Determining what characteristics constitute a darknet

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Computer and Security Science




This article was originally published as: Aked S., Bolan C., Brand M. (2014). Determining what characteristics constitute a darknet. Proceedings of the 11th Australian Information Security Management Conference, ISM 2013. (pp. 12-20). Edith Cowan University. Original article available here


Privacy on the Internet has always been a concern, but monitoring of content by both private corporations and Government departments has pushed people to search for ways to communicate over the Internet in a more secure manner. This has given rise to the creations of Darknets, which are networks that operate "inside" the Internet, and allow anonymous participation via a de-centralised, encrypted, peer-to-peer network topology. This research investigates some sources of known Internet content monitoring, and how they provided the template for the creation of a system to avoid such surveillance. It then highlights how communications on the Clearnet is fundamentally different to that of a Darknet, and examines the characteristics that determine whether or not a network could be classified as a Darknet. Selection of said characteristics is based on how the network was developed, what its intended goals were, and how it implemented technical measures to meet said goals. Five characteristics were found that could be used to determine if a network is to be be classified as a Darknet.

Access Rights