By definition, the dark web refers to a part or area of the World Wide Web that search engines don’t index. You may have heard that it’s a breeding ground for unlawful activity, and for the most part, it is. Back in 2015, researchers Thomas Rid and Daniel Moore of the King’s College had classified over two thousand live websites’ content over a period of five weeks and found over fifty percent were hosting illicit material. And things have only gotten worse.

The dark web could damage enterprises and have grown significantly through the years. 

Difference between the dark and deep webs

The terms deep and dark web are often used interchangeably. However, they aren’t the same thing. The former refers to everything online that isn’t indexed nor accessible via search engines. Their content is generally hidden behind paywalls or requires credentials to sign in. Moreover, it includes material its owners may have blocked from indexing. Membership websites, fee-based content, and medical records are some examples of this. 

On the other hand, the latter is merely the subset of the former and is intentionally hidden. It also requires a specific type of browser to gain access to the dark web data. While nobody knows how big the dark web is, some believe it to be at least five percent of the entire internet.

Dark web services and tools

The same report from the abovementioned study identified twelve categories of services and tools that may present risks, such as data compromise or network breach. Here are some of them:

  • Attacks or infection, including botnets, DDoS, and malware
  • Access like keyloggers, Trojans, and various exploits
  • Espionage, including customization, services, and targeting
  • Tutorials and various support services
  • Phishing
  • Trade secrets or intellectual properties
  • Consumer, operational, and financial data

It also outlines a few risk variables per category:

  • Devaluation of an enterprise, including undermining the trust of the brand and reputational damage
  • Disruption of operations through DDoS and malware
  • Defrauding the business through espionage or IP theft that impairs the ability of a business to operate or cause financial losses

RaaS kits or ransomware-as-service have also been widely available via dark web channels for many years. However, these offerings have grown to be extremely dangerous, thanks to the rise of more specialized criminal organizations and groups like GandCrab or REvil. They develop sophisticated malicious software — combining them with pre-existing programs at times — and distribute them to their affiliates.


The dark web can be a dangerous place, but many experts use it to enhance their situational awareness and analyze potential threats to ensure that they’re prepared. If ever you find any information pertaining to you, there’s little that can be done about it. But at the very least, you’ll know that you’re composed and can prepare yourself for what could potentially come. So the bottom line is that if you’re okay with unpredictable availability and poor performance, the dark web can be worth visiting. Just be sure you don’t make any purchases there.