The internet is something many people uses daily. If someone has a question, they google it or use another search engine to find the answer. Simple search engines like these are only the beginning. Google and Yahoo and sites easily accessed by the public is called the surface. Below the surface is the deep web, which makes up over 90 percent of all websites (Kaspersky, 2017). Inside the deep web, is the dark web.
The dark web is a collection of websites deliberately hidden from search engines and uses masked IP addresses. The dark web is mostly innocent and can be helpful for journalists to communicate with each other to share opinions without censorship. There is also illegal content, trading sites, and criminal activity. There are also many online sites known as black markets. The black market is where goods and services are distributed in a way that is illegal. It is not a physical market, but a collective transaction between buyers and sellers. Since the entire point of the dark web is to be anonymous, it is difficult for the police to stop illicit deals and services from happening on the site.
Businesses can be affected through stolen and compromised data, and businesses can also use the dark web to reach a bigger audience. To access the dark web, you need to have a secure and anonymous platform, the first platform called Tor. Tor stands for “The Onion Router”. Tor is a big part of the dark web, and hosts for over 30,000 hidden networks (Woollaston, 2018). Anyone can download Tor and use to access the dark web. It keeps someone anonymous by encrypting data, so no one can see who or where that person is. Although illegal things do happen on the dark web, the government created private browsers to access it.
They used it was a way to build a secure and anonymous network (Veaux, 2018). The U.S Navy implemented Tor because they wanted to protect government communications. They wanted to make it harder for outsiders to distinguish what was a government file and what was regular data data. Even though some people just use the dark web to browse, the seeking and buying of drugs online have soared throughout the years. Many say it is a more anonymous and overall better experience to buy online. This poses a challenge for police, by making it harder to figure out how people get it. Silk Road was a huge online market for drugs, having everything from just marijuana to methamphetamine and cocaine. Silk Road was huge and boomed because of trust and efficiency.
People did not have to deal with shady drug dealers, fake drugs or drugs with fillers. For example, is a Silk Road dealer sold bad drugs, they would be removed from the platform. The higher quality dealers were brought to the top, which prevents people from getting shoddy quality. They grew exponentially because of a few reasons: Forums, PR, word of mouth, and the community. Forums were a place that customers went to discuss drug use and other sites on the dark web. It brought a level of test, social proof, and familiarity. Previously, it was hard to access place and a hard industry to understand, but forums transformed it.PR, or public relations, is the practice of creating goodwill of an organization in various publics.
PR representatives want to enhance and build their reputation through advertising and marketing through the media. Less than five months after Silk Road was created, a story broke through and funneled thousands of potential customers. This added trust and proof as a reputable source covered the site.Word of mouth really helped the Silk Road. It is an elevated risk, high reward. The demand was strong in the market, and so supplied. Combined with the scarcity of other solutions, it led the site to bring people together. There was better pricing, and relationships and trust grew. The Silk Road and drug community have grown together and had a strong bond. They take care of each other because the community is underground and there is no regulation (Pollock, 2017).
Bitcoin is the currency widely used on the dark web. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. From the Bitcoin website, it is described as the following: “Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and completely digital money. It is users with no central authority or intermediaries power the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is like cash for the Internet. Bitcoin can also be the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system in existence.” Bitcoin transactions are secure, irreversible, and do not have customers’ sensitive or personal information. For this reason, sellers, and buyers on the dark web use Bitcoin as their form of payment.