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Is the Dark Web Only For Criminals or Everyone





Access to information has become very easy because of the internet and social media. However, with so much information, you are bound to have a lot of misinformation as well. This is what is happening in the world right now. One of the misinformation prevalent in the global society is that the dark web is only for criminals.

Many people might be surprised to know this. But the dark web isn’t only for criminals but for everyone who wants to use it. However, people should always be encouraged to stay away from it unless and until accessing the dark web has become a necessity. And people should also be encouraged to use it for good purposes.

Who Is The Main User Of The Dark Web?

It might come as a shock to many but the main user of the dark web was the US government. The dark web has always been there but it was the release of the Tor browser that made it easy for people to visit the dark web. What many people don’t know is that the US Naval Research Laboratory funded the Tor project to support encryption and secure communication between US spy agents. There is no doubt that the dark web has helped agencies like the CIA or MI6 to carry out counter-terrorism and counter-criminal activities.

However, this can also not be denied that once tor was made commercially available the dark web has become dominated by criminals. Who are involved in a wide range of dangerous activities. The security agencies might still use it for good purposes. But they are not outnumbered by the number of bad people on the platform. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the intended users of the dark web were security agencies. But the current main users of the dark web are criminals.

Who Is The Main User Of The Dark Web

It Is Legal To Access the Dark Web

Criminals don’t care about the rules. They use the dark web without any hassle but if you are a normal internet user who wants to visit the dark web; you might have some questions in your mind. One of those questions might be related to the legality of accessing the dark web.

The dark net is a dangerous place and the mysterious surrounding it might make it seem like something that is illegal but it is legal to access. The fact that accessing the dark net is legal also shows that it can be used by everyone. However, not everything you find on the dark net is legal. Accessing the dark net wouldn’t land you in hot waters but using it to buy weapons, buy stolen art, or hire criminal services can get you into legal trouble.

It Is a Very Risky Thing to Do

There is a phrase that people generally use which goes something like ‘just because you can; does not mean you should’. The same is the case with using the dark net. Even though it is legal to access it does not mean you should become a casual visitor of the dark net. There is no denying that there are harmless things on the dark net like certain types of electronics. Which you might not find on the surface web but this does not mean that your first choice of store should be on the dark net.

You should always do your research and try to find things on the surface web. Or in physical stores before you can ever think about visiting the dark net. The products that you find on the dark net are usually stolen from other people. So there is a matter of ethics and morals in buying products from the dark net.

A Statistical Comparison of People Visiting the Dark Net

A study conducted in 2023 found that the daily users on the dark net are over 2.5 million. The results of the study also state that over half of the daily dark net users do it for illegal purposes. So over 50% of these people use it for illegal activities the remaining number is still close to 1 million. This means that there are around a million people from all over the world who visit the dark net for harmless activities. Like journalism, anonymity, buying electronics, buying books, whistleblowing, and other similar activities.

The Normal Internet Users Should Know the Risks Involved

It is true that anyone can visit the dark net but before you do it, you should know about the risks involved in it. The first thing to note is that you should never try to misuse it in any way. Misusing the dark net can create a lot of problems for you. You can find more about that here.

Here are some of the major risks involved with visiting the dark net.

Exposure to Illegal and Disturbing Content

The anonymity of the dark web means that you would find a high concentration of illegal and unethical content. Including things like child pornography material, stolen or illegal items, neo-Nazi political content, etc. Even inadvertent exposure to such content poses legal and ethical risks. Exposure to such material can be very disturbing if you are visiting the dark web as a normal user.

Malware, Viruses, and Spyware Infections

The dark web harbors many sites spreading malware, spyware, and viruses designed to steal personal information. Downloading files especially poses a high risk for infection that can allow criminals to gain access to your device and online accounts.  These days hackers are trying new techniques where they embed malware in Google and Bing search results. These ads are usually based on your interests. Which means that you will be inclined to click on those ads which would result in your device getting infected.  There are also infections like ransomware where your files aren’t deleted from your device. But they are held hostage by the hacker who asks you for money in return for your files.

Your Identity Can Be Compromised and Even Stolen

While using privacy tools like Tor offers more anonymity, many techniques have been developed. That allowto unmask users on the dark web potentiallyhe dark web. Things like JavaScript-based attacks, network monitoring, timing analysis, etc can compromise anonymity over time and lead to identification or device compromise.  In addition to all this, if the hacker gets hold of your files on your device, they can use it to steal and sell your identity.

Financial Fraud

When you are on the dark web, there is a constant risk of becoming the victim of financial scams, blackmail attempts, ransomware attacks, and identity theft on the dark web. This is due to the continuous presence of experienced cybercrime groups that operate on the dark net. There are large criminal empires on the dark web. Whose operations include finding vulnerabilities in the dark web users and then attacking those vulnerabilities for financial gain.

Law Enforcement Monitoring

While it is true that the dark web provides a certain level of strong anonymity, law enforcement agencies have devised their own unique ways to bypass this and track people on the dark net. However, the tracking process is easier said than done.

Law enforcement agencies monitor dark net sites and transactions especially relating to seriously illegal activities. Accessing certain sites or services could potentially put innocent users under scrutiny. There have also been cases where Tor vulnerabilities have been used to unmask criminals. This is because your internet company may not be able to see what you do on the dark net. But they can still see in their logs that you accessed the tor browser.

The dark net tends to attract a high concentration of malicious actors. And exposes users to both technical and legal compromises of their privacy and security. However normal internet users face more risk in most cases as they are not experienced in protecting themselves from the risks that the dark net poses.

Fake services scams

There are many scam sites on the dark net. That appear legitimate but are designed to steal cryptos from your crypto wallets or personal information from your devices. For example, fake dark net marketplaces trick users into depositing funds which are then stolen. There is no way to verify the legitimacy of any marketplace unless you have used it before. And there is no customer support like the e-commerce sites on the surface web. This is one of the ways that inexperienced dark net users lose a lot of money.

Final Words

The dark web isn’t something that can be labeled as a criminal-only platform. It offers a range of different things for criminals and for people who want to use it for good and harmless purposes. People who use the dark web regularly know that you have to be very careful when you are accessing the dark net. You have to take all the necessary precautions before you can open the tor browser. If you are a normal internet user who is curious about the dark web and want to visit it then you have to be extra cautious as you might get exposed to malware infections that might damage your device and graphic content that might affect your mental health.

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