Fear the Darkness


Christopher Issa, Writer

The dark web is perhaps the most elusive place on the Internet. If you are not familiar with the dark web it is basically all websites that are not indexed by search engines.  On paper, this place seems like a perfect utopia, but ever since this place existed, it has been taken advantage of by the criminal world. The deep web is basically the black market of the internet and therefore, can exist as that perfect ‘utopia’ for the criminal underworld.

The deep web is a hotbed of criminal activity. On the deep web, one can purchase fake IDs, fake passports, drugs, slaves, and sex workers. People can also illegally purchase firearms and pay money to see things be it images or live videos that, for the sake of decency, the contents of which will not be detailed. Perhaps the most infamous of any of the websites on the deep web would have to be Silk Road. Silk Road is like Amazon and eBay except for nothing but drugs. The website was launched in February 2011 and in October 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the website and arrested Ross William Ulbricht under charges of being the site’s pseudonymous founder “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Ulbricht was convicted of eight charges related to Silk Road in U.S. Federal Court in Manhattan and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On November 6th, 2013, Silk Road 2.0 came online run by former administrators of Silk Road. It was also shut down by the FBI, Europol, and Eurojust. The operator, Blake Benthall under the pseudonym “Defcon,” was arrested on November 6th, 2014 as part of “Operation Onymous”. Silk Road 3.0 went offline in 2017 due to the loss of funds.

The dark web is also home to radical forums and is often used by terrorist groups to spread their messages and entice new recruits. The most frightening detail about the deep web is the fact that every time law enforcement manages to thwart an example of criminal activity or shut down a website, a new one is launched and an almost infinite amount of crimes are committed. What is even more interesting is that 4% of “www” material is what is indexed by search engines on the surface web and 96% of “www” material is on the deep web and not indexed. To visualize, everything we view on a day to day basis is only a small section of the iceberg while everything else on the deep web makes up the rest of the giant iceberg underwater.