Darknet or Dark Network. When we read that term, most of us immediately think of illegal activities and hackers, but what is actually the Darknet or dark network actually?
The darknet, dark network or TOR network is a collection of networks and technologies used to share information and digital content that is “distributed” among the different nodes that try to preserve the anonymity of the identities of those who exchange the content or information. In other words, the anonymity of the origin and destination is sought when the transfer of information occurs. To navigate the dark network, users need special software called Tor (The Onion Router). A name that was chosen because the data is moved between the different Tor servers following the principle of the layers of an onion. Servers know their predecessor and successor, but not the entire chain, so the user remains camouflaged and generally anonymous when browsing. Through the Tor network, users can connect to normal public websites (.es, .com, etc.), but the Tor browser can also be used to access so-called “.onion sites”, where providers also remain anonymous. Experts estimate that nearly half of the roughly 30,000 dark web sites offer illegal content.
Darknet websites can only be accessed in an encrypted form, so search engines like Google or Bing cannot find them. This means that users have to know where they want to access or know the address of the .onion page. However, you can find some help on hidden wikis that group the available links. Users can start an entire journey of discovery and try to find the right page.
The Silk Road Example
Silk Road was a marketplace founded by Dread Pirate Roberts or Ross William Ulbricht, operated as one of the hidden Tor network services known in computer terms as Darknet and that only supported transactions in BitCoins. Everything was digital, safe and a little cloudy due to the nature of the merchandise that was for sale, which was mostly drugs and weapons. However, its sales revenue of 9.5 million bitcoins (1.2 billion dollars) with a profit of 80 million dollars attracted the eyes of law enforcement officers. In 2012 Ross William Ulbricht was arrested by the FBI on charges of conspiracy to traffic narcotics, conspiracy to hack computers, and conspiracy to launder money.