25 Citations (Scopus)
854 Downloads (Pure)


The dark web is a section of the Internet that is not accessible to search engines and requires an anonymizing browser called Tor. Its hidden network and anonymity pave the way for illegal activities and help cybercriminals to execute well-planned, coordinated, and malicious cyberattacks. Cyber security experts agree that online criminal activities are increasing exponentially, and they are also becoming more rampant and intensified. These illegal cyber activities include various destructive crimes that may target a single person or a whole nation, for example, data breaches, ransomware attacks, black markets, mafias, and terrorist attacks. So, maintaining data privacy and secrecy is the new dilemma of the era. This paper has extensively reviewed various attacks and attack patterns commonly applied in the dark web. We have also classified these attacks in our unique trilogies classification system. Furthermore, a detailed overview of existing threat detection techniques and their limitations is discussed for anonymity providing services like Tor, I2P, and Freenet. Finally, the paper has identified significant weaknesses that make the dark web vulnerable to different attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 33628 - 33660
Number of pages33
JournalIEEE Access
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'The anonymity of the dark web: A survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this