When was the last time you couldn’t join an exclusive club because you were an outsider? What about a club so exclusive, they don’t even want you to know who they really are.
If you don’t have your finger on the pulse of the outer limits of the internet, Tor is a free service that shields you from government surveillance as an anonymous user. Funny enough, Tor’s infancy developed with a lot of government assistance and is now used by the military, NSA, and CIA for their own ninja stealth-browsing needs.
But what’s the main reason people have used it?
To gain access to the dark web.
Despite what grim films portray the dark web as, it’s not just for buying drugs and hiring assassins. A lot of the groups that hang out on the dark web don’t partake in any nefarious activities that would attract a team of federal agents to kick down your door.
Common practices can include:
- Book clubs
- Natural disaster preparation guides
- Fringe social networks
- Encrypted emails
- Free entertainment content (films, television, music, etc.)
- Free textbooks
- Basically, a lot of free content
It’s also used by whistle-blowers, investigative journalists, people organizing against repressive governments, law enforcement agencies, and others who need to shield their identities and locations. There are legitimate discussion groups, news sites, and publications there.
But, and this is a HUGE but…
There are many horrible circles gathered together on the dark web to hurt others. Here are the top three worst offenders.
Sadly, over 80 percent of dark-web visits relate to pedophilia. This ranges from sharing images and videos to actually participating in this heinous act. The “black market” also deals with other illegal interests, such as:
- Human trafficking
- and many, many more terrible acts
Not only can veteran dark web users steal personal data, but they regularly host “hackathons” for fun. This entails finding a victim’s address to flex how skilled they are as hackers. Whether it’s medical records, financial numbers, social security numbers, and other personal information, all is fair game for these dangerous data seekers.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of subgroups all with their own dangerous agendas.
The Very Real Danger of the Dark Web
The dark web is not some haven for criminals to hide from law enforcement. Thankfully, police catch child abuse hosts on a regular basis.
But new users who aren’t interested in the worst of the worst can still suffer psychological damage from exposure to underground communities. Coming into contact with experienced dark users can harm inexperienced onlookers.
Privacy concerns are also a huge risk when accessing the dark web. If you don’t properly protect yourself, someone can easily track you down and threaten you in a variety of ways.
Do not download any files unless you’re absolutely sure you know what you’re doing. Unverified files can take over your computer to harvest personal data and even download child pornography to your hard drive and have you arrested.
If you think about it, the dark web is just a reflection of the best and worst of humanity. Depending on your intentions, services and information found on there can prove to be useful.
But many criminals serving life in prison now know, satisfying dark urges can destroy your life forever. What you do there is your business. But don’t act surprised if you hear a knock on your door.