The collection of onion sites that is sometimes called the dark web is portrayed as a mysterious part of the internet. In reality, the number of onion sites is tiny compared to the size of the surface web. Our count of live reachable onion site domains comes to less than 0.005% of the number of surface-web site domains. Out of about 55,000 onion domains that we found, only around 8,400 onion sites had a live site. The popular iceberg metaphor that describes the relationship of the surface web and dark web is upside down. These onion sites are disorganized and unreliable. Scams are prevalent, such as a typosquatting scam that claims to have successfully defrauded users of over 400 popular dark web sites, netting thousands of dollars in Bitcoin from victims.
Image source: americanexpress.com
In terms of language point of view, onion sites are more diverse then the normal surface web as the general public knows it. The count of homogeneity stands at 86% of the dark web sites or onion sites use English as the most preferred form of communication followed by Russian and German. While on the other hand, the count stands at a mere 54% for English used as a form of communication in the surface web. On the surface web, popular websites attract inbound link counts in the millions. In our onion site crawl, the site with the highest inbound link count was a popular market with 3,585 inbound links. Dark web can be described as any web content that requires customized software, configurations, or special to access. This definition overlaps with another common term, the “deep web,” which is commonly used to refer to all the parts of the internet not indexed by search engines.
Image source: krebsonsecurity.com
The dark web is also often conflated with the cybercriminal underground, implying that it is solely a place where people traffic illicit and sordid goods and services. While that kind of activity makes up a significant proportion of content on the dark web, the fact that the Tor browser can circumvent surveillance measures also makes it useful for legitimate activities in certain circumstances, like free expression from political dissidents in authoritarian countries.
Source: Recorded Future
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