Sandeep Rathore

Sandeep Rathore is a freelance writer and cybersecurity enthusiast.

6 Dark Web Myths Perpetuated by the Mainstream Media

How do you know the dark web? Many people know this term from movies or news reports.
Like any misunderstood technology, the dark web also has some myths around it.
In today’s post, I’m going to bust the six dark web myths.
But before that, let’s first talk little about the different types of web.
Image Credit: CISO Platform
Surface Web
The surface web (also known as clearnet, indexable web, or visible web) is the portion of the web that is available to all.
You can easily access websites like Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc. Web spiders of search engines keep on crawling and indexing pages on the Internet. When you search for any query, the search engines retrieve the relevant page.
Deep Web
The deep web (also known as hidden web or invisible web) is a portion of content that cannot be found using search engines because the content is not indexed by search engines. Deep web content is hidden behind HTTP forms.
The deep web can include everyday stuff like web mails, online banking, video on demand. You can access the deep web content via direct URL. And you may also require passwords or any other security pass to go beyond surface web pages to visit the deep web.
Dark Web
Some people use the dark web and the deep web interchangeably. That is incorrect.
The dark web is the subset of the deep web. While anything that is not indexed by search engines falls in the deep web, the dark web content is purposely hidden and requires special browsers (like Tor) to access it.
Though the objective of the dark web was to offer an anonymous forum for free expression in countries suffering from oppression and censorship, the dark web has become a hotbed for criminal activities, such as buying and selling malware, stolen credit card information, illegal drugs, etc.
According to a study conducted by Dr. Michael McGuire, 60% of the dark web listings (excluding drugs) can potentially harm enterprises.
In May 2019, the FBI seized DeepDotWeb, a website for facilitating access to illegal dark web sites and marketplaces.
Due to frequent negative news, the dark web has been surrounded by many myths.

Dark Web Myths You Should Know

1. The Dark Web Is Immense
No, the dark web is not massive. In fact, it is a tiny fraction of the deep web.
The deep web includes academic databases, company networks, banking portals, video-on-demand service, web-mail accounts, etc., making it 400-550% bigger than the surface web. And the dark web consists of only 250,000 to 400,000 websites.
2. It is Illegal to Access the Dark Web
Not everything on the dark web is illegal. Even Facebook has presence on the dark web.
The Tor project was started out as an anonymous communication channel. Still, it helps people communicate in an environment that is aggressive to free speech. Many people use it in countries where Internet access is closely monitored.
However, in some countries, strong encryption is illegal. And you cannot access the darknet websites without using some form of encryption. Therefore, using the Tor browser in such countries can be illegal.
Also, by visiting the dark web, you might stumble upon or accidentally click links that you’re not supposed to do because of their illicit nature.
So it imperative that you should get essential information about the dark web before accessing it.
3. You’re Completely Anonymous on the Dark Web
All kinds of people are attracted to the dark web because the Tor browser offers anonymity. But does it really make you completely anonymous?
According to a study, the dark web users are no more anonymous. Researchers say,
We have concluded that anonymity is not completely verifiable on the Dark Web even through TOR is dedicated to this network segment which it has purposed to provide anonymous activities
If you are visiting the darknet sites, you should use a good VPN and keep your antivirus updated to add an additional layer of anonymity around you.
4. The Dark Web Is the Hub of Cyber Crime
You believe all cyber crimes take place on the dark web. Right?
Wrong!
Most cyber-crimes take place on the surface net because most people stay active on the surface net.
The dark web is a handy place for cyber-criminals to buy/sell malicious software applications, credit card information, and any other information that matters to them. There are hackers forums offering such services to interested parties.
You are more likely to be a victim of cyber-crimes on the surface net than the darknet.
However, visiting darknet sites can land you in the soup if you unknowingly visit illegal websites or a click on illicit links. So you should be careful while visiting darknet websites.
5. It Is Used Only for Crime
This is one of the most common dark web myths. Some people think that the darknet serves the purpose of criminals only.
No, the dark web is not used only for carrying out nefarious, illicit, criminal activities.
As people remain anonymous and hidden on the dark web, the dark web has become a safe haven for illicit, criminal activities.
However, the darknet is not all about crime. The darknet enables users to voice their opinions in countries where the ruling authority is hostile to free speech. Journalists often use the Tor browser to protect the identity of their sources.
You can join a book club, virtually socialize, or become a part of the strategic intelligence network.
6. One Needs to be a Computer Expert to Access the Dark Web
Thanks to movies and constant buzz around the dark web, people think that the dark web is hidden and locked away from everyone.
However, this is not the truth. Anyone can access the dark web using the Tor browser. And it is not difficult to find the Tor browser. You just have to visit the Tor browser site and download it.
By following simple instructions, you can install it on your computer or mobile phone.
The next comes the finding of darknet websites. You can start with The Hidden Wiki, which is good resource to find the darknet websites.
These are the six common darknet myths. Do you want to add any more myth to the list? Please leave it in the comment section.

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