The Dark Web doesn’t have a good reputation, to say the least. This platform is often associated with drug markets where cocaine and heroin are self-serve. But the Dark Web is not so dark.
A mostly harmless, but private use
Researchers at Virginia Tech have been analyzing the way people use actually the Tor anonymity network. They found that many use it for their personal life, not for crime. Over a day, on average, only 6.7% of users around the world use Tor maliciouslys, according to Eric Jardine, assistant professor at Virginia Tech, and his colleagues.
Jardine said that he and his team have found one thing: most Tor users are heading to a regular web content which could probably be considered as harmless. He then points out that even though the Tor anonymity network can be used for very malicious purposes, most people seem to use it on a daily basis more as a a hyper-private version of Chrome or Firefox.
A matter of anonymity
Tor is a toolkit designed to allow users to remain anonymous. It can be used to browse, send and publish messages online. Simply put, Tor works by bouncing encrypted data around dozens of relay computers on their way to and from your PC. So if someone’s trying to see where you are, they can’t..
The researchers found that in liberal democratic countries, Tor users were more likely to use Tor for harmful purposes. According to them, the research results suggest that anonymizing technologies, such as Tor, have a major challenge for the authorities. Leaving the Tor network in place, out of reach of the police, is likely to result in direct and indirect harms from the system used by those involved in thechild abusethe drug trade and the firearms sale.
Tor and Dark Web User Guide
According to the network’s own estimates, approximately 2.5 million people use Tor every day. The most notorious Dark Web sites are hidden and are not accessible via the normal Internet. To access these sites, you must use a custom browser called Tor Browser. This framework suggests that political need leads to the use of Tor in repressive regimes, in the words of Jardine.
It also suggests that the opportunity to use Tor to mask bad activities is the main motivation for people to use it in liberal democracies. This can generate harm. And the benefits are hardly noticeable.