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For many years people believed the Dark Web was just a myth like unicorns or Sasquatch. Yet, unlike the elusive Yeti, the Dark Web is very much a reality. Cyberexperts have studied it to better understand its place in the World Wide Web, but the Dark Web of the past may have rapidly changing future.
What is the Dark Web?
So, what exactly is this mysterious section of cyberspace? PC Advisor defines the Dark Web, which is sometimes referred to as the Deep Web, as “a collection of websites that are publicly visible, but hide the IP addresses of the servers that run them.” Any Web users can access these websites, but they cannot be found using search engines and it is exceptionally difficult to discover who actually runs the sites. Nearly all of the websites in the Dark Web use Tor, also known as The Onion Router, encryption software to hide their identities. Other sites use a more complicated encryption software called I2P, which requires visitors to use the same encryption software as the website and know the URL of the website in order to find it.
The Dark Web is not to be confused with the Dark Internet. PC Advisor wrote that the latter is simply an online storage of raw information gathered by scientists and theorists. The Dark Internet database is simply another way for researchers to keep their data secret.
The Dark Web of the past
The Dark Web has developed a reputation similar to that of the dark alleyways in a bad neighborhood. In the article “The Dark Web,” the National Cybersecurity Institute reported that, previously, this section of cyberspace was “used for selling illegal drugs, money laundering and various criminal activities.” With websites like Silk Road, the infamous forum where visitors could order a variety of recreational drugs and access unsavory material, cemented as front runners on the Dark Web of the past, it is no wonder why this section of cyberspace earned a shady reputation. Because many of the operators want to remain anonymous, few of the websites on the Dark Web have SSL and TLS certificates, meaning you do not always know who is accessing your information.
The future of the Dark Web
Though many still have reservations about the Dark Web, Business Reporter believes this section of the Internet has a bright future. One of the positive things the Dark Web is currently being used for is to give citizens in repressive, media-censored countries a voice. Bloggers and activists in countries without free speech can use the Dark Web as an undetectable forum to express their ideas. In addition to increased global communication, Business Reporter wrote that the Dark Web of the future could help strengthen marketplaces. The Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority recently gave several websites in the Dark Web the opportunity to apply for SSL and TLS certificates.
With increased transparency and reliability, decentralized markets that run on Bitcoin will make all other marketplaces look obsolete. The new, more secure Dark Web will gain a wider audience. Business Reporter predicted that in the future, the Dark Web would become just another area of the Internet.
Law enforcement officials have expressed a need for individuals capable of infiltrating the Dark Web and monitoring it for illicit activity. By pursuing a career in cybersecurity, you could become one of the leaders that helps the Dark Web achieve its full potential and keep it safe for all users. Visit the National Cybersecurity Institute’s website to explore degree options and start your cybersecurity training today.