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Hyperion Gray publishes the first surfable map of the Dark Web

Hyperion Gray created the Dark Web Map. It is a visualization of ~6.6k web sites running on Tor’s onion services

For the first time Dark Web isn’t so Dark. It thanks to a map published by Hyperion Gray. It is a visualization of ~6.6k web sites running on Tor’s onion services (née “hidden services”). The research team explains in a post what the Dark Web Map is, what it means, and why they created it. First of all, we have to understand what is Dark Web, not confusing it with Deep Web. It’s an environment of sites that can only be accessed by using special software. There are three major technologies in existence: Tor, I2P, and Freenet. The first one is by far the most popular and active. For the purposes Hyperion Gray has focused exclusively on Tor.

Why Tor is the most used technology to access to Dark Web

Why Tor is the most used technology to access to Dark Web? It has two distinct purposes. The first is to hide the locations of users who are browsing the web. It encrypts the browsing traffic and mixes it with other users’ traffic, using a technique called onion routing that hides IP address from the websites that people visit. It also hides the traffic from ISP, who can see when a user is connected to the Tor network, but can’t determine what sites the user is accessing through it. The second purpose is to hide the location of the website itself. Tor allows a website to hide its IP address from its users. Such sites are called “onion services”. Moreover, they can actually do a lot more. They support file sharing, chat programs, video streaming, etc.

How the Map works

The Hyperion Gray Dark Web Map is a visualization of 6,608 sites that were present on the dark web during a January 2018 crawl. This is not an exhaustive listing of all onion services, because many of them are not easy to discover by crawling. So that, according to the Tor Project’s statistics, there are over 60,000 onion services running at the time of publication, so the research team sample represents about 10%. The Map is a huge image (~2.7 billion pixels) that visualizes the galaxy. It is possible move around it and zoom into see features of interest. At the base level, each site looks like a little dot. However, if we zoom in to the top left corner, we can start to see additional details. Like screenshot from each site. Carrying on with the zoom it will be possible to discover ever more details on the single sites.

Next steps of Hyperion Gray

“Our purpose in building the Dark Web Map is to shine a light onto a buzzwordy and frequently misunderstood technology – wrote Hyperion Gray in the post -. This is an educational resource and an exploratory dataset for neophytes and experts alike. In future posts, we will discuss the technical decisions and details involved in creating the map and offer a more rigorous analysis of the data it contains. Until then, we encourage you to explore it on your own (but heed the disclaimer!) and share your findings with us or ask questions”.

The access page to the map, with the disclaimer

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