Wikipedia Launched for Dark Web Users in Internet-Censored Regimes

Wikipedia Launched for Dark Web Users in Internet-Censored Regimes

Wikipedia has not supported the Dark Web version of the site but it is hoped that once user stats increase, the company will support the initiative.

Cybercriminal hub, The Dark Web is known as a hive of activity for anyone wanting to acquire a variety of illegal goods from weapons to drugs. But it would seem that not everything on the dark web can be related to illegal activities.

There is now a Dark Web version of Wikipedia. The service is even available to users in Internet-censored regimes who can use it without the fear of the being surveilled or persecuted. The experimental Dark Web Wikipedia service was the invention of former Facebook security engineer Alec Muffet. For the moment the project is, however, unofficial and does not have the support Wikipedia.

This is because Wikipedia has reportedly already made its site available to users through Tor. But, to browse the official service, a user’s traffic will have to exit the Tor network. This, therefore makes the user’s traffic unencrypted and leaves users potentially vulnerable to surveillance.

Local media have reported that the Wikipedia service on the Dark Web can also be accessed through Tor. It is believed that Muffet has created an onion service for Wikipedia on Tor. This will ensure that users’ traffic is protected within Tor’s encryption network.

For users in authoritarian regimes which censor online content and activities, this will mean that they remain protected against surveillance by the government. According to Muffet, Onion sites are considered to be about ‘anonymity’. But in reality, the sites offer two additional features.

The sites offer discretion so that employers and internet service providers (ISP) cannot see what users are browsing, not even what site. And, secondly, the sites offer trust in that in users access facebookcorewwwi.onion they are definitely connected to Facebook, because of the nature of Onion addressing.

Muffet said that the code is free and libre. Adding that he was doing it because it was worth doing. Currently, the Dark Web Wikipedia service is read-only. This is because Wikipedia blocks editing the site over Tor. However, improved interaction with the service will reportedly necessitate Wikipedia’s involvement in the project.

Muffet said that he would like to demonstrate the experience to potential users so that it was no longer something abstract. He also said that he would love for Wikimedia use the concept and even roll their own solution. Muffet believes that it is important to demonstrate the concept.

He said that his open-source EOTK tool makes it nearly free to provide such a proof of concept. Online media have reported that Wikipedia continues to be blocked in Turkey. This follows the government’s block of the site during an attempted coup in 2016.