Dark Web, Darknet, Deep Web Essay

  • Last Edited: February 13, 2018
dark net essay

In this dark net essay, we will investigate the dark net.  We will describe what it is, what it is not, and how to access in it.  The essay will contain information about how the dark web became a way to engage in criminal activity, including: buying and selling drugs; buying and selling weapons; buying and selling fake IDs; trafficking in counterfeit goods; and buying and selling credit card information, social security numbers, and other information necessary for identity theft.  The essay will delve into some of the history of the dark net, including the founding of Silk Road, and other services such as nucleus and alpha bay.  It will explore the relationship of the dark net to digital currency like bitcoin and blockchain.  Our example essay will not only explain the dark net, but also show you how to write the individual parts of an essay including the: introduction, thesis statement, and body paragraphs that combine evidence and analysis.  The essay will conclude with a review of the information presented in the essay.  Darknet is also referred to as “Dark Web” and “Deep Web”

Titles

Diving Below the Surface: Exploring the Dark Net

The Internet’s Black Market: How Criminals Use the Dark Net to Sell Illegal Goods and Services

Shady Business: Are There Any Legitimate Uses for the Dark Net?

Surface Web, Deep Web, and Dark Web: Understanding the Internet

Related Topics

Tor and Freedom of the Internet- Many internet users worry about cybersecurity and the fact that the government can monitor their online activity.  This topic explores how Tor can help protect anonymity on the internet and how those protections can increase freedoms.  Rather than focusing on criminal activity, this essay would focus on how Tor is used by political activists, journalists, and other freedom protectors as a way to safely and securely share information.

Human Trafficking and the Internet – While human trafficking has existed since almost the beginning of the human race, people are often surprised to discover that more people are sold into slavery in modern times than at the height of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.  The internet has played a huge role in exploding the modern human trafficking market.  From predators using the internet to find potential victims to kidnap and force into service to dark web users using dark marketplaces to buy and sell human beings, the internet has opened up a number of opportunities for those that would prey on others.

The Murky Government Origins of the Dark Web- While the dark web may be known as a marketplace for criminal behaviors and ideas, it originated as a government project.  This paper would explore why the government felt like a dark web was an important element for communication, how that origin differed from the deep web, which already permitted people to go below surface exploration of the internet, and whether there are any constructive government uses of the dark web.

Morality and Marketing- While many people focus on the users of black market exchange venues, particularly on the internet, the people who have been prosecuted for those markets tend to be those who have founded and administered those sites.  This essay would delve into the morality of facilitating criminal activity.  Are the people who set up marketplaces that facilitate criminal activity morally responsible for the crimes that occur on those marketplaces?  If the answer is “no,” then is it appropriate to punish them for providing that marketplace.

Outline

I.  Introduction

II.  Body

A.  How to Access the Dark Net

B.  Criminal Activity

C.  Silk Road, Nucleus, and AlphaBay

D.  Bitcoin and Blockchain

III.  Conclusion

Introduction

Many people are confused about what the dark web is.  There are three basic levels to the internet: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web.  The surface web is what people use for everyday internet interactions.  It is anything that can be found using a regular search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!  The deep web is things that are not accessible using a typical search engine, but not necessarily illegal things.  For example, school libraries and private databases are not usually accessible using generic search engines, but do not have a nefarious or illegal purpose.  The dark web refers to a portion of the deep web that can only be accessed using special browsers, and which is intentionally hidden from regular search engines.  While the dark web is not only used for criminal activity, its hidden nature makes it compatible with illegal activities.  That is because the dark web is the anonymous internet; not only are the surfers anonymous, but so are the publishers.

Essay Hook

It is sometimes said that no good deeds are done in the dark, and the dark web is a prime example of that motto.

Thesis Statement

While there may be legitimate users of the dark web, the reality is that its anonymity and hidden nature provide the perfect breeding ground for criminal activity.

Body

How to Access the Dark Net

While the dark net is hidden, it is not inaccessible.  People access it using networks known as onion networks.  In normal internet communications, a computer interacts directly with the server hosting the website being visited (Walsh, 2016).  An onion network, as the name implies, imposes layers between the user and the website.  Many people use Tor, which offer a user-friendly anonymous communication network that can be used on most operating systems.  Using Tor is not illegal, but it is often used to accomplish illegal goals.  Other software that people use include I2P and Freenet.

Criminal Activity

The dark web is the venue of choice for criminals who want to use the internet to promote or maintain their business.  Users can find almost anything on the dark web.  For example, when Target was hacked, their customer information was placed for sale on the dark web (Reilly, 2017).  The dark net has a number of black market marketplaces where a person can buy or sell illegal goods and services.  Some of those marketplaces have been successfully targeted by law enforcement, but as soon as one disappears, others pop up to take their place.  The dark net is used for buying and selling drugs; buying and selling weapons; buying and selling fake IDs; trafficking in counterfeit goods; and buying and selling credit card information, social security numbers, and other information necessary for identity theft.  However, the most nefarious use of the dark net may be its role in facilitating human trafficking and child pornography.

Finding a criminal marketplace is relatively simple once a person has gotten into the dark web and is searching for them.  While Silk Road, the most famous of all of the criminal marketplaces has been removed, searching for it pulls up hundreds of alternatives.  Of course, as is the case with any type of criminal transaction, the user must beware when doing business on these sites.  The user at the other end could be a member of law enforcement engaging in a sting operation, or a criminal who is just as happy to make you the next victim as he or she is to sell you the offered illegal goods or services.

Silk Road, Nucleus, and AlphaBay

Silk Road was probably the best known of all of the criminal marketplaces on the dark net and was the first dark net marketplace.  While it gained its reputation because of its thriving illegal drug market, it also sold other illegal goods and services.  In 2013, the FBI shut down Silk Road and arrested Ross William Ulbricht for being the founder of the site.  Ulbricht was eventually convicted of charges related to his role in operating Silk Road and received a sentence of life in prison due to those charges.

Nucleus was a very popular dark net market that focused primarily on the drug trade.  Buyers could find drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana on the site.  However, in 2016 the site became unresponsive.  This prompted users to worry about what occurred.  Dark web marketplaces can disappear for a number of reasons: they can be hacked, the operators can be arrested, or they may be part of an exit scam.  An exit scam is when dark web administrators stop allowing people to withdraw funds and then take all of the cryptocurrency for their own use.  Being flipped from a user to a victim is always a risk in criminal activity, and the frenzy surrounding nucleus suddenly becoming unresponsive highlights that this possibility exists even in the realm of cybercrime.

AlphaBay Market was another famous dark net marketplace.  It operated on the Tor network and rapidly expanded to about ten times the size as Silk Road.  It was used for a variety of types of illegal transactions, but was probably best known for trafficking in identity theft.  It was targeted by Operation Bayonet, a joint law-enforcement effort between the United States, Canada, and Thailand.  Alexandre Cazes was arrested as its founder, and there is substantial evidence to support the claims that he created and operated the site.  Cazes was found dead, of hanging, in his jail cell in Thailand, where he was arrested.  His death was ruled a suicide.  His wife is still facing charges for money laundering.

Bitcoin and Blockchain

One of the oldest adages in law enforcement is “follow the money” and cybercrime is no exception.  For years, law enforcement has focused on tracing the financial side of illegal transactions as a way to detect crime and find criminals.  That is why the dark net is so dependent on cryptocurrency.  The term cryptocurrency refers to a digital asset that works as a type of currency and uses cryptography to secure its transactions.  They are a subset of digital currencies.

The best known cryptocurrency is bitcoin.  Bitcoin’s success is largely predicated on its use of blockchain.  A decentralized control system, blockchain allows a group of computers to maintain a single ledger.  This ledger allows user to reduce the number of bitcoins in their ledger while simultaneously increasing the number of bitcoins in someone else’s ledger.  Once the transaction is begun, the users cannot halt it, which allows both parties to engage in a transaction with a certain level of certainty that does not depend on trust or on a neutral third party.  Although bitcoin and other alternative currencies can be used for all types of monetary transfers, this type of transaction is perfect for criminal transactions because of the uncertain nature of the underlying transaction.

Conclusion

Because it is anonymous and not discoverable by surface searches with the major search engines, the dark web is a perfect breeding ground for illegal activity.  In fact, even when law enforcement is aware of illegal transactions, they may find it impossible to identify and arrest users.  However, while the dark net is often used for criminal activity, it can also be an incredibly powerful tool for political resistance and activism.  This means that, while it might be expedient to just outlaw the use of onion networks as a way of reducing the amount of web-based crimes, most countries have determined that to do so would impermissibly impinge on basic freedoms.  Therefore, the dark web is probably here to stay.

Works Cited

Reilly, Claire.  “Dark Web 101: Your Guide to the Badlands of the Internet.  CNET.  29 November 2017.  https://www.cnet.com/news/darknet-dark-web-101-your-guide-to-the-badlands-of-the-internet-tor-bitcoin/.  Accessed 22 December 2017.

Walsh, Dean.  “A Beginner’s Guide to Exploring the Darknet.”  Turbo Future.  29 August 2016.  https://turbofuture.com/internet/A-Beginners-Guide-to-Exploring-the-Darknet.  Accessed 22 December 2017.

In Closing

After reading this dark net tutorial essay, we hope you have a better understanding of the dark web, how to access it, how it works, and the role that cryptocurrency plays in the dark marketplace.  We also hope you have a better understanding of how to write an expository essay.  Because the marketplaces on the dark net ware constantly changing, details in this story may have changed by the time you read it.  If you have any questions about how to include new developments in your own dark web essay, contact us and we would be happy to assist you.

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