A group of hackers calling themselves “The Impact Team” has released stolen data from infidelity website Ashley Madison. They put the information – revealing users of the site – on the “dark web.”
Do you know what the dark web is? You can’t find it through Google.
The web is like an onion or your skin. It has several layers. The surface of the web is where we all hang out. This is where we use search engines, websites and links. If you Google it and find it, it’s on the surface web.
Documents you save online, bank records and archived images are on the deep web. You can’t Google these components but they’re still part of the web.
This brings us to the dark web. “People go on the dark web to do things they don’t want people to know,” says Jonathan Sellers, co-founder of Illuminate Local, an online strategy firm. Sellers said the dark web can be used for good. “Like law enforcement can communicate with informants. Also people can store information there that they want to keep private,” he explained.
Some people may just choose to use the dark web to conduct a private web search.
But Sellers said the dark web is also used in very negative ways. “You could go in there and purchase heroin, cocaine, marijuana … whatever you wanted and it would be shipped right to you,” he said.
Reports say millions of dollars change hands in illegal markets in the dark web. The stolen records from Ashley Madison were released there. In addition, transactions with ISIS are conducted in parts of the dark web. There’s child porn, gun sales and other black market activities.
TORProject.org is one way to get to the dark web. TOR, or ‘The Onion Router,’ is software that claims its users are family and friends, business leaders, activists, media and military members. Once inside any user can search and conduct searches privately, without being traced.