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3 things you need to know about the darknet

Beneath the surface of the internet we all know lies a second network known as the darknet.

user iconReporter
Tue, 25 Jul 2023
3 things you need to know about the darknet
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The darknet is a hidden part of the internet that is not indexed by traditional search engines, such as Google, and requires special software, like the TOR browser, to access. It has garnered a reputation for being a hotbed of illicit marketplaces and anonymous dealings.

In this article, we’ll explore three essential things you need to know about the darknet.

It offers anonymity and privacy


One of the most defining characteristics of the darknet is the high level of anonymity it offers its users. Traditional internet activities often leave a digital trail that can be traced back to the user’s IP address. However, on the darknet, individuals can browse websites and communicate without revealing their identity or location. This level of privacy attracts people who may have legitimate reasons for wanting to protect their online activities, such as whistleblowers, journalists working on sensitive stories, or citizens living under oppressive regimes.

On the flip side, this anonymity has also facilitated illegal activities, making the darknet a haven for cyber criminals. Various illicit goods and services, such as drugs, weapons, stolen data, and hacking tools, are bought and sold on darknet marketplaces, often using cryptocurrencies for added anonymity. Many infamous hacking groups also host their sites on the darknet, where they release stolen data.

It’s crucial to understand that while the darknet provides a layer of privacy, engaging in illegal activities can still have severe legal consequences.

Cyber security risks

While the darknet can shield users from some surveillance and tracking, it is not without its own set of cyber security risks. Many websites on the darknet can be potential traps, hosting files and software infected with malware that can compromise users’ systems and steal sensitive information. Moreover, some darknet marketplaces can disappear overnight in what is called an exit scam, where the operators disappear with users’ funds.

Additionally, law enforcement agencies around the world have been increasingly cracking down on darknet criminal activities. Several high-profile arrests and takedowns of darknet marketplaces have occurred in recent years. The perception of complete anonymity on the darknet can lead some users to engage in risky behaviour, unaware that their actions may not be as hidden as they think.

Dual nature and ethical dilemmas

The darknet’s duality is a complex aspect that sparks ethical debates. While it offers a platform for freedom of expression and privacy for some, it also harbours illegal and harmful activities. The anonymity that enables activists to communicate securely can also protect criminals. As a result, discussions arise about the balance between safeguarding individual rights and enforcing the law.

For anyone who wishes to traverse the darknet – for whatever reason – it’s essential to be aware of the potential consequences and exercise caution.

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