In the 1990s, the internet changed in many ways. It is accessible to all the public across the globe. The development of the internet also includes the growth of the so-called dark web. People use it for illegal online activities. In many European countries, the dark web drug trade is growing very fast.
Along with European countries, many users of Asian countries also use it. Adults may be worried about the younger generation visiting it for any illegal activities. With the negative aspects, there are also many positive features like everything is online and many more!
This blog post gives an introduction analysis of the dark web, why people use it, and its users in Europe and Asian countries. We also describe the pros and cons of its use. We explain how much of the internet the dark web is in 2022. Let’s dive into our topic.
What Is The Dark Web?
Some special software is used to access it, permitting users to remain untraceable. People go online through a device such as a computer, etc., with an IP address. An internet protocol is a unique online identity. It uses complex systems and is reachable only using delicate software such as TOR browsers.
Dark Web Cybercrime Is On the Rise in Asia
The UNODC launched the report that evaluates the dark web from user perspectives, law enforcement, and criminals, with special attention on cybercrime targeting Asian countries. People use it, and this trend has increased in recent years. The pandemic age of COVID-19 intensifies its use, including criminals with no cyber experience. One of the common selling products in the dark web market is drugs. In the world of technology, one of the rapidly growing buzzwords is the dark web. Many regions of the globe have grown their own communities on it. Asia is also included in such regions whose underground internet threatens the government.
Threat Exploration Challenges in Asia
Since a few years ago, cyber activities and the dark web have been increasing day by day in Asia. This increment presented many threats with new challenges across the globe.
- Governing laws
One of the challenges is to find cyber threat hunters. Especially those who are experts in the local language. However, they are also required to recognize the rules and dark web slang.
2. Governing Laws
The governments of every country implement some laws on the usage of this site and the Internet. This action has created a unique relationship between netizens and the government. To perform reconnaissance, the knowledge of these laws is very important.
Getting access to the right secret forums and network is one of the difficult tasks. In Asia, many hackers do not use openly accessible networks, which leads to a new number of challenges.
Asian Countries That Are Most Active on the Internet
There are many Asian countries that are actively using the dark web. Here we elaborate on some of them below.
In 1994, the arrival of the internet occurred in China, and many of the population of this country used it. With the passage of time, the number of internet users in China has increased gradually. In the early years, the Chinese hackers were not very trained. But from the last 10 years, Chinese hackers have become more advanced and mature. Their experience is also enhanced tremendously.
The population of China uses a government-controlled network such that the government controls all access. Furthermore, there is a very interesting relationship between the Chinese hackers and the government. When hackers do something, the Chinese government also does everything to restrict and prosecute the hackers.
Chinese Dark Web Usage
Cybercriminals offer their goods and services on the dark and deep web in other regions. At the same time, the Chinese are more active in the clear net. Cybercriminals use special code names to avoid government restrictions. However, China has a small dark web usage compared to other countries.
This is due to the fact that most illicit operations are done in the open on a clear web. Another reason for it is that the government of China strictly controls all access to the Internet. So, accessing the dark web is a tough task for internet users. The Chinese government protects their country by attacking back at criminals.
Chinese Black Market Goods and Services
The Chinese have a lot of material easily accessible across this website. Here we mentioned some goods and terminologies across the Chinese internet. These include:
- Fake passports
- Fake diplomas
- Date for sales like private information, company data, and many more
- Human organs and child pornography
Chinese Cyber Nationalism
One of the qualities of Chinese people is their strong sense of national pride. Hackers believe that their activities should be answered with a great cyber response. So it is an important difference between Chinese and other internet users.
In Indonesia, the dark web started in the 2000s. It is not a major issue in this country. Furthermore, many hackers use mobile apps and web surfaces for illegal activities.
Casino games and gambling are both illicit in this region. So, the population across gambling sites is increasing day by day. It is one of its initial uses of it. Some dark websites also present date rape drugs like Rohypnol and pornography materials.
At the beginning of 2013, the dark web scene in Japan can be traced. Many people do illicit activity on this site. At one time, the Japanese dark web offered many goods and services. The most common services on Japan dark web is:
- Child pornography
In Japan, drug dealers sell their products. Moreover, if the buyers are not satisfied, return it free of charge. However, a lot of internet users use this site in Japan. They do many illicit operations like selling drugs, stealing credit card data, etc., compared to West Japanese dark web users who behave differently. The process of making laws in Japan on cybercrime is tough. Cybercriminals have more room to change their thoughts into actions. They also do not worry about interruption. This leads to a criminal cyber climate unrestricted in Japan.
4. South Korea
In the mid-2000s, the dark web started in South Korea. Research studies show that its use in South Korea is increasing every year. These websites are mostly used for illicit activities. By comparison with the number of Internet users, these sites are relatively small in the country. At the same time, the activity has been enhanced over the past few years. Here we mention the common South Korean dark websites.
- Hacking forums
- Child pornography
- Black markets
- Hidden wikis
Compared to overall internet users in South Korea, the number of dark web link users is very small. The most prominent illicit activity in South Korea on the dark web is:
- Sale of drug/ narcotics
- Credit card information
Along with these, there are also many illegal operations found on the country’s dark websites.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the internet arrived in this country. Only big companies, governments, and universities used it in the initial stage. The dark web activity in Vietnam started in the late 2000s. These mostly include black markets, with the famous language being English. The government of Vietnam created the cyber security bill in the last of 2017. They are focused on:
- Cryptocurrency exchange
- Child pornography
To avoid government laws, most communication is done in English.
In a nutshell, the Asian dark web is small compared to other regions such as Europe and the United States. It does not reduce the danger of threat. The most common drugs available in darknet markets are:
- Psychedelic mushrooms
In recent years, dark web marketplaces have provided a safe place for criminals to advertise their illegal goods and services. The trend is accelerated more due to COVID. However, arrests have been made in Asian countries to produce and possess illicit child sexual activities.
Essential Elements of Darknet Markets
There are four major elements to operating a dark web marketplace. These components are given below.
- An onion website
- An online money system
- A payment system
- Reputation and feedback
Reasons Dark Web Markets Are Booming European and Asian Users
Here we mentioned the five key reasons behind the success of dark web markets.
1. Ransom Payout to Cybercriminals
The main reason for enhancing ransomware attacks is that cybercriminals are being paid out. The confidence level of criminals is increased with these payouts, which leads to new ransomware attacks. However, the flow of these attacks is also caused due to cyber insurance companies.
2. Funds Flow-Through Cryptocurrencies
The success of this black market is due to the anonymity of bitcoin. In this cryptocurrency, sellers and buyers do transactions without knowing each other. This private transaction permits criminals to sell and buy illegal products.
3. The Growth of Anonymizing Networks
One of the largest anonymizing networks is TOR. On average, about 2 million users are directly connected to its services. Furthermore, the bandwidth capacity of this increases from year to year. The increment is the main reason for the growth of the dark web. It also expands users of the dark web.
4. Organization’s Attack Surfaces Are Increasing
Most organizations have moved to create a digital representation of objects. Their boundaries of the network have finished. With the comparison of early age, the system is more integrated now. This is also why the increase of attack surface organizations gives more opportunities to cybercriminals. However, the organization should keep in mind the following points to fight against cybercrime.
- Gain visibility to the dark web and cybercrime markets
- To reduce your attack surface, take a risk-based approach
- Keep yourself updated about cyber threats and risks, and always be aware of these situations
With these suggestions, organizations are on their way to fighting against crimes.
5. Increasing Profitability of Dark Web Markets
Australia has been the most prosperous country for dark web drugs. It has proven to be highly lucrative for the dealers. There are many ways to earn money from organizations, including ransomware. One example of a growing marketplace is Maze. However, the earnings of hackers are increasing day by day because their demands are reaching new heights.
Dark Web Popularity in European Countries
Besides Asian countries, the dark web has also become popular in European countries, in which the UK is the number one place. The drug trade is also growing rapidly in France, the UK, Italy, Switzerland, and many others. The main platform for this trading is the dark web, which shows an increase in selling and buying illegal products. The dark web is the part of the internet that many users use for illegal activities. Due to the privacy of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins, the users are untraceable.
The dark web is the bottom part of the iceberg with many dangers and threats. The largest European markets included:
This market users buy guns, explosive material, and many other things from this platform. So it is the site of both legal and illegal activities.
From 2011- to 2015, 170 million euros worth of drugs were sold on the dark web. Among these, 170 million 80 million euros worth were sold in Europe. The dark web has become an attractive platform for buying and selling products and services due to the good quality of drugs.
Top 11 European Countries on the Dark Web
Here we listed the top 11 European countries that are popular for its use.
How Does The Dark Web Work?
Tor is the most popular network on the dark web. Access to this site can be done by downloading and installing the Tor browser. The major funding of the Tor project is the government of the United States. The dark web is popular for many illegal activities.
Why is it so Popular With Criminals?
Dark web links are only accessible with some special delicate software. It can be used both for illicit and non-illicit operations. With the Tor network, it is easy to keep your identity private. Due to this privacy, criminals use dark web platforms for buying and selling drugs and many other things. It is one of the major sources of income for many thieves. They do many illegal activities and earn money by selling drugs and the personal data of the company.
How Can European and As8an Users Protect Themselves from Dark Web
Dark web links are not bad all time because many journalists and law enforcement officers use this platform to share information. Sometimes many people become the victim of identity thieves. Here we mentioned some steps that can greatly help you protect yourself from identity thieves.
1. Be Aware When Browsing the Dark Web
Be mindful whenever you browse it because sometimes you don’t know where the browser takes you.
2. For Your Accounts, Use Unique Passwords
It is dangerous if an identity thief uses your account information. So create unique passwords to save yourself from this danger. If you realize that another person is using your account information, change your password immediately.
3. Update Your Password
Updating passwords is also a great way to protect from such threats. Changing passwords on a regular or weekly basis makes your information less useful.
4. Sign up For Dark Web monitoring
This service will look for your personal information. If it finds any threat, then inform you immediately. It warns you about your information so that you take steps to hide your data.
5. Freeze Your Credit Reports
Locking your credit reports can assist someone with many actions such as opening accounts in your name etc. These are the tips that will greatly help you protect your online information. Besides this, be careful about your sharing on different platforms of social media.
How Much of The Internet Is The Dark Web in 2022?
It has had its fair and bad sides over the last few years. Now the question arises how much of the internet is the dark web? The answer to the above question is elaborated below.
Let’s suppose that there is an iceberg in the ocean.
The top part of it consists of a surface web that only shows 4% of the Internet. The part merged under water consists of a deep web that makes most of the internet. Finally, the bottom part of the iceberg contains a dark web. There is no exact knowledge about how big this site is? Here we give only a rough estimation. As explained earlier, this is a small portion of the deep web. So, it makes up 96 to 99% of the whole internet. About 1 to 4% of the remaining portion is surface or clear web.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Here we explain the advantages and disadvantages of it that prove beneficial for the readers.
With some disadvantages, there are also good sides to it. Due to its bright side, give it a second glance. Here we elaborate on three reasons that make it a useful platform for its users.
1. A Place to Evade Oppressive Censorship
It is an important protective shield from whistleblowers and also a way to evade censors. In many countries, it is an essential tool for concealing communications.
2. Supporting a Free Press
It is also a vital platform for journalists to collect information securely. A tool such as secure drop is used for this purpose. So like other technologies, it also has some good sides that prove beneficial.
3. A Dissident’s Best Friend
The modern age is the world of technology that is hungry for information. It permits whistleblowers to leave information about anything. So with the bad sides, it also has some brighter sides. It helps to protect user privacy in a way that the surface web cannot do.
As mentioned above, that small portion of the deep web has some disadvantages. Here we mentioned three of them.
1. Drug and Banned Substances
It is a safe platform for many illegal operations related to the drug trade. All the illicit activity is done on one of its marketplaces, named silk road. These activities involve:
- Drug supply
- Purchasing weapons
- Other illegal stuff
So be careful when you use it to protect yourself from any trouble.
2. Child Pornography
Child pornography is a very widespread activity on it. We are not proud of such an action. As for morality, it is not a good part of humanity.
3. Hitman for Hire
Besides buying guns and weapons, you can also search hitmen for hire. They are willing to do your work for a few dollars. This activity was done on this site with complete impunity.
The dark web user in Asia is relatively small compared to other regions such as the United States and Europe. This small fraction does not mean that the danger is less in Asia. It has become the platform of earning for many criminals. Due to COVID-19, the criminals evolve their business model safely at this place. Different regions have made different efforts to lessen the cyber threat.
We also mentioned the pros and cons of it to make you aware of its bad and bright sides. Whenever you browse on it, it’s your responsibility to make the correct use of dark web links. Use precautions to save yourself from any threat. The dark web is a fraction of the deep web in which many illegal activities are done through experienced and non-experienced criminals. The most popular activity is child pornography and drug selling, whose growth is increasing rapidly in European countries.