Dark Web Statistics

Dark Web Statistics 2024: Investigating Rampant Crime

Dark Web Statistics 2024: Investigating Rampant Crime

You’d be surprised at what comes and goes through the internet, and Dark Web statistics can provide a look into a side of the internet you may have never seen before.

The Dark Web garners a lot more attention nowadays as it becomes more common knowledge.

A lot of people like spending time on the Dark Web as you’re bound to come across things you won’t find anywhere else online.

It’s important to note that roughly 48% of content on the Dark Web is generally illegal.

That being said, it’s definitely not a playground that doesn’t come without consequences.

The Dark Web has been around for years, and although the law has actively fought against it, it continues to grow.

In this article, you’ll get an unfiltered look at statistics behind the Dark Web that’ll provide a new understanding of what happens on this side of the internet.

Key Statistics

  • 48% of Dark Web content is focused on illegal activities
  • There are an estimated 30,000 hidden websites on the Dark Web
  • The Dark Web makes up 6% of the entire internet
  • Dark Web marketplaces selling stolen data increased by 71% in 2019
  • Roughly 87% of listings on the Dark Web are related to illegal activities

Dark Web Statistics in 2024: The Unsavory Nature of the Dark Web

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It drives a lot of interest from millions of people, but the Dark Web isn’t a place most people would want to hang out.

Think of almost any digital crime you can think of, and it’s happening somewhere on the Dark Web.

Aside from plenty of unsavory content, you could encounter legal ramifications just from spending time and searching through the Dark Web.

In reality, there isn’t much reason for anyone to be on there outside of partaking in illegal activities. 

However, it should also be noted that not all content on the Dark Web is focused on illegal acts.

It’s a vast space that comes with many nuances you won’t find from just a single search on Google.

By reviewing the most current statistics on the Dark Web, you can get a peek into this part of the internet without actually having to go there yourself.

1. Top-Level Domains on the Dark Web

Even if it’s hiding in the shadows, the Dark Web is a large part of the internet in many ways.

For example, roughly 15% of top-level domains on the Dark Web are active.

This percentage may not seem staggering, but this accounts for a very large number of websites.

If you look at statistics throughout the course of years, you’ll notice that the overall size of the Dark Web continues to expand.

Knowledge about the Dark Web is more common than it has ever been, but many people still lack understanding regarding the potential dangers.

In most cases, you won’t simply stumble across the dark web.

However, if you’ve ever been a part of a data breach, then there’s a good chance your data ended up here.


2. Global Cybercrime Revenue

As you might expect, the Dark Web is a significant catalyst in the prevalence of cybercrime all over the world.

Statistics show that around 50% of cybercrime on a global scale comes from the Dark Web in one way or another. 

The Dark Web acts as a hub for illicit activities where criminals can hide in the shadows or behind aliases.

It’s a much easier medium to commit crimes, and all of it can be done from a computer or even a smartphone under the right circumstances.

Statistics like these are a prominent reason why law enforcement has been after criminals on the Dark Web for years.


3. How Many Listings Relate to Illegal Activities

Although the entirety of the Dark Web is much more than just a marketplace, it isn’t hard to find listings with many shocking things for sale.

Looking at Dark Web listings from every angle, data shows that around 87% of all listings on the Dark Web relate to something illegal.

Whether it be products or services, some of the legal repercussions from these listings can range from minor to a life sentence.

Considering the Dark Web is global, crime can easily find its way from local, national, to international with ease.


4. The Rising Issue of Stolen Data

In today’s world, data breaches are becoming increasingly common.

You can only assume what hackers are looking to do with such personal information, and a lot of it ends up on the Dark Web.

Information from 2019 highlights that marketplace listings for stolen data increased by 71%.

That’s beyond significant, and it goes to show how much of an issue cyber security is in our modern era.

Keep in mind this is back in 2019, which means it could be potentially worse now in 2023. 

Whether it’s stolen data from individuals or corporations, it seems no one is truly safe when it comes to an unfortunate data breach.

This is why it’s paramount that you monitor activity on your personal data and take action if you learn that your personal information has been stolen in a breach.


5. Data on Yearly Revenue

When you take into account how much illegal activity goes through the Dark Web, you can only imagine how much money is being exchanged through goods and services.

The most recent data points to a yearly revenue number of around $1 trillion from the Dark Web.

In some ways, this part of the internet has become too large to just shut down.

Although there are many policies and security measures in place for the internet, it still acts like the wild west in a lot of ways.

Of course, this annual revenue doesn’t come entirely from illegal activities, but it’s definitely a determining factor.

With the Dark Web growing as time goes on, this yearly revenue is expected to grow with it.

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6. Listings Connected to Drug Sales

In the early days of the Dark Web, there was a lot of conversation about how you could buy drugs online.

At first, many people didn’t believe it until they saw it for themselves, and this market hasn’t changed much ever since. 

It’s still possible to do so, and roughly 50% of listings on the Dark Web are related to drug sales.

With the steep number of listings on this side of the internet, it’s virtually impossible for law enforcement to track it all down.

Some of them get by, while others don’t.

With the anonymity and reach of the Dark Web, there’s no doubt it’s a significant player in the global drug trade.


7. The Currency of the Dark Web

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Most people that buy and sell on the Dark Web aim to cover the tracks from all angles.

One obvious rule of thumb is to not use any credit cards, third-party payment providers, or bank accounts that can link back to someone’s identity.

This is where cryptocurrency comes in. Its decentralized and anonymous nature makes it easy to hide behind transactions.

Bitcoin accounts for roughly 98% of transactions on the Dark Web and has been the payment option of choice for many years.

This issue is a good example of why officials are working hard at regulating the cryptocurrency industry.


8. Theft and Sale of Credit Card Information

On a yearly basis, the Dark Web sees about 1.5 million credit cards listed for sale.

It’s pretty common to have experienced credit card theft at least once in your life.

In some cases, this is what thieves are doing with it.

Thankfully we’re in a time where credit cards can quickly be canceled without too much damage.

Nevertheless, it still causes problems for everyday people and can cause delays when trying to prove the situation to credit card companies. 


9. Purchasing Stolen Data and Hacking Services

You could assume that this topic is a decent part of what goes on with the Dark Web.

Based on data taken from 2019, roughly $2.8 million went toward stolen data and hacking services.

It’s known that data, in general, is highly valuable, but the data we’re talking about here is extremely personal.

In some cases, such data could significantly affect an individual’s quality of life.

Getting your credit card information stolen is a lot different than someone gaining access to your social security number. 

Your personal data can be exploited in a long list of ways that affect your wallet, reputation, and even your credit score.

This is why practicing standard cyber security is so important.

Scammers are everywhere, on it’s always best to stay on guard when navigating your personal data.


10. Explicit Content on the Dark Web

This category of content can vary greatly, as there are a lot of things that fall under the term explicitly.

However, this type of content accounts for 29% of the websites on the Dark Web.

Aside from products and services, explicit content is a part of the Dark Web, which can be pretty damaging.

Whether it’s images, videos, or artwork, it can be detrimental for children and adults alike.

It comes with a shock factor many people aren’t used to, and includes many things that you should go your entire life without seeing. 

This statistic also supports the fact that parents should keep a close eye on how their kids use the internet.

The Dark Web has the tendency to host many traumatizing realities of the world that aren’t for young minds.


11. The Importance of Security Measures

Now that the internet has been around for decades, most people have a long list of passwords and login information to keep track of.

It’s so common that there are many applications you can use to store login data because most people won’t be able to remember them all.

On the Dark Web, you’ll find an estimated 15 billion stolen logins that are available for sale.

Many of these are generally pulled from data breaches or in bulk, which means some may not really be worth anything.

However, many criminals don’t care for the login itself; they just want access to personal data that could be hidden behind it. 

Nowadays, it’s due diligence to put multiple security walls behind your login information.

Tools like two-factor authentication, backup codes, and tying accounts to your phone number or a backup email are a few examples.


12. A Look at the Demographics

The most recent statistics show that 27% of buyers on the Dark Web reside in the United States.

Although this part of the internet is used all over the world, it found its boom in the U.S. many years ago.

Moreover, roughly 70% of users on the Dark Web are male, or at least, this is what they identify themselves as online.

There’s a lot of malicious intent with active users of the Dark Web.

Even though the illegal activities on this side of the internet are well known by authorities, getting a handle on it isn’t easy.


13. Law Enforcement Fights Back

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In statistics pulled from 2021, the Dark Web saw a loss of about 10,000 websites.

Of course, this number sounds small compared to the scale of the Dark Web, but a lot of this can be attributed to the efforts of law enforcement.

Some operations on the Dark Web draw more attention than others.

The fight against illicit activities on the Dark Web is a constant one.

Of course, as 10,000 websites get shut down, thousands more are bound to pop up.

Remember, not every aspect of the Dark Web deals with illegal activities.

There are plenty of websites that partake in unique products, services, and content that’s entirely legal.

Outside of that, law enforcement is simply looking to clean up the wild west of the internet as best as they can.


Final Thoughts

The Dark Web isn’t a safe place for most people and shouldn’t necessarily be sought out by any means.

Even if it hosts relatively safe content, it’s essentially impossible to avoid the other 50% of illegal and traumatic aspects of the Dark Web.

This part of the internet has existed for years and has only continued to grow.

Throughout this article, you were provided a look at many realities of Dark Web statistics and what makes it such a powerful force in its own right.


Written by Kelly Indah
I’m the editor at Increditools and a dedicated cybersecurity expert with a robust technical background. With over a decade’s experience in the tech industry, I have worn many hats, from software developer to security analyst.