definition of the darknet, even if it is not technically speaking a hidden service.

HS: Short for ‘Hidden Services’. These are services found on the dark web that are hidden precisely because they do not track the IP address of its users nor does it broadcast its IP address. Communication is allowed, yet all of the channels are obscured.

LEA/LE: Short for ‘Law Enforcement Agencies/Law Enforcement’. This is an acronym for Tor network users who wish to evade the scrutiny of law enforcement. These actors are present and active in dark markets and they will try to frame you. Know your rights and do not do anything illegal. There is nothing illegal about researching the dark web or browsing the dark web.

Mystery Boxes: A YouTube craze wherein overexcited and poorly-acting individuals from YouTube try to bolster their channels’ viewers through the thrill of the dark web – although dark web vendors do not waste their time sending random strangers convoluted clues and schemes for other people to publicly figure out on YouTube. The videos found on YouTube are most likely fake.

OS (Live or Host): Short for Operating System. A live OS might be an OS that is temporarily loaded from some software such as Virtual Box. A Host OS is an operating system from which you are running the computer, i.e. Windows or macOS.

PGP: Short for ‘Pretty Good Privacy’. This is a cryptographic method that is used by hundreds of thousands of people daily to communicate anonymously and safely.

Red Rooms: Red Rooms are a common myth of the Dark Web. Many people claim that certain types of websites exist where several people pay a fee, gain access to a live stream where there are a torturer and a victim. The Paid visitors of the stream would then be able to order the torturer into acting out any depraved desires the streamers might have. Thankfully, to this day, no actual report of a verified Red Room has ever come in. As far as we know, red rooms are depraved fantasies rather than morbid realities.

Satoshi Nakamoto: The name is most likely a pseudonym for the creator/architect of Bitcoin. It is possible that multiple people collaborated to create it.

Silk Road: This was the original ‘success story’ of the dark web. A young man set up a completely free-market economy for people to compete in. It was shut down in 2013 and was mostly known for being a marketplace for drugs and weapons.

Tails: Tails stands for: “The Amnesiac Incognito Live System.” This is a live version of Linux that helps you install the OS on some device or other.

Tor: The Onion Router: This is the protocol with which you can arrive at an anonymous network (or the dark web).

Vendor: A Vendor is a person that tries to sell goods or services on the dark web on a particular market.

VPN: This is short for a virtual private network. A way to encrypt your data and protect your online privacy.


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