What is Darknet?
The Darknet refers to networks that are not indexed by search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. These are networks that are only available to a select group of people and not to the general internet public, and only accessible via authorization, specific software and configurations. This includes harmless places such as academic databases and corporate sites, as well as those with shadier subjects such as black markets, fetish communities, and hacking and piracy.
The Darknet is an overlay network to the internet that can only be accessed by specialized software, configurations and special authorizations, and often makes use of non-standard communication protocols in order for it to be deliberately inaccessible by the internet.
The term was originally coined in the 1970s to refer to computer networks that were isolated from the ARPANET for obvious security reasons. These darknets were able to receive communication from the ARPANET but were inaccessible and invisible in network lists and would disregard pings and other regular inquiries.
The term gained popular acceptance after the publication of the paper “The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution” in 2002. In this paper, four Microsoft employees (Biddle, England, Peinado and Willman) argued that the darknet’s presence is the primary hindrance to the development of workable DRM technologies because of the prospect of inevitable copyright infringement.