Dangers of the dark web

Elizabeth Alexander, Trending Editor

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While the internet is often deemed a place of knowledge and entertainment, many dangers lurk within it, but it is the dark web that conceals horrifying, but true realities that could affect anyone who isn’t careful.

Most dark web networks are accessed through Tor, an specific type of internet browser. But even from there, accessing the dark web is both incredibly easy and difficult. While there is an incredibly high amount of anonymity involved to conceal your identity with Tor, gaining permission to be a part of a certain kind of dark web community is usually only access through mutual friends or acquaintances. This would involve one having to associate with a member of a community and gain enough trust to be allowed access.

From there, one is already risking his or her safety upon entrance, because while most — if not all — users are anonymous, the ability to track IP addresses and personal information is near child’s play for some hackers and criminals involved in the community. Through these means, it’s as easy to become a victim as it is a criminal, intentionally or not. Just by browsing or searching anything potentially illegal can lead you to being targeted by federal agents posing as community members.

Another prominent component in the dark web is the concept of trading, very commonly along the Silk Road, a trading network used to exchange contraband for bitcoin. Bitcoin is a type of virtual currency exchanged for goods. According to IBM Security, 70 percent of the goods exchanged on the silk web were drugs of varying types. Over the past few years, the Silk Road has been seized twice by the federal government, but this has only been the motivation for people to create Silk Road Reloaded, just a copy of the original network.

Then, of course, there is the segment of the dark web that is always highly emphasized and spoken about, and that is the portion regarding communities and websites centered around pedophilia and child abuse. The level of anonymity that most dark web communities provide allow individuals to express their twisted fantasies and interests without consequence, but they are rather encouraged and praised. Forums regarding different drugs and which are best to use on children are scaled based on how long they last and how they affect the child’s behavior and ability to respond. Just browsing these forums can put any at potential risk.

Getting involved in these activities such as trading and purchasing contraband can lead to some serious consequences, from being tracked and stalked by strangers or those involved with the federal government. While morbid curiosity is not always a bad thing, the dark web is not a play to answer one’s questions, and it is best to just avoid digging into it.

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Dangers of the dark web