||It has been suggested that Dark Internet be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2015.|
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The Dark Web, also confusingly referred to as the Deep Web and conflated with Deep Web search is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets, overlay networks which use the public Internet but which require specific software, configurations or authorization to access. The Dark Web forms a small part of the Deep Web, the part of the Web not indexed by search engines.
The darknets which constitute the Dark Web include small, friend-to-friend peer-to-peer networks, as well as large, popular networks like Freenet, I2P, and Tor, operated by public organizations and individuals. Users of the Dark Web refer to the regular web as the Clearnet due to its unencrypted nature. The Tor Dark Web may be referred to as Onionland, a reference to the network's name as "the onion router."
A December 2014 study by Gareth Owen from the University of Portsmouth found that the most commonly requested type of content on Tor was child pornography, followed by black markets, while the individual sites with the highest traffic were dedicated to botnet operations. Many whistleblowing sites maintain a presence as well as political discussion forums. Cloned websites and other scam sites are numerous. Sites associated with Bitcoin, fraud related services and mail order services are some of the most prolific.
Many hackers sell their services there individually or as a part of groups. Such groups include hackforum, Trojanforge, Mazafaka, dark0de and the TheRealDeal darknet market. Some have been known to track and extort apparent pedophiles.
Fraud and fraud services
There are reports of crowdfunded assassinations and hitmen for hire, however these are believed to be exclusively scams. The creator of Silk Road was arrested by the FBI for his site and allegedly hiring a hitman to kill six people, although the charges were later dropped.
Commercial darknet markets, which mediate transactions for illegal drugs and other goods, attracted significant media coverage starting with the popularity of Silk Road and its subsequent seizure by legal authorities. Other markets sell software exploits and weapons.
There is an urban legend that one can find live murder on the Dark Web. The term "Red Room" has been coined based on the Japanese animation and urban legend of the same name. However the evidence points towards all reported instances being hoaxes.
Illegal and ethically disputed pornography
There is regular law enforcement action against sites distributing child pornography – often via compromising the site by distributing malware to the users. Sites use complex systems of guides, forums and community regulation.
Although much of the Dark Web is innocuous, some prosecutors and government agencies, among others, are concerned that it is a haven for criminal activity. In 2014, journalist Jamie Bartlett in his book The Dark Net used the dark net and Dark Web to describe a range of underground and emergent sub cultures, including social media racists, cam girls, self harm communities, darknet drug markets, cryptoanarchists and transhumanists.
Specialist news sites such as DeepDotWeb and All Things Vice provide news coverage and practical information about Dark Web sites and services. The Hidden Wiki and its mirrors and forks hold some of the largest directories of content at any given time.
In October 2013 the UK's National Crime Agency and GCHQ announced the formation of a 'Joint Operations Cell' to focus on cybercrime. In November 2015 this team would be tasked with tackling child exploitation on the Dark Web as well as other cybercrime.
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