23 Dark Web Statistics to Investigate in 2023

Updated · May 20, 2023


The dark web.

We’ve all heard about them. However, only few are brave enough to look them up further.

Sometimes, the things we hear sound like the plot of a dystopian science-fiction movie, or make the dark web seem like a battleground for cybercriminals and cops.

With so much going on in there—both legitimate and illegal—we moved to fetch some of the most crucial dark web statistics out there in order to keep you safe.

 Stunning Dark Web Stats (Editor’s Choice):

  • The US government is behind the darknet and the dark web.
  • Out of the entire internet, the surface web makes for only 4%.
  • The other 96% are all deep and dark web.
  • Every 39 seconds, somebody attempts a cyberattack.
  • Nearly 90% of all cyberattacks are caused by human error.
  • 60% of all dark web info could hurt big companies.
  • Drugs are dominant on the dark web marketplace.

2022 Darknet Statistics

Even though they sound really similar, dark web and dark net are two different terms.

More specifically, the dark web is just a part of the dark net. The former consists of websites that can’t be opened with a regular internet browser and the latter is what holds it all together.

Because of this connection, we feel that a basic and crucial info on both is a good place to start. 

1. The American government is behind the darknet.

(Source: The Sun)

Who created the dark web? The answer is probably going to stun you.

It was the US government, who did this with the goal to help their spies roam the internet anonymously in the 1990s. That’s when American military researchers created Tor, a dark web network. The Onion Router is still the main way for darknet visitors to stay anonymous.

However, it was made available for everyone from the get-go. This way, the aforementioned spies could do their work, as spotting them became harder.

2. The surface web makes for just around 4% of the entire internet.

(Source: GeeksforGeeks)

How much of the internet is the dark web? Well, certainly a lot bigger than the surface web.

The latter is another name for the “regular” internet, the one that we all love and use. Ironically, the best known and most accessible part of the web is also the smallest.

3. 90% of the internet belongs to the deep web.

(Source: GeeksforGeeks)

Yes, deep web. Not dark web. There is a pretty big difference between deep and dark web.

For the most part, the deep web is relatively easy to reach. It’s basically a continuation of the surface web. Consisting of server data, it’s what lies under password-protected information (including mailboxes, for example). It also holds database info of schools, hospitals, and other institutions.

4. Only the remaining 6% belong to the dark web.

(Source: GeeksforGeeks) 

This is how big the dark web in 2021 should be. Keep in mind, however, that this is nothing but an approximation. The following stats will better explain what we mean.

5. Tor supposedly hosts around 30,000 websites.

(Source: The Sun)

The Sun claims that The Onion Router hosts nearly 30,000 dark web websites. This is a stat from a March 2021 article, though.

Whenever you’re reading this, chances are it’s even bigger now. The dark web seems to grow faster with every minute. Let’s go even further down the rabbit hole.

6. Nobody really knows the exact size of the dark web.

(Source: GeeksforGeeks)

Exactly how big is the dark web? Well, nobody really knows. There are different theories, but nobody can say anything for sure. Given how anonymous everything there is, that’s not really surprising.

Both the deep web size and dark web size are unknown. What we do know is that both are much bigger than the surface web.

7. The dark net is not illegal.

(Source: Norton)

Sure, darknet as a whole has a terrible reputation, but it’s not all bad. Not all dark web uses are illegal.

Pornography, drug, and weapon dealing are though and can get you into serious trouble.

Whistleblowing and ethical hacking, on the other hand, aren’t punishable by law.

Many people would also just like increased privacy, and this is one of the places to get it.

Dark Web Statistics for 2022

Here are some of the most relevant stats that are applicable today. 

8. In the past three years, the activity on this part of the internet has increased by 300%.

(Source: Times Now News)

Dark web stats continuously underscore its increased activity.

The deepest corner of the internet became 300% more active in just three years. This covers the three years 2017 through 2020, so it ought to be even bigger now.

9. More than 30% of all Americans used the dark net in 2019.

(Source: TechRadar)

This made Americans its biggest consumers during that year. Dark web statistics show that 26% of them used it on a daily basis, and 7% did so weekly.

Latin America comes a close second, with 21% of its residents visiting it daily. Another 13% did so on at least a weekly basis. That put it above North America in terms of totals, but the latter still had more daily users.

Darknet stats also revealed that 50% of respondents didn’t use Tor because they didn’t know how to. 45% of them avoided it because they had no business there to begin with.

10. Ransomware attacks occurred every 11 seconds in 2021.

(Source: Cybersecurity Ventures)

Is the dark web dangerous? If you didn’t think so earlier, now might be the time to change your mind.

On the other hand, if you thought it couldn’t get much worse, just wait until you hear the 2031 estimate. Both businesses and consumers, more specifically their devices, might get attacked every 2 seconds!

2021 dark web stats like this might look pretty tame, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. The same goes for the following one.

11. The damage caused by ransomware attacks cost around $20 billion in 2021.

(Source: Cybersecurity Ventures)

The interference of hackers in and out of dark web links is proving to be devastating. Their ransomware attacks were enough for many companies to shut down in a blink of an eye. 

It’s hard to imagine what will happen in 2031, then. With $265 billion being the estimated global ransomware damage, perhaps even major companies might collapse. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Dark Web Crime Statistics

Unfortunately, the darknet’s structure also makes it a safe haven for crime. These days, nobody is safe neither on the surface web, nor on the dark web.

Here are some facts on this matter that should keep you on your toes.

12. There is a cyberattack every 39 seconds.

(Source: A. James Clark School of Engineering)

2,244 computers are attacked on average every day, dark web statistics show. The dark web isn’t the only thing that makes this a possibility, though.

It’s also about weak protection. Many people choose very common usernames and passwords. So common, in fact, that breaching a computer becomes much and much easier to do.

Speaking of inadequate protection…

13. Out of all cyberattacks, almost 90% are caused by human error or behavior.

(Source: Chief Executive)

Sometimes it’s not about the dangers of the deep web, but rather people. More specifically, employees.

Companies are a common cyberattack target, and not just because of their security issues. 

Besides the problem with usernames and passwords, people’s behavior sometimes becomes a part of the problem. Perhaps some didn’t join the company for a good cause, others are too gullible. Either way, all these facts about the dark web indubitably show that people don’t get enough cybersecurity education.

14. Out of all breached records in 2016, 95% belonged to either governments, retail, or technology.

(Source: TechRepublic)

2016 was definitely not a good year for cybersecurity. These three industries were all big targets, probably because of very easily accessible personal info.

Healthcare was also affected, but dark web stats like this one reveal it wasn’t in such a bad shape.

15. Around 60% of info found on the dark web could potentially hurt big companies.

(Source: CSO Online)

How dangerous is the dark web, really? Hopefully this paints a better picture. Just like how game developers tend to suffer, enterprises very well might, too.

As of 2019, 60% of dark web listings that aren’t related to selling drugs could harm companies. This number was at “just” 40% in 2016. Imagine the difference in just three years. 

16. 70% of small business employees either lost their passwords or had them stolen.

(Source: Keeper)

Dark web facts once again remind us that preparedness for cyberattacks really matters. After all, that’s one of the biggest differences between enterprises and small businesses for attackers.

The former usually have cybersecurity training, which makes SMBs much more suitable targets. This is why, again, they need to be better prepared. Human negligence is actually the biggest factor in the US!

17. Crime on the dark web and gaming go hand in hand.

(Source: Cybersixgill)

You’ve probably already noticed that video games are full of hacks and cheats.

The dark web generously helps this become a reality. Pirated games, account credentials, and even entire online game accounts are commonly sold there.

18. A Virginia woman got arrested because she hired a hitman on the dark web.

(Source: DarknetStats)

What happens on the dark web? Naturally, that depends on what you do there, but you better not be doing anything illegal. Annie Nicole Ritenour did, and ended up being arrested.

In late October 2021, the FBI managed to find out she paid a hitman there with bitcoin. Fortunately, they did so on time, protecting the victim and putting her into custody.

Dark Web Market Statistics

The dark web market is a logical continuation of dark web crime stats. There are many dark web markets, and most of them are centered around illegal activities. Which ones? Continue to read to find out!

19. Nobody knows how many dark web markets there are.

(Source: Dark Web Link)

All these dark web statistics, and yet again nobody knows how many marketplaces there are.

With so many of them shut down and/or exposed on a daily basis, it’s impossible to tell. There are plenty of new ones, many of which only accept cryptocurrencies.

20. Drugs and chemicals are dominant on the market.

(Source: Statista) 

What can you find on the dark web? In short, all kinds of things, but mostly illegal ones.

Illicit drugs and chemicals are some of the most wanted products on the market. The list goes on with pharmaceuticals, hackers, firearms, fraud, and counterfeiting.

21. Prices on the dark web market change all the time.

(Source: Privacy Affairs) 

We’re, again, primarily talking about illegal things on the dark web. Their prices change based on demand, as supply is hardly ever going to run out.

Credit card data and fake IDs were among the most commonly sought after items.

22. The dark web market helped bitcoin grow.

(Source: CSO Online)

Somewhat expectedly, the deep web and bitcoin actually have a good relationship. How couldn’t they? Everyone is anonymous both on the dark web and while making bitcoin transactions.

As darknet became more popular, so did bitcoin. So much, in fact, that the former is in part responsible for the cryptocurrency’s rise.

23. The FBI shut down Silk Road and arrested its creator.

(Source: The Sun) 

To end on a somewhat encouraging note, the police do arrest people behind various dark web sites. Take Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road, for instance.

Once the leading man behind one of the biggest dark web markets, he’s now serving a life sentence. The US government is the one who made the dark web, and it shows. The FBI isn’t toying around.

Wrap Up

This was a pretty terrifying one, wasn’t it?

Sometimes, you just need to go through some hard things in order to be better prepared for them in the future.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from all these dark web statistics, it’s probably that we need to stay as safe as possible. However safe you think you are, chances are you could do better. 

Now go out there and prepare for a possible cyberattack, just in case.

Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.