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You've probably heard of the "Dark web"; a part of the web that isn't easily accessible and that many people associate with illegal activities. But what exactly is the dark web? And to what extent do illegal activities actually take place here?

We'll give you a clearer picture of what happens on the dark web. To start, it's good to know that the web consists of three parts: the surface web, deep web, and dark web. Most of us typically use the surface web, accessible via web browsers like Google Chrome or Safari, and available to everyone.

You've probably also been on a website that isn't accessible to everyone, requiring a specific URL and login details. For example, think of a school/work intranet or secure websites where governments or hospitals store sensitive data. These websites, inaccessible to everyone and not searchable via search engines, belong to the deep web. The DNCIS crime database also falls under the deep web. It's not meant for just anyone to visit.

Finally, there's the so-called dark web. The dark web started as an anonymous communication channel. Nobody knows exactly how large it is, but most estimates suggest it's about 5% of the total internet. To access the dark web, you need a special browser: the Tor browser. The websites on the dark web look similar to any other website, yet with a few differences. The websites on the dark web don't end with .nl or .com but rather .onion. Additionally, the URLs are encrypted, and, for example, the popular trading site called Dream Market has the address "eajwlvm3z2lcca76.onion".

The users active on the dark web are diverse. The dark web was originally developed by government agencies in the United States and is currently used by journalists, espionage services, or regular citizens from countries like Iran or China who use the dark web to express their opinions. Apart from these legal activities, the dark web is largely used for illegal activities. These include scammers, hackers, illegal pornography, and the trade of weapons and/or drugs.

As many illegal activities occur on the dark web, there's often a discussion about whether the dark web should be shut down. However, aside from the potential dangers, it also provides people with the freedom to express their opinions, and the dark web can be helpful for businesses or individuals in various other ways. Consequently, closing the dark web would have both positive and negative consequences. Various authorities are actively working to detect and terminate illegal services on the dark web. Given that not all activities on the dark web are illegal, it will be challenging for authorities to gain permission to completely shut it down.

Solve a Murder Yourself?

Think you have what it takes to solve a murder on your own? Check out our open murder cases to solve independently or as a team.

Department of National Criminal Investigative Services

At the Department of National Criminal Investigative Services (DNCIS), you can solve a realistic murder case as a civilian. You will receive access to the online crime database with the online case file, photos, autopsy reports, and videos of interrogations and security camera footage. You can start a murder case 7 days a week, 24 hours a day by signing up for one.


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