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U.S. citizens undertake the most searches for the dark web

Who uses the mysterious ‘dark web’ and why? A new survey shows people in the US are most inclined to enter the hidden parts of the Internet. But what are they up to?

Anything connected to the internet -- from smartphones to power plant controllers — can be manipulated. — Photo: DJC
Anything connected to the internet -- from smartphones to power plant controllers — can be manipulated. — Photo: DJC

For many the dark web is an unknown mystery, a corner of the web that remains untouched by many. What goes on in this part of the Internet and does it actually matter?

There are nearly 1.5 million people across the world searching for the dark web, so which countries are most intrigued by it? A new survey unveils where in the world people are most curious about the dark web.

The data suggests that people living in the U.S. are the most curious about the dark web, with 382,800 searches per year entered online looking for more information about this hidden region in cyber-space.

After this comes India (251,400 searches) and the UK (78,400 searches), placed at second and third as the most eager areas in the world to access this space. This is followed by: France, Italy, Indonesia, Canada, Philippines, Brazil, and Turkey.

The most notable keywords are ‘dark web’ and specifically ‘how to access the dark web’. The data was drawn from Google’s Keyword Planner to establish the average monthly search volume in each country for the terms ‘dark web’ and ‘how to access the dark web’.

Within Europe, people in the UK and France (60,670 searches) are seeking information about the dark web the most, followed by Italy (49,590 search terms), and Turkey (33,150 clicks).

According to the company behind the research – Uswitch – over 1.5 million people across the world are searching for the dark web online. From selling valuable personal data, using details to hack financial accounts, to selling counterfeit and illegal items, the dark web has an association with nefarious activity. This includes enabling people to anonymously view and buy illicit materials online via specific browsers.

When engaging in searches, it is apparent that people from non-English speaking nations will often search using keywords both in English and their native language, as translated content online can be limited.

A dark web page is purposely hidden (so that it does not show up on search engines). This means that those seeking specific content can only gain access via certain browsers. Out of the options available, Tor has been revealed as the most searched for dark web browser in the world, with 910,730 people actively looking for it. Waterfox comes in second (52,220 search terms), and Whonix in third with 21,770 global average monthly searches.

The popularity of Tor as the leader in dark web browsers, is reflected by users in the U.S. (165,000 searches), plus with India (90,500 search terms), and the UK (49,500 Tor related click activities). Commenting on the outcome of the research, Nick Baker, a broadband expert, at Uswitch.com, tells Digital Journal: “If our personal details are placed in the wrong hands and shared on the dark web, this can be pretty dangerous. Before we know it, thousands of hackers could have access to our bank details, private information and passwords. It goes to show that when spending time on the Internet, users should be mindful of what they’re sharing, and where.”

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