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Understanding the Dark Web and its Illegal Activities

May 11, 2024
cyber hacker attacks. Photo credit: Yuliya Taba/Getty Images

The dark web is a secretive network of websites that can only be accessed using specific software, providing anonymity and privacy for users, and often associated with illegal activities

It is a part of the internet that is not indexed by traditional search engines and it is notorious for illegitimate activities as it bypasses government censorship. 

As of 2020, approximately 57 percent of the dark web consists of illegal content, including materials related to violence, extremist platforms, illegal marketplaces, drugs, and cybercrime forums. The dark web can be used for hiring a killer, buying firearms, prostitution, child pornography, buying and selling stolen items, and buying stolen bank credentials

In 2023, the dark web had an average of over 2.5 million daily visitors, and by April 2023, an average of 2.7 million users accessed the dark web daily. Egypt has on average 50,612 daily users accessing the dark web, ranking as country number ten on the Global Daily Dark Web average users rank, making up 2.13 percent of daily users worldwide.

The internet network consists of surface web, deep web, and dark web. Surface web, also known as open web and visible web, is the one everyone uses, including Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and such. The deep web is what is below the surface, and makes up around 90 percent of all websites. 

It includes databases, and internal networks for governments, companies, universities, and such, which is legal and safe. Daily internet users could be using the deep web every day, accessing their company profile, reading academic journals, or accessing their bank accounts. In a nutshell, it’s links we use but can not find specifically on Google with a quick search.

However, a small part of the deep web is the dark web, making about 0.01 percent. It is hidden and protected by multiple network security measures such as encryption and firewalls, and it can not be accessed by a regular browser, but rather by specific browsers like Tor browser or Invisible Internet Project (I2P).

Dark web websites’ have different domains from surface web domains, such as “.com,” “.net,” or “.gov.” For the dark web, websites use domains like “.onion,” for Tor browser or “.i2p,” for I2P browser. 

Online Killing

“Online killing,” which are videos of murders, is the latest form of cybercrimes on the dark web. A heinous crime shook Egypt on 27 April, involving the murder of a 15-year-old boy in Shubra El-Kheima. The young boy was found in an apartment with his insides and organs next to him in a bag. The suspect confessed to the crime and stated that he was in contact with a 15-year-old Egyptian boy living in Kuwait on the dark web, who asked him to commit the crime.

He instigated him to kidnap a young boy, murder him, and cut out his organs all while on a video call with him, for the payment of EGP 5 million (USD 104,489). Allegedly, the plan was to sell his organs on the dark web. After further investigation, it was discovered that the instigator just wanted the video footage of the murder to sell it on the dark web for substantial financial gain.

Crimes committed with the assistance of the dark web are nothing new. About 87 percent of listings on the dark web are associated with various types of illegal activities. Additionally, seven out of every ten requests on the dark web are from individuals seeking to connect with criminals, according to Enterprise App Today,

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