The dark web is used by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons – but it’s not surprising that it’s used for illegal activity.
A study by the University of Portsmouth in 2014 found that the most wanted type of content on Tor was child porn, followed by black markets for goods such as drugs, personal details and even guns.
This type of site is regularly busted by police, who compromise them by distributing viruses and malware to users.
The dark web is also used for hiding online activity related to finance, extremism, arms, hacking, abuse and fraud.
However, for others the dark web has positive uses. For example, it can be used to avoid a national firewall, such as China, where users are normally blocked from accessing hidden sites.
It can also be used as a tool for whistleblowing – infamous website WikiLeaks is hosted on the dark web, allowing whistleblowers to anonymously upload classified information to the press.
Do police ever catch people using the dark web?
Yes – although using the dark web makes it easier to evade detection but governments around the world are working to index, sort and catalogue the dark web as well as monitor it as much as they can.