“Suprise!” scientists from Kings College London conducted a research about the dark net, which they published in a journal titled ”Survival: Global Politics and Strategy”. According to them, religious extremist sites are pretty rare on the dark web, the ones selling drugs and guns are much more common.
The research, which was conducted in early 2015, states that from among 5205 domains 1547 websites are live and working on the dark net. 423 websites are relating to the manufacture or the sales of drugs, being the most popular category among hidden sites. Illegal substances are followed by hacking sites and forums with 96 entries and gun markets with 42. “Violent” websites, such as hitman services, were pretty uncommon during the research. The scientists only found a couple of websites in this category, however, it is a good question if these domains are real or just scam sites.
The most interesting fact the researchers found was that religious extremism was almost missing from the dark net (though there are some extremist websites). The cause for this could be that religious extremists, such as the Islamic State, are using the clearnet (the public side of the web) to spread their messages. They most commonly use social media sites for that.
Like that, Tor should provide secure and anonymized browsing, which is indeed what many people use it for, not criminal activities, as it’s known for. This is particularly the case in countries where governments do not tolerate unfettered Internet use.
A surprising result from the research, only 3% to 6% of Tor traffic is used to access the hidden sites, according to Kings College.
”Tor was famously used by thousands in Egypt when the Internet was clamped down in 2011”, explains Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid from Kings College in their paper. They also made this statement about Tor:
“Tor’s anonymization function has received widespread support and praise.”