The Marianas Web: The Darkest Place On The Internet?

According to Internet folklore, the Marianas
Web is a mysterious region of the Internet available to only a select few. It is allegedly
so structurally complex that it has become a hotbed of grotesque and illicit activities,
because users cannot be tracked. Some say that its impenetrable security means
that most state secrets are stored here, from the location of Atlantis and the Holy Grail,
to the untold histories of the Vatican. Others argue that it is now the favored communication
network for the Illuminati. Is there any truth in these allegations? The deep web describes the parts of the Internet
that are not indexed by search engines, such as Google. These secretive pages account for
an astonishing 96% of the World Wide Web. Deep web activity is extremely hard to trace.
Unsurprisingly, this means much of it is dedicated to illegal activities including sex crimes,
child slavery and international drug dealing. A 2016 study by the University of Norwich
estimated that over $100,000,000 is generated on the deep web every year. Yet, the Marianas Web requires delving even
further into the Internet’s dark possibilities. Named after the darkest and deepest part of
the ocean – the Marianas Trench – the term denotes a mysterious region of the web.
According to popular Internet culture, it harbors evil. Its advocates claim that it is the fifth of
the legendary eight levels of the Internet. Levels 0 to 2 cover websites that are accessible
using a conventional web browser. Levels 3 and 4 are currently accessible through deep
web browsers like Tor. Level 5 requires a network of quantum computers with software
architecture that can store and process information on artificially modified photons. Quantum computers allow particles to exist
in two states simultaneously. This structural instability means that the Marianas Web would
be impossible for hackers to penetrate. Given the horrifying depths of the existing deep
web, the possibilities opened by Marianas Web are chilling to consider. Online bloggers, like Carine Benji, have long
thought the so-called “shell web” may unlock the secrets of Marianas Web. This allegedly
consists of closed shell systems, which have the web address extension “.clos”. Since
they are all LAN connections, it is impossible to track what goes on without manual access.
The Marianas Web could theoretically be run on a system like this. In 2014 The Washington Post reported the NSA
is currently developing a quantum computer. Disturbingly, their evidence suggests this
device could crack all algorithms, effectively controlling all levels of the Internet through
automated hacking. Their dossier comes from documents leaked
by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. These reveal the project is being funded by government
operation “Penetrating Hard Targets”. To date, Washington has funnelled over $79
million into the project. Importantly, these developments show that
despite the risks posed by the Marianas Web, the hardware it requires does not yet exist.
In 2014, Professor Ian Walmsley from the University of Oxford said that it “is a real possibility,
but it is not going to happen next week”. Therefore, any risks the Marianas Web might
pose are entirely hypothetical. Indeed, it is almost impossible to trace individuals
and their activities over the current deep web. Given this, is there enough incentive
to spend millions developing an alternative browser? It is also interesting that the history of
the idea is unknown. Most of what is said about Marianas Web comes from forum-based
hypothesising. Many technology bloggers say speculation on the topic is pointless until
technology exists that could make it a reality. It also seems unlikely there are more than
about three levels of the Internet. The normal web as we use it, the Deep Web and its dark
corners, and a layer of servers and maintenence networks. Simply put, the Marianas Web is
too deep to exist. It is certain that the advent of quantum computers
will open new opportunities for the Internet, perhaps even the so-called “Mariana’s
Web”. However, given the enormous costs in developing this technology, and corresponding
hardware, it is unlikely that it will have a user base large enough to become the darkest
place on the web. The Washington Post’s leaked revelations
show that suspicions Mariana’s Web already exists, are simply wrong. So, while it may
one day be the darkest place on the Internet, it is still too early to speculate.

Danny Hutson

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