Demystifying the Dark Web: What underbelly of the Internet represents

For those hearing it for the first time, the term "Dark Web" often sends shivers down the spine, and conjures up memories of illegal or unethical activities - as the hidden, encrypted Internet has earned a reputation as an archaic rock under which lurks criminals and black hat hackers.

While devious activity does exist, the Dark Web is a bit more than just crawling with creepy criminals with intent on swiping and selling data, drugs, and other illicit goods.

Though, the Dark Web has become notoriously famous for hosting nefarious hacker forums and illegal markets, notwithstanding its infamous reputation, research by the security firm Terbium Labs proves the Dark Web isn't exclusively a haven for irrepressible criminals.

The dark web has often been confused with the "Deep web", which better refers to the parts of the web not indexed by search engines.

Accessible only by using a secure browser like Tor, the Dark Web's notorious reputation is well-earned, and the hidden internet is undeniably dangerous. And the biggest mistake any organization can make regarding the Dark Web is to pretend it doesn't exist.

Albeit, the Dark Web and .onion URLs, the top level domain designated for encrypted sites, are accessible only by using Tor and SSL, there isn't a 100% guarantee of privacy.

According to Terbium Labs analysis, Nearly 17.7% of the encrypted internet consists of dead websites. 12.3% of illegal Dark Web activity is related to illegal drug trafficking, and another 3.2% is diverted pharmaceutical trafficking. Fraud and hacking each consist of only 1.3% of Dark Web activity.

The report also found that although criminal activity is ever present, 54.5% of Dark Web content is legal traffic posted by tech companies like Facebook, the U.S. State Department and other government organizations, and journalists and activists.

There are plenty of reasons companies and individuals may want to access the Dark Web. While Organizations in particular may want to monitor Dark Web portals for stolen corporate account information.

Facebook's encrypted site, located at facebookcorewwwi.onion, is a feature-rich method of accessing the social network using end-to-end encryption.

However, Internet users should be cautious as the Dark Web is increasingly accessible, and the encrypted web is not necessarily safe, and there's high potential to encounter dubious or obviously illegal contents.
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