Darknet: Dark Side of the Web?
The part of the web that is readily available to us barely scratches the surface (4%) of the huge iceberg that web actually is and is called the Surface Web.
Hidden underneath are the Deep Web and Dark Net which though sound extremely complicated and illegal, aren’t really so.
Deep Web is the part of the web that is not searched by search engines.
They require special permissions to access.
For example: when we open Gmail, we are directed to our mail account. We cannot access this on any search engine. This is part of the deep web.
Dark Net cannot be searched by search engines, cannot be accessed by our average browser.
Dark Net has its own specific browser Tor.
Dark Net allows free web hosting and is open to everyone.
TOR: The Onion Routing
Dark Net does not connect via traditional Routing, it uses Onion Routing.
Onion Routing works like an Onion, peeling off layer by layer at each hop.
Each layer in Onion routing is encrypted with a key specific to the node it transmits through.
Suppose we want to access a dark website; we register on it as “Imvader”.
When we try to access the dark web site on TOR, TOR creates an onion.
Our information is the core of the onion, all other layers are encrypted addresses to other nodes.
TOR first sends this onion to a random node.
This node uses its key to decrypt the first layer of the onion to get the next address and transmits it.
This goes on till finally we reach the last proxy.
The Nth proxy only knows that N-1 proxy sent it the packet and it must be sent to N+1. Nothing more.
The last proxy will then send it to the actual receiver.
The receiver will now peel off the last layer and decrypt it to find the actual information.
Now, the receiver knows this packet came from “Imvader”, but not who we are or where we are.
This ensures no traceability and anonymity on the dark web.
1. Dark Web is illegal: Dark Web is anonymous, but not illegal. A large part of the dark web uses the anonymity offered by dark web for illegal activities, but the dark web as a whole is not considered illegal. There are many legal websites we can browse on the Dark Web.
2. TOR is illegal: TOR is openly funded by Google, US Dept of State, and many more companies to support free internet and privacy for people. It is 100% legal to use TOR, till you do not access illegal websites.
3. Dark Web is completely anonymous: You never know what information the proxies are capturing about you. There can also be honey traps.