• Wes Paxton is the Principal of the Year for Jefferson County School District!  Mega Congratulations!
  • Dean reports that District 5450 matched our $1500 donation for MRC food pantry, so we sent $3000 to MRC!
  • Next week, we will discuss the draft of our up-dated By-Laws.  Forward your suggestions to Dean before the meeting.
  • Lesley picks up Tom from Afganistan TODAY!  He will be quarantined for 2 weeks.  Welcome Home, TOM!
  • Our sewing buddies have made over 400 masks.  Thank you~!
  • The Home and Garden Show is cancelled for this year.  A couple of the vendors are donating their registration to help cover expenses.  We have a published a list of vendors on the Home and Garden Show website---please use them for jobs you may have.  A HUGE Thank You for all your work, Janine!
  • Janine has developed shingles---we wish her a speedy recovery.
  • It is time for the Club to select a President-Elect for 2021-2022.  If you have an interest in serving in this capacity, please contact Dean.  A search team will be meeting soon to fill this position.
  • Wes's committee will make a decision about whether to hold the August Music event by the first of June. 
  • We will need new fund-raising ideas, since we are losing our usual events this year.
  • Run the Ranch is postponed; if the August event is held, the Run will be held in conjunction will the Music Event.
Program: The Dark Web
Cara Camping
The Dark Web is a purposely hidden part of the web that keeps users anonymous.  To access the Dark Web, you need special authorization such as a password, login, etc. 
It is important to know that there are three parts to the World Wide Web.  The first is the one that we know well and it is called the Surface Web.  This is where we use browsers such as Chrome or Firefox, and enjoy access to everything from social networks to our financial records, movies and shopping.  The Surface Web only comprises about 2% of the World Wide Web.
The Deep Web makes up almost 98% of the World Wide Web.  Websites on the Deep Web are not “indexed”, meaning that search engines cannot find them as they do their regular scsans to learn what is on the web.  Private emails, Dropbox, Public Records, Corporate information, etc. are found here.
The Dark Web accounts for about .03% of the World Wide Web.  A special browser is need to access the markets and hidden sites on the Dark Web.  The sites on the Dark Web also are not “indexed”.  People use the Dark Web because it is designed to keep them anonymous while they are searching and conducting activity.  Dark Web websites end in .onion, instead of .com, .org, etc.
There are several browsers designed for Dark Web anonymity but “TOR” is the most widely used.   TOR stands for 'The Onion Router'.  TOR takes the data that you are sending when you access the Dark Web, and engulfs it in many layers of encryption so that your activity can be hidden from most of the world.  The layers are akin to the layers of an onion.
Bitcoin is the digital currency that is used for transactions on the Dark Web.  Bitcoin takes on the value of what the seller assigns.  It is not like dollars and does not really have a structure.  The number of Bitcoins required to buy something on the Dark Web is set between the seller and the buyer.  It changes all of the time.
TOR started in the US Naval Research Lab in the mid-1990s.  It was developed for government secrecy and is still funded by the US government.  The government funds it because the more people who use the Dark Web, the more their activity is hidden.  Its similar to “a needle in the haystack”.  TOR is free and it is very simple to download and use.
Normally, to get to a website on the Surface web, you go through some type of router, then your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  It is pretty straightforward.  However, for the Dark Web, you start with the TOR browser, go through your router and ISP, and then your data hits a TOR server that determines how your data will be routed over the TOR network.  The TOR server is a device that maintains a database of the various nodes that are available in the TOR network.  Once you get to this server, you are officially on the TOR network and it is difficult to track what you are doing.  Your data will typically go through three nodes, which are simply devices that volunteers maintain so as to keep the TOR network alive.  Your data is wrapped in the onion encryption and the use of three nodes makes it even harder to find you. 
Although the Dark Web is designed for anonymity, there are still ways to discover if you accessed the TOR network and what you did there.  The FBI and NSA do a lot of surveillance of the Dark Web, due to the nature of what goes on there.  You can still be “discovered” at various points along the way as you get to your desired Dark Web site.  There are vulnerabilities along the path and organizations have the technology to find out where you have been on the Dark Web.  This is one of the reasons why you should be very careful when using the Dark Web.
Most of the action on the Dark Web comes involves illicit drugs.  Second to that, many schemes are available where criminals have stolen something that you own and made it available for sale.  For example, a criminal can steal your PayPal account.   Then the account is sold on the Dark Web.  The buyer gets access to whatever balance is on your PayPal account, and he probably paid about 10% of the balance to get that access.  There are sites that are downright disgusting.  This is another reason to be very careful when on the Dark Web.  You might see something that will be very hard to forget.
In addition to PayPal accounts, you can buy a package to become a US Citizen, a passport fake IDs, credit card accounts, Netflix accounts and of course drugs.  This is a very limited list of what is available on the Dark Web.  You can even buy services that will give you the tools to hack into other people’s information.
Should you use the Dark Web?  It actually is used by more than just criminals and it is not illegal in the United States.  It allows for oppressed people to learn, speak out and have a sense of freedom.  However, it is the ACTION that you take while on the Dark Web that might get you into trouble. 
You might stumble upon an illegitimate site.  Many sites require logins and there are reports of people’s information being distributed from their Dark Web profiles.  As already said, although the TOR network is anonymous, authorities have developed the capability to get around that. 
One of the first marketplaces on the Dark Web was called the Silk Road.  It sold a lot of things, many which were illegitimate.  The person who developed it was eventually arrested and he is now serving two life sentences and 40 years without parole.  While not all punishments are this harsh, the authorities are on top of the Dark Web activity and they will take action when required.
It is therefore recommended, that unless you know what you are getting into and have a real purpose to be on the Dark Web, you should stay off.  There are plenty of websites for the average person to use and safely enjoy on the Surface Web.