Everything You Need To Know About The Underbelly Of The Internet

Deep, dark web...

Everything You Need To Know About The Underbelly Of The Internet

There were reports last week that smart home technology could be the weak link in your cyber security, as wifi-powered light bulbs and gadgets don't have the same level of protection as a laptop does against hackers.

And the threat to your digital safety could be under an even graver threat, should you decide to peruse the dark web.

While this might seem to be a bit beyond the ambit of a normal google or Wikipedia session, it is not uncommon for people to on the dark web just to have a look around - with reports that even tech-savvy teenagers are entering this dark corner of the internet.

Director of the Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW Professor Richard Buckland spoke with Triple about the dangers of venturing into the deep, dark web. 

"I like to think of it as like Harry Potter. The whole world is equal to the internet, and there are places on it that normal people go - like Google. And we'd call that the World Wide Web," Professor Buckland said.

"But there are also other places that live in parallel to those places that you can't find through Google, and that's called the 'deep web'.

"And the part of the deep web that is deliberately hidden, rather than accidentally hidden, is often called the 'dark web'.

"The dark web is just places that are hidden that you need particular credentials or software to access."

Surprisingly, according to Professor Buckland, a large number of the users on the dark web are law enforcement officers.

Given the nature of the content found on the dark web - such as child pornography, human trafficking and services to order a hit on someone - it isn't surprising that police would look here to catch would-be criminals.

"It's very dangerous to go on the dark web. You really shouldn't go on, because it's populated by a whole lot of people including lots of law enforcement. And although the dark web is supposed to be anonymous, there are constant efforts by governments - we know that from the leaks from Snowden - and criminals to break anonymity.

"A lot of the traffic on the dark web is actually law enforcement and law enforcement pretending to be bad people. 

"Going to these places and looking at these things will not only potentially break the law, but it's a really lovely way of infecting people and their machines. They can hide lots of malicious software and nasty surprises, throughout it, so it could actually damage your computer."