Network Security

Dark web, not so dark, study

Despite its reputation as a nefarious terminal for illicit activities, the dark web is mostly legal, says a new research report from Terbium Labs.

"Separating Fact from Fiction: The Truth About the Dark Web," written by Clare Gollnick, chief data scientist, and Emily Wilson, director of analysis at the Baltimore-based dark web data intelligence firm, busts myths people might hold about the dark web and purports to debunk previous reports that offer not much more than superficial hypotheses.

As what precisely is on the dark web is not knowable, owing to its using the anonymous Tor browser, the study touts its scientific credibility in analyzing content it detected.

Claiming to avoid selection bias in its sampling, the researchers found that legal content comprises 53.4 percent of all domains and 54.5 percent of all URLs in its sample.

Extremism was hardly a factor, representing a mere .25 percent of activity detected, and no mention of sales of weapons of mass destruction was detected in the team's sampling of 400 URLs. 

Where the study did find the most illicit activity was in drug sales, which were found in 45 percent of all illegal postings, though a mere 12 percent of overall content.

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