Beneath the surface of the World Wide Web, there’s a hidden world. The Dark Web is, at first glance, a murky world populated by criminals and the sexually depraved. Here you can hire hitmen, compare the latest recipes for the preparation of human meat, and browse the most cruel, immoral & illegal pornography known to man.

But how easy is it to access this netherworld? Do we need special permission from some shady figure on some dark forum to gain access to the Dark Web? Or do we require some special technical skills to enter this domain of depravity? Today we find out just what strange content populates this dark underworld, in this episode of the Infographics Show, The Dark Web?

First of all, just what is the Dark Web? The Dark Web forms a small part of the deep web and is not indexed by search engines – that means it can’t be found through the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and so forth. This is uncharted territory for the everyday internet user, as we usually use the main search engines to surf our content. Instead, the deep web is explored with peer to peer networks along with larger networks such as Tor, i2P, and Freenet.

Identities and locations of users on the Dark Web are kept secret through a layered encryption technology. While most of the content on the deep web contains nothing bone-chillingly sinister (in fact, much of the content is large databases, libraries, and members only websites, and academic resources), the content that is anonymous (and therefore considered morally questionable) is considered to belong to the Darkside of the deep web – the Dark Net.

To further confuse matters, the Dark Web isn’t the same as the Dark Internet, the latter being the place where scientists store raw data for research. Government agencies are, in theory, supposed to be able to track some of the characters behind this anonymous Dark Web space, but it is tricky, and requires an infinite amount of resources, and isn’t always successful.

But sometimes they hit the jackpot. On July 5th 2017, 26 year-old Canadian Alexandre Cazes was found dead in a Thai police cell after intelligence agencies discovered his whereabouts. He had been running a massive Dark Web marketplace selling drugs, weapons, and other contraband on the underground website Alphabay. Cazes lived a life of luxury in Thailand, owning three houses and four cars – one of which was a Lamborghini.

A computer expert / nerd who had amassed a fortune in Bitcoin,  Cazes had his hand in the dark cookie jar when the law finally caught up with him. Rather than face extradition to a Western prison, Cazes chose to commit suicide in a Thai holding cell where he was found by local cops. So be warned. The Dark Web isn’t for the faint of heart and some of those who travel down there and make a living down there never ever return.  

So let’s take a trip down into the dark recesses of the internet; grab a flashlight and follow us as we travel down into these black markets and seedy chat rooms. The Dark Net, as we found out, is a venue for illegal trade in drugs, weapons, and controlled animal products. But it is also a place where deviant criminals such as pedophiles and terrorists exchange gossip on forums. It is a dark and dirty place, and if you’re thinking of taking a trip there, you better prepare to brush cyber shoulders with some of society’s outcasts. Just when you think you’ve discovered the most morally repulsive website, another one pops up.

A 2014 study carried out by the University of Portsmouth discovered that the most common content on Tor was child pornography. Other brands of sick content include animal porn and revenge porn, and perhaps even animal revenge porn! It is also a place for hackers to hang out. Groups such as xDedic, hackforum, Trojanforge and TheReadDeal meet up here and, in a strange twist of cyber fate, some of these groups have been known to target and uncover the pedophile groups who also hang out there. So in some instances, the Dark Web polices itself.               

Other questionable content to be found on the Dark Web include recipes for cooking human meat and sites to hire a hitman. Whether the sites offer practical services or are of a more entertainment nature is open to conjecture. You will also find political whistleblowing sites and cyber currency discussion sites. Travel on the Darkside is notoriously slow, so don’t be expecting a lightning fast dark vacation in hell. With traffic bouncing through the computers of volunteer networks, the traffic is continually encrypted and pushed through multiple proxies, meaning some pages will sit there haunting you for apparent eternity.  

If you feel it’s time to dip your toe in this murky pond, know that technically, it’s not that difficult to get there. You will need to install Tor and use the Vidalia Control Panel. Some users recommend putting a strip of tape over your webcam to prevent dark eyes from watching you as you surf. A tin foil hat is also optional. If you do travel down there to the dark side, be safe, and be warned, that you may discover something even more disturbing than the things we already mentioned. You could be one click away from something that will change your perception of the world forever.    

So, have you ever explored the Dark Web? If so, what did you find? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to watch our other video called Marianas Web – The Scariest Part Of The Internet. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time!

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