What is the Dark web?


The Dark Web is predominantly an untraceable area within the internet that cannot be accessed through traditional methods (i.e. regular search engines or browsers). Instead, the Dark Web is accessed through a concealed browser that allows websites to be virtually untraceable by the authorities.


The technology that enables the Dark Web to operate as it does was created by military research in the 1990s, the aim of which was to allow intelligence operatives to anonymously exchange information.

It is not only the websites themselves that are untraceable; visitors to the Dark Web can only access said websites using an encrypted network that essentially provides them with a separate IP address through the network that cannot be traced back to the user themselves.

As a result of this, the Dark Web has become inextricably linked with criminal activity, including organised crime, hacking, sex trafficking, child pornography and drug dealing.

A recent investigation, carried out by Radio 1 Newsbeat, highlighted the drug dealing aspect of the Dark Web and the roadblocks that relevant authorities may come up against when trying to identify both dealer and customer.

Obviously, the first road block is the difficulty in identifying those selling the drugs online. However, the investigation also found that drugs were being ordered through the Dark Web and then being delivered to customers via Royal Mail; this is where the second roadblock lies, as there is very little Royal Mail can do if they handle a package they believe to be ‘suspect’, it would, in fact, be illegal for a postman to open a package.

BBC Newsbeat subsequently tested the viability of ordering illegal substances over the Dark Web, purchasing a number of illegal drugs, all of which arrived within one week via Royal Mail, and disguised as Haribo sweets. Read more about the investigation here.

More recently still, it has been found that British Passports are also being sold on the Dark Web by terrorists. This means a huge security risk is placed on the UK, with 1,291 passports being lost by HM Passport Office’s delivery firm in the past six years, according to research.

In order to tackle the issues that the Dark Web poses within both the UK and worldwide, the Home Office have committed £1.9 billion to work on cybersecurity initiatives over the next five years.

Peel Solutions offers a variety of cyber courses, including a one-day course on the Dark Web. The cyber training course provides an insight into how the Dark Web operates, and the potential implications it can have on investigations, as well as an exploration into crypto currency (including Bitcoin). Take a look at our Training Brochure for further course details.