However, the darknet can also serve useful purposes.

Ordinary people mostly associate the shadow Internet with illegal content and criminal activity, which is generally true.  For example, journalists in autocratic countries use the dark web to transmit information to their colleagues in other parts of the world.

Former CIA officer Edward Snowden also used the darknet to establish contact with The Guardian newspaper. He tried to transmit information about the activities of Western intelligence agencies, which he suspected of illegally using the personal data of Americans and people around the world.

The international organization WikiLeaks, which publishes classified information from anonymous sources, used the darknet to anonymously upload secret documents.

What is the difference between deep web and dark web: 5 main parameters

How the shadow network has evolved

1969 — creation of a prototype of the Internet

It all started with the creation of a network called ARPANET, developed in the States by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Agency. ARPANET served as a prototype of the modern Internet.

In October 1969, Charlie Kline, a student at the University of California, prints the first message that is transmitted between computers connected by the ARPANET network. A few years later, a number of isolated secret networks begin to appear in the web space.

Journalist John Markoff, in his book What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, claims that the first illegal online sale of marijuana occurred within these networks between students of Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).