The introduction of the internet has led to the creation of revolutionary means of sharing knowledge across the globe.
But how much knowledge do we possess regarding the internet? Do we have a thorough understanding of, say, the undertakings that characterize the dark web?
A host of questions have been posed concerning this matter, and it is this curiosity that has led to the release of the Dark Web Map by Hyperion Gray.
Hyperion Gray is a research and development organization that has set a precedent for the artificial intelligence industry.
This new invention has enabled the firm to revitalize discussions surrounding the non-conventional segment of the internet world.
The organization realized that most people have been unable to understand how the dark web works, and the contents therein.
It is because of this reality that it adopted an innovative means of showcasing the intrigues of the hidden web and provide a peek into its core activities.
The map is mostly a collection of dark web homepage images that a user may view to gain an understanding of the hidden sites existing on the Tor network.
A Brief History
Hyperion Gray’s Dark Web Map was the product of a 2015 experiment conducted under DARPA’s Memex project. The objective of Memex was to construct search engines to be used by the legal facet of dark web.
Specifically, these simple search engines would help law enforcement officers curb criminal activities such as human trafficking.
Back then, the project was equipped with essential tools that would contribute to the success of the initial trials overseen by the Hyperion Gray development team.
A host of such mechanisms included sophisticated web scraping technologies, advanced artificial intelligence, and a generous representation of machine learning.
The importance of establishing this blend was to construct sustainable means of retrieving online content automatically. Expectedly, this would be chiefly advantageous in solving various forms of crime through the SourcePin.
The goal was to be achieved through bypassing particular shortcomings suffered by modern search. A good example is the inability of crawlers to perform scrolling and clicking actions as human beings would.
This weakness meant that these tools would be unable to collect dynamic information being produced by users’ online activities.
The initial approach of the Memex project was to solve the “search engine quagmire” by building a system that supplies the human being with a functional browser. The program would operate like a person sitting behind their computer to browse the internet.
This means that the system was able to copy the human users’ attributes with the intention of crawling the web to collect necessary data. Interestingly, the system would scroll webpages and expose additional content through various other actions such as hovering.
The Memex project was an ambitious quest to create a robotic intern that would perform online tasks at unimaginable precision levels.
What’s Interesting About It?
Put simply, the Dark Web Map provides visual insight into the hidden web.
Contextually, the information provided by the map is considered to be graphic content that should only be viewed by adults. Hyperion Gray has even offered a disclaimer to this effect and warned the site visitors to expect graphic representations of explicit material, violence and racism.
The map portrays the homepages of approximately 6,600 sites on the dark web, captured in January 2018. This collection encompasses all categories of web pages, ranging from incredibly horrific sites to creative expression and from Bitcoin scams to fraud schemes and whistleblower web pages.
At first glance, it is highly noticeable that the sites on the map have been grouped in clusters. This kind of bundling is attributable to a “similarity algorithm” that was used in the creation of the map.
The similarity algorithm groups pages using a scorecard that is influenced by the design of a site’s code. The algorithm, therefore, attempts to place similar sites close to each other to promote easy navigation through the map.
Dissimilar websites are seen to occur divergently, a factor that augments the effects of the grouping process.
Consumers of the dark web map may be categorized into two groups. First, the novice concerns those online users that are not conversant with most aspects of the dark web; they have a very rough idea of what the hidden internet is and its fundamental offerings.
This class of people is expected to benefit from the Dark Web Map by understanding its underlying intrigues.
As for the experts, it is likely that Hyperion Gray will tailor this tool to meet their needs through more in-depth technical analysis.
What’s evident from a general view of the map is the fact that most of the dark web homepages have been operated on the grounds of illegality. A large proportion of these sites support unlawful activities that would potentially shock the viewer.
Nonetheless, the presence of legal material such as whistleblower pages and personal websites is well represented by the map. A good example is a SecureDrop service from Forbes.
Hyperion Gray asserts that the inclusion of such sites highlights the organization’s passion towards supporting intellectual freedomand creative expression on the internet.
Arguably, the ability to anonymously post information online goes a long way in promoting free thought and creating check processes for otherwise authoritarian governments.
Still, the creators of the Dark Web Map have admitted to being surprised by the obscenity expressed in the hidden web. The map displays a two-faced surface that illustrated the good, the bad and the ugly of the entire internet.
While the research team may have anticipated the presence of offensive material in dark websites, the extent of dark web explicitness must have taken them by surprise.
Although the map may not show the whole picture of the entire dark web, it is expected that users should be able to easily comprehend the dark web in a nutshell. For example, many .onion domains are directed to servers instead of webpages.
A majority of these sites may be concealed entirely from the prying eyes of governmental agencies. An onion can therefore be hidden successfully, never to be found.
The Essence of Dark Web Cartography
Web cartography has been happening for many years now. For a long time, it has focused on the surface web, which forms a tiny proportion of the entire internet. The surface web is fundamentally all sites that can be accessed through regular search engines.
The deep web, by contrast, is several hundred-folds more developed than the surface web. This is comparable to the tip of a massive iceberg. This section is constructed on the foundations of covert databases and login screens.
It is the dark web that runs on the wheels of anonymity; Tor has established itself as the most popular tool of online anonymity. The question on why people need to browse anonymously is answerable by analyzing the research done on the dark web over the years.
Several papers have exposed the internet underworld by explicating the crypto industry and the associated darknet markets.
But what degree of crime is rampant in the dark web? Can it be substantiated? Who are the chief consumers of dark web systems, and for what reason?
These questions are vital in establishing an understanding about the importance of dark web cartography. A mapping process reveals that a general viewpoint of the dark web is rather shallow, and quite deceiving.
Ranking pages within the dark web is a laborious affair, and this extends to the fact that anonymity is largely delicate. It is through the Dark Web Map that people are accorded the opportunity of exploring the dark web evolution chronologically with the intention of demystifying its future.
The first-ever comprehensive dark web mapping study highlighted the attributes of hidden websites.
Concerning this, it was found that the dark web possessed characteristics that mostly set it apart from conventional websites.
Scientists discovered approximately 7,000 websites that were connected to each other via 25,000 links. The research findings, however, proved that more than 85 percent of these dark web sites lacked linkages to other pages.
Essentially, this means that the dark web is comprised of sets of isolated “dark silos.”
Various technological pundits have also commented this subject. Virgil Griffith, a seasoned computer scientist and lead researcher in the aforementioned dark web mapping study, remarked that dark websites are the product of people known to be lacking social connections. According to his observation, the mandate of the dark web is miles away from fulfilling a social need, a factor that is the opposite of the World Wide Web.
The mandate of Hyperion Gray’s dark web map and all tenets of dark web cartography is to enlighten the masses on the obscure technology of hidden websites. These techniques offer an educational tool that would empower newbies and pundits intellectually.
With that, any tech-savvy individual can consume such material with the intention of gaining insight into the mysterious world of dark web browsing.
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