The dark web is a combination of websites where illegal activities are being carried out. Sites in this part of the internet cannot be accessed through traditional search engines. Web sites that mostly cater to illegal activities use virtual, private networks to hide the location and identity of its users and administrators. Typical websites such as Facebook are referred to as the surface web. The surface web is the opposite of the dark web. Users in the dark web use encryption technology to communicate and share content confidentially. The dark web began in the year 2006 with the transaction of fake goods on the internet.

Silk Road was regarded as the first-ever modern black market that mainly sold illegal drugs starting in early 2011 -- it was shut down by the FBI in late 2013.

Activities being conducted in the dark web

According to The Onion Router (TOR), free online software that provides anonymous communication services, in the year 2016 8.1% of activities involving its software was linked to the illegal drug trade. 6.3% was linked to finance activities such as gambling, 2.7% was linked to extremist activities, Illegal Pornography accounted for 2.3%, activities associated with hacking made up 1.8%, while the sale of arms and violent activities made up 0.8% and 0.3% respectively.

Hackers groups such as xDedic, hack forum Dark0e, Trojanforge, Mazafaka, and TheRealDeal are believed to be in possession of stolen credit card information, while banks have also been affected by hackers from the dark web.

Hackers offer hacking services and buy and sell stolen credit card information, and PayPal account details.

Other goods traded include counterfeit money, steroids, and illegal goods, as well as hacking tools. Other services include document forging. Hitmen for hire also use this part of the web to look for potential clients.

Illegal downloads of items such as books, music, and other forms of digital media also pass through the dark web. Due to massive governments surveillance, extremists use the dark web to communicate and conduct recruitment activities.


Many websites in this part of the internet are similar to the Silk Road website and accept bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies as the primary mode of payment to prevent a paper trail. It is currently not known which website dominates the market currently, as most sites operate using encrypted technology and are only known to its users.