Elephant ivory, plans for a military combat drone, and stolen ISIS art are just some of the things you can buy on the dark web

Elephant ivory, plans for a military combat drone, and stolen ISIS art are just some of the things you can buy on the dark web

dark webA cursor is placed upon the button reading ‘drugs’ on a darknet webpage.Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • The dark web was originally created in the 1990s by US Naval researchers who wanted a technology for communicating anonymously online.
  • In the intervening two decades, who and what is on the net has become a shifting landscape of drugs and porn, but also things that you might not expect.
  • The dark web has sprawled into an illegal marketplace for user data, illegally trafficked animal products, military secrets, stolen art, and much more. 

Although most people have no idea how to access the dark web, their exposure on this hidden, crime-ridden corner of the internet continues to grow.

Six million hacked personal accounts were added to the dark web last week, adding to the 6.5 billion personal records already available in the internet’s netherworld, stolen from websites where internet users entrust their personal information every day.

This leaked data is passed around in forums where hackers gloat about their recent cybercrimes, and scammers go shopping for identities to steal.

These forums are just one part of a network of websites beneath the internet’s surface, where marketplaces trade drugs, and syndicates peddle child pornography and “hurtcore” torture videos. It’s possible there’s even hitmen for hire, though no one seems to know for sure.

The mystery is a key factor of the dark web, which can only be accessed using special software and, once you’re in, knowing where to go. Anonymous and monetized, with difficult-to-trace cryptocurrencies, the dark web is ideal for illicit activity.

Such activities stray far from the dark web’s origins in the 1990s, when US Naval researchers created a technology for communicating anonymously online. They constructed an internet browser with built-in layers of encryption and its own set of domain names. They kept it open to the public to generate more traffic that would camouflage their own activity.

As it turned out, the untraceable web was appealing to more than just government spies.

In the intervening two decades, who and what is on the net has become a shifting landscape of drugs and porn, but also things that you might not expect. So, what else is down there?

Den Originalartikel gibt es auf South China Morning Post. Enjoy the full SCMP experience here: click here to get your subscription offer with US$38 gift voucher. Copyright 2019. Und ihr könnt South China Morning Post auf Twitter folgen.

Published at Fri, 15 Feb 2019 17:41:13 +0000

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