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Joining the dark side

If like me, you use the internet, you may have heard about the dark web, but have no idea what it is. It’s possible that your children are visiting or using the dark web (Tor); it’s not dangerous or illegal to visit the dark web. In contrast the evidence shows that sex offenders are more likely to interact with victims on the open web. Take 5-minutes to understand the dark web.

dark web

A lesson from history

The US military needed intelligence operatives to exchange information completely anonymously. They called it 'Tor', which stands for 'The Onion Router'. They released Tor into the public domain for anyone to use, as way to hide the intelligence messages within the general noise of public use. Tor spread widely and is a critical part of the dark web.

The internet is split 3-ways

  1. The open web is the publicly visible and we use it every day through search engines such as Google or Yahoo. Less than 10% of the web is open.
  2. The deep web is the part of the internet which is generally hidden from public. Private networks, often linked to authorised people such employers and employees, with password-protected information
  3. The dark web is accessed using dedicated software, the best-known is Tor, with 2.5m million users every day. Tor is a way to browse both the open and dark web, without identifying the user or tracking their activity.

3 reasons to use the dark web

  • To be anonymous. In some countries the government forbids a free press, where there is political censorship, or where people are concerned about online security. Tor is mainly used to browse the open web anonymously.
  • To access hidden services. Can be used legitimately, for example for remaining unknown when whistleblowing (exposing unethical or illegal activity within an organisation).
  • For illegal activity. The dark web may be used by people to carry out illegal activities online. It’s estimated 60% of hidden services in bullet 2 contain illegal content such as drugs, weapons and stolen goods, including credit card accounts, fake IDs and much more.

Using Tor or visiting the dark web is not unlawful, but it’s against the law to carry out illegal acts.

What should I do if my Child surfs the dark web?

There are many reasons for using Tor, without being dangerous or illegal. The risks of the dark web are the same as those encountered in the open web. Have a conversation and encourage safer behaviour online. Explain that there’s illegal content in the dark web, and that you do not you’re your child exposed to this.

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Date: 23 April 2019 by Max Robinson