Structure and Content of the Visible Darknet

Georgia Avarikioti, Roman Brunner, Aggelos Kiayias, Roger Wattenhofer, Dionysis Zindros

In this paper, we analyze the topology and the content found on the "darknet", the set of websites accessible via Tor. We created a darknet spider and crawled the darknet starting from a bootstrap list by recursively following links. We explored the whole connected component of more than 34,000 hidden services, of which we found 10,000 to be online. Contrary to folklore belief, the visible part of the darknet is surprisingly well-connected through hub websites such as wikis and forums. We performed a comprehensive categorization of the content using supervised machine learning. We observe that about half of the visible dark web content is related to apparently licit activities based on our classifier. A significant amount of content pertains to software repositories, blogs, and activism-related websites. Among unlawful hidden services, most pertain to fraudulent websites, services selling counterfeit goods, and drug markets.

Knowledge Graph



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