Who’s Afraid of the Big Dark Web?

Media Division | April 12, 2016

Little pig, little pig, let me in…

The Big Bad Dark Web just keeps growing in notoriety and it’s not just made up of one lone wolf, but thousands of threat actors supporting or establishing new black markets, strategy forums and sharing scripts and hacks.

The Dark Web vs the Deep Web

When discussing the Dark Web the common question arises, ” What is the difference between the Dark Web and Deep Web?”. Simply put the answer is this; The Dark Web is a division of the Deep Web. The Deep Web covers all online locations which are not available through traditional search engines such as websites which have blocked Google access or have been “blacklisted” by Google for unethical activity. The Dark Web label is reserved for locations which rely on dark networks, networks which hide your identity such as Tor, I2P and many darknet encrypted Internet Relay Channels (IRC) and are also most frequented by cyber criminals, black market traders and buyers. The term “Dark” also insinuates evil or without morals.

The “Surface Web”, also known as Clearnet is what we are all most accustomed to. These would be the the publicly available locations we find on Google and other search engines.

ⓒ Image Copyrighted by Massive Alliance


A recent article on Dark Web growth shared some interesting statistics showing that the internet underbelly is growing faster than the US economy and there is nothing we can do to stop it. In fact, the study from the University of Surrey in England came out with some remarkable growth in the past 3 months alone.

“…the number of dark websites inside the Tor network, having shown a slow but steady increase over the past three months, suddenly shot up by about 50%, from around 40,000 to just over 60,000”

Though these statistics are highly questionable as they do not reflect volume increased from our dark web monitoring service, it does tell us a few things:

  • The amount of interest in the dark web from analysts and academic sources is increasing;
  • The general public is becoming more aware of the big bad Dark Web;
  • Flocks of new visitors are going to the dark web resulting in an increase of underground interest and economy.
Is Over-Glorification the Culprit?

Over the past few years it has been interesting to watch the blasé emotion of companies evolve into a full  on phobia of the Dark Web and targeted attacks. Interest in the Deep Web peaked in 2013 when the FBI took down the infamous Silk Road, a giant black market located on the Tor network. Many other global cyber attacks resulted in the media networks streaming terror stories of companies being sued for not protecting data, of cyber crime and data breaches, making these incidents daily headlines. And as the media spread, the inevitable happened with Hollywood and TV networks riding the wave of interest and pumping out movies and documentaries glorifying (and perhaps exaggerating for viewer pleasure) the omni-presence of cybercrime.


Any good PR firm will tell you the same thing: The number of times you mention a subject, name or product, the more it gains recognition. The Dark Web is becoming a self-sustaining economy and only protected by carefully crafted walls of anonymity and glorification by the general media.

Massive's Media Division publishes timely news and insights based on current events, trends, and actionable cross-industry expertise.