Exploring and analyzing the dark Web: A new alchemy

  • Mohd Faizan
  • Raees Ahmad Khan

Abstract

The Tor network is an encrypted network that allows anonymous access to the Internet for its users. The Tor network also hosts hidden services which constitute the infamous dark Web. These hidden services are used to carry out activities that are otherwise illegal and unethical on the surface Web. These activities include distribution of child pornography, access to illegal drugs, and the sale of weapons. While Tor hidden services provide a platform for uncensored ventures and a free expression of thoughts, they are outnumbered by grey activities taking place. In this paper, we have collected the addresses of about 25,742 hidden services and analyze the data for 6,227 available services with the help of custom-made crawler in Python. We analyzed the dataset and manually classify the data into 31 different categories to identify the nature of content available on the dark Web. The results indicate that a large share of hidden services provide illegal content along with a large number of scam sites. Non-English content was also studied and categorized. Russian was the leading language of the dark Web after English and hidden services having forums and blogs were predominantly present over other content.

Author Biographies

Mohd Faizan

Mohd Faizan is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Information Technology, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, India.

Raees Ahmad Khan

Raees Ahmad Khan is currently working as a Professor and Head of the Department of Information Technology, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, India. His areas of interest are software security, software quality, and software testing.

Published
2019-04-30
How to Cite
Faizan, M., & Khan, R. A. (2019). Exploring and analyzing the dark Web: A new alchemy. First Monday, 24(5). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v24i5.9473
Section
Articles