Just like the Universe is a dark, deep mysterious place, of which we only know a certain part, the internet too is a far wide place that harbors many secrets we don’t know much about. In fact, we can still gauge the depth of the Universe, but in the World Wide Web, it often seems like the online world is only as much as we see, when that is not so.
Deep Web, also referred to as Deep Net, hidden web or the invisible net, is the content on the World Wide Web which is not usually seen in the search engines. We all know that there are millions of websites on the internet. In fact you will find thousands of websites on a single niche alone. But how many of those websites do we actually look into? Trend says that most people do not look into the search items beyond the first two or three pages, sometimes even lesser, in the search engine. So this means that a vast amount of information and the websites which have that information are overlooked by us.
But the concept of deep web is even deeper than that. Deep web refers to the content which is not indexed by the search engines; let alone having a low page rank. Deep web or deep net was first discovered in 2009 when there was a buzz that a lot of illegal activities were taking place in the Freenet Darknet zone.
The internet we see is just the surface…
How do you spend most of your time on the internet? Surfing on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit? University research has shown that those make up only 1% of the internet. There are vast uncharted lands on the internet which are off the internet maps – no one even knows where you might come across something that is yet undiscovered.
There are so many broken links – that is, sites which are not that much popular, but have valuable information. Sometimes you might also come across other sites which have dynamic pages. This is again because the search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing crawl across the websites like a spider and index the static pages only. This is why the dynamic pages, the ones which get generated when you ask a question to an online database, do not get indexed by the search engines.
This again has its reason. The web crawler system which is used by the search engines is not able to follow the links to go through the deeper contents behind that search item. In other words “When the web crawler arrives at a [database], it typically cannot follow links into the deeper content behind the search box” says Nigel Hamilton, who used to run a search engine to explore the deeper web, called Turbo10 – which is now out of function.
So what really goes on in this side of the internet?
Not everything that glitters is gold. The deep web is called the dark net for a reason. These websites are carefully made so that they never get indexed, and yet, those who want to find such items on the internet, can find them by surfing in a different way. There are many things which you will find here such as:
- Counterfeit Currencies: Yes, fake money. You will be able to purchase fake Euros, dollars, pounds and yen with this currency. You can get fake notes worth $2500 with six hundred dollars on these web portals. These even come with the promise of being UV effective and them passing the typical tests.
- Drugs: When you can find counterfeit currencies, then drugs are a given. There used to be this drug shop which has now been shuttered, known as The Silk Road. It made business worth $200 million over 28 months – so you can fathom how popular it became. But what’s more shocking is that people actually discovered this store via deep net.
- Arms and Ammunition: Weapons such as guns, explosives – even the C4, can be found easily via this dark net. So you can understand how safe these perimeters become now. Anyone can buy these things sitting in the comfort of their own living room on their computers. This is why there should be a check on the virtual deep web.
- Human Organs: Yes, those too! In this gruesome, dark world of the deep web, you will find the online racket of illegal human organ supply. Here black market kidneys are sold for $200,000, hearts are sold for $120,000, and a pair of eyes may be sold for $1,500 and livers for a whopping $150,000.
- Hitmen: Not just Hitmen by choice; these are also supplied by firms which have their own tagline. For example, there was this firm called HP Lovestar Monster C’thulhu, which advertised itself with the tagline “permanent solution to common problems”. You can only imagine how competitive their market is, that they had to advertise themselves on this deep web of illegal racket. Oh, and these Hitmen also accept payments via Bitcoin and provide pictographic proof of the dead victim. No, we are not kidding!
- Forged documents: Fake citizenship papers, passports, licenses, fake degrees and immigration papers, are all just a matter of some simple clicks on this side of the alley. The forged passports of UK and USA are available for $1000 while fake driver’s license can be obtained only for $200.
It is like the mobsters have taken their business online – now that online shopping is such a huge craze. It just seems like the other side of the civilization exists side by side on the internet, besides the normal ones.
How one can access this side of the web portal
- The Onion Router – it is one of the few software programs that gives you access to the dark internet. When 6000 servers are hiding the page request origins, the possibility of the authorities tracing your request are practically impossible through this software.
- Chat Rooms: Everyone knows the hidden lurks within the chat rooms. Online criminals who are looking to make a deal, are usually found hiding behind the alpha numeric Web addresses, especially those which are private and can be accessed only through invitation.
- Secret Search Portals: Last year in 2014, a search engine called Grams was distributed by an online hacker. This was the first time such a search portal was distributed which listed only the darker internet pages. It includes an “I’m Feeling Lucky” button just like Google. There are targeted ads on this search engine, where the drug lords are competing for clicks. It seems like their whole “territory” has gone online now.
- Crime Wiki: These wiki sites are carefully organized and hidden by categories such as viruses, drugs, hacks, etc. One cannot simply understand that these are a part of the illegal activities. Only those who are looking for such illicit items can read the description and find their desired item; these things are hidden in such a way.
So how do these work?
- Online payment: Online payment methods such as bitcoin and e-wallet help to easily carry out these transactions in broad daylight in one’s own space.
- Cloud computing: Online criminals open their website with reputable firms which provide a solid security measure. This helps them to cross any security related threat from the virtual sphere. A study recently brought into light that about 16% malware & cyber attacking in the world was distributed using Amazon Cloud channels.
- Hire Hackers: Those criminals who are not well versed with computers can always hire hackers.
Other methods include having duplicitous crime call centers where the employees are ready to play any duplicitous role for you. This is the scene of the internet “underbelly” or the dark net, at present.
Our intention of carrying out this article is not to spread any malicious intent; instead we believe that everyone who spends a good amount of their time on the internet should in fact know about the darker side of things, so they can keep themselves safe. We believe that the internet is a medium that is controlled by no government or organization; and hence we ought to keep it safe and spread the word about such illegal content floating online so we can find measures to curb them and keep the internet as a safe and compelling medium for everyone. Please leave your thoughts below.