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What is the dark net?

In network terms, the dark net is a virtual network layered over the Internet through which computers can communicate anonymously and securely. This has some benefits around whistle blowing and freedom of speech, but inevitably there's a dark side too. From terrorism, weapons and drugs trading, assassinations and, sadly, child pornography. With it's origins from around 2004, with the first public open source  release of TOR (The Onion Router), the rapid rise of the dark net has changed our world irrevocably.

Interestingly, and unrelated to the dark net, operation Dark Net was the codename used for a distributed denial of service attack that was launched by Anonymous to bring down websites hosting child pornography. Ironically, many of these sites identified and targeted were contained within a dark internet segment. Such segments are so named as they seemingly become detached from the Internet and are non-responsive to normal traffic, as if the address space were a black hole.

So the darkness where vampires, ghost, goblins and all things that go bump in the night lurk ties in nicely to dark net, dark web, dark internet and Dark Net. In our Amsterdammed adventure, the dark net is the perfect place to start exploring Europe in search of clues. This year's event, The Rise of the Dark Net, culminates in Amsterdam amongst the dark canals and creaky bridges.