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Deep dive into the Dark Web

April 11, 2017


What is the Dark Web?

The dark web is a part of the World Wide Web made up of a variety of anonymous networks, untraceable online activity and non-referenced URLs and domains. It is only through software that enables users to browse these networks anonymously. The most common dark web network is TOR (The Onion Router).

TOR was created by US military researchers to exchange intelligence information in an anonymous way. They release it into the public domain with the purpose of creating noise to hide their messages. TOR has since spread, becoming an important piece of the Dark Web.

The US government built and funded TOR and is still their major source of financing.


Where is the Dark Web located?



Who uses the Dark Web?

While the Dark Web has been infamous for hosting bad content, it also enables people to conceal their identity for legitimate purposes.




  • Whistle-blowers: Information can be passed to journalists anonymously without fear of censorship or retribution.
  • Security Departments: Going undercover or digging through seized data; these are just some of the techniques that police all over the globe are using to find and convict Dark Web criminals.
  • Citizens or activists of highly oppressive regimes: Countries with strict censorship laws use the Dark Web to access books, news, educational content and even social media, in a secure way.



  • Criminal gangs: The Dark Web facilitates criminal activity, including counterfeit documents, gun trading, sale of drugs, child pornography, and more. It allows users to communicate anonymously without the threat of surveillance.
  • Terrorists: Terrorist groups, like ISIS, use the Dark Web to communicate plans and share intelligence.
  • Child pornographers: One of the uses of the Dark Web is the distribution of child abuse content.


What can be found on the Dark Web?



What is the current size of the Dark Web?

Although it’s nearly impossible to quantify the number of active sites due to the nature of the TOR network, according to a recently OnionScan report, the Dark Web has shrunk in size from 30,000 sites approximately in 2016, to 4,400 in 2017. The size is significantly lower after the hack of the Dark Web hosting service, Freedom Hosting II, that was carried out in February 2017 by an Anonymous group.


How to protect your data from the Dark Web?

The web has many different dimensions, and some are more public than others. Cybercriminals are experts at covering their tracks, so don’t risk leaving stones unturned. Monitor activity lurking in the depths of the Dark Web to protect your corporate assets from every angle.

Boost your awareness of what’s going on in the underground and Dark Web, observe malicious activity targeting your organization and proactively prevent attacks with the Blueliv Dark Web module.