Sanjeev Kotnala: Darknet and the other side of digital information highway

02 Aug,2017

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I had my brush with Darknet (or Deepnet) by mistake on clicking some links that sent me on a trail that I quickly terminated. It was enough for me to ask Google Chacha for his advice.

I have time and again thought about such a possibility, parallel universe, good vs evil, anti net, mysterious net and all. However, how was I to know that the thing existed?

I am not sure how many of us know about existence of Darknet. And if one of us has ventured deep into this almost illegal arena?

Today, we are not surprised with Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. throwing lakhs of sites to our query for any and every search. We do not marvel at the spread and hugeness of this information highway. Like we are not surprised by discovery of new galaxies and light-years of measurement or the speed of AI development.

We take them for granted. They are part of our lives.

Now here is the deal. What we access digitally is part of easily reachable part of the information network. The visible part of the Internet. Like an iceberg, a lot more is below the radar. It is so deep that our reputed search engines can hardly touch it. Alternatively, they do not intend touching it. For them, it does not exist.

However, the truth remains that Darknet, Deepnet or the Invisible Internet exists.

It is a world we don’t know about. It is like Mumbai Mafia, that leaves you untouched unless you try to interfere or interface with it. The Darknet is like a Stephen King horror setup. It exists in the mysterious under-alley of overt known digital space. It rides the framework albeit with minor but significant interface differences that prevent our search engines from indexing and recording its presence.

Not all is dark there.

There are people with high privacy needs use the network. There are whistle blowers wanting to protect their identities. Suppliers and dealers of illegal materials, pornographic material to highly debatable resources banks on it. Government bodies keep their own secrets buried in it, as it is multi encrypted and not easy to dig.

The root of Wikileaks is the Tor network. The onion domains kept Wikileaks up even when it was being chased by every country.

These darkest parts of Darknet work in multiple layers and nodes. It is practically impossible for the Brahmin search engines to trace and fix the coordinates of data origin and destination. Onion or the TOR network is one of the domains.

In Onion, the domain is held as a string of an unintelligent jumble of random numbers and characters only decipherable by the Onion servers. The domain name is long, at least 16 characters that make it further complicated. All in the alphabets from a to z are used in lower case. And it uses numbers from 2 to 7. Example http :// uhwikih 256ynt57t .onion, http:// vault43z5v xy3vn3.onion/ (extra gaps in the URL are to remove perpetual hyper linking).

If you wish to have a closer brush with DARKNET, you have no option but to use a specialised browser. One of them is the TOR Browser. You can install from and then you are on your own. You must remain anonymous (use a VPN), layer your activity and turnoff running of scripts. IT IS NOT ADVISABLE TO BE DIVING INTO THIS SPACE as it ruins your privacy, and you don’t know who wants to tag and track people who are trying to search here.

It is definitely not adviseable to surf this adventurous suicidal trip. It is said (on the net) that the broadband providers are required to track usage of TOR / Onion and report it to authorities.

I am told the Darknet Onion directory can be accessed at http://am4wuhz3zifexz5u.onion/. Using our search engines all I got was SITE UNREACHABLE. Checking this on search gave me just 11300 results in 0.62 seconds and a new perspective to the subject.

Tracing the suggested dump leads to a list of links that covers Financial Marketplaces, Paypal, Hitman Services, Drugs, psychedelics, hosting, blogs, e-mail messaging, hacking, warez, erotic, etc. Very alluring and tempting to go deep in. Trying to open these links with Chrome was stonewalled. However, a friend helped me surf it for a limited time on the TOR browser.

Even if you do end up there, here is a piece of unsolicited advice. Please DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANYTHING. It may be good for you to access RFC 7686 from International Engineering Taskforce ( IETF) and read it before thinking of acting on the silly burst of curiosity.

The results from your search can be surprisingly different than what they hint at. It is Onion. You must peel the layers before reaching the core. By warning you of the danger, I maybe absolved from the responsibility of raising your curiosity.

Sanjeev Kotnala with 30 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. Additionally, he focusses on Ideation, Innovation and design thinking. He loves sharing the concept of Brand-i, a deliberate strategic framework to create and control your image and impressions, to be the brand. Email tweet @s_kotnala web:


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