The news often reports of nefarious activity conducted on the dark web. What is the dark web? The dark web is a term used to describe the parts of the internet developed, used and maintained by criminals. At the dark web's heart are services on the internet just like Amazon, Google and Facebook. The difference is that the dark web uses a special “dark” browser, separate domain name servers and “dark” encryption methods.
In order to access one part of the dark web you need to download and install a Tor browser. There are a number of websites that allow you to download the Tor browser. Think of these websites as the portals between two parallel universes. Once you download, install and start using Tor, you are connected to the dark web. How do you find things on the dark web? Just like Google provides a search engine on the internet, dark web search engines include DuckDuckgo, Onion, and TorLinks. Simply type in your search term in one of these search engines such as, email passwords, and the dark web search engine will return multiple sources for the data you are looking for.
Communications on the dark web are all encrypted using Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption technology. Modeled after IPSec, PGP is a public sourced encryption technology available to anyone. By encrypting the communications between the Tor browser session and data source, criminals are able to hide their activity in broad daylight on the internet. Internet Service Providers recently reported that about 3% of the Internet’s traffic is dark web PGP traffic. The PGP encryption makes discovery and monitoring by authorities of criminal activity next to impossible.
In order to make the dark web work, criminals maintain domain name service host computers that serve up the names and IP addresses of dark websites. Any computer that has been compromised with malware is a candidate to be a DNS server on the dark web. Criminals will install the dark version of DNS on a compromised computer unbeknownst to the victim. The victim’s computer becomes part of the dark web providing a key function. Thousands of copies of dark web DNS are planted around the world this way. No need for expensive data centers and servers to run DNS when you can steal someone’s computer and internet bandwidth for free.
DeckerWright Corporation is now providing Dark Web Monitoring services as part of its new Compliance Security bundle so that business owners can get a look at what information criminals are maintaining on the internet about them.
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