Most of the perception people have concerning the dark web is a combination of hypes and real events projected by people who have surfed the part of the internet and those who have never been there. The .onion websites have been linked to a whole lot of stuff and projected to be something that is far from reality.
According to research published in 2019, the .onion websites on the TOR are actually different from how it is projected, and though the hype comes from the many illegal things that go on there which cannot be disputed, a lot of things are blown out of proportion.
The Size of the Dark web
Image Source: www.csoonline.com
The dark web has been projected to be a vast mysterious part of the internet that has enough space for criminals to hide. Some even believe that the surface web is a part of the dark web, meaning the dark web is the universal set, and the surface web is the subset. This is very false. According to the research, the dark web is just a tiny place compared to the surface web. The many projected news about the vastness of the anonymous internet is actually false. The researchers discovered that the total live or reachable .onion websites found were just 0.005% of the total number of domains on the surface web.
According to the research, there were about 55,000 onion domains on the dark web. Surprisingly, only 8400 domains were live by the time this research was being conducted. This means only about 15% of the found onion domains were active on the dark web. The research revealed that the dark web is not a vast mysterious place compared to the surface web as portrayed. The dark web is actually a tiny space that cannot be accessed by normal browsers.
The .onion websites according to the research are closely related compared to the surface web. The research revealed that 82% of the live .onion websites discovered have a degree of separation of just 2.4 from a popular site like Hidden Wiki. This means anytime a visitor visits the Hidden Wiki website, he may be just 3 clicks away from 82% of the live .onion websites. It was also discovered that 18% of the live onion domains discovered by the researchers were isolated from the network. Sites on the dark web are averagely close to each other than the sites on the surface web.
Language Homogeneity Used on the .Onion Websites
Another revelation of the research was about the language homogeneity on the dark web. It is speculated that the dark web is full of equally diverse language with others believing that English is probably not the leading language on the anonymous part of the internet. According to the researchers, English was about to 86% of the language used on the dark web. This contradicts the many projections that the surface web is more for the English speakers than the dark web. Surprisingly, the surface web only boasts of 54% English.
Russian was the second most used language on the dark web which was 2.8% of the total language used. German was next with 1.6% and Spanish was 1%. Interestingly, the order of languages used per popularity was the same as the surface web.
The .Onion Websites are Disorganized and Unreliable
The dark web is much different from the surface web when it comes to disorganization and unreliability. The dark web sites can have their servers down for about weeks for any attack launched on them. Most of them have very long downtime making them unreliable. The downtime for reputable companies on the surface web is about 99.99999%. However, downtime for reputable companies on the dark web is way below this percentage. So many scams and prevalent attacks make the .onion websites’ services unreliable.
Image source: www.hackernoon.com
Some sites can go off permanently without any explanation. Some popular .onion websites have a downtime of less than 90% with some of the reputable ones having downtime of 65%. The researchers also discovered that a popular technique called the Typosquatting was very prevalent on the dark web. This technique is also found on the surface web but very dangerous on the dark web due to how the dark web works. This technique is about registering a domain that looks exactly as an existing one, meant to send visitors of the genuine website to the fake one to steal credentials.
This makes it very important to be very careful when surfing the dark web. Avoid clicking on random links and only visit websites you have read about. In other words, understand the kind of service offered on a website before visiting. Understand that the .onion websites have a very low downtime compared to the sites on the surface web, so do not expect much.
Source: Recorded Future
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