iStock | Getty Images Plus
The so-called dark web, a portion of the hidden internet, is usually associated with a host of illegal activities including the buying and selling of drugs, firearms, stolen financial data and other types of valuable information. The selling point? Total anonymity.
That may sound nefarious, but some experts argue that the dark web is also useful in circumventing internet censorship.
While most people spend their time online on what is known as the surface web — the portion of the World Wide Web that can be accessed with standard browsers and search engines — it has become relatively easy for anyone to access the dark web.
The dark web is a small subset of the deep web, which is part of the internet that is not found using search engines. That includes many websites that require users to log in with an username and password, and the deep web is estimated to be about 400 to 500 times larger than the common internet. The dark web is relatively smaller — it is made up of a series of encrypted networks that is able to hide users’ identities and locations and can only be accessed with special software.
The most popular of those networks is called TOR, or The Onion Router, which was developed initially for government use before it was made available to the general public.
“When people typically refer to the dark web, a lot of the time they’re referring to a portion of the internet that’s accessible using an anonymous browsing network called TOR,” Charles Carmakal, a vice president at cybersecurity firm FireEye, told CNBC’s “Beyond the Valley” podcast.
One of the primary functions of the TOR network is that it allows users to access ..