- More than 25,000 new “hidden websites” were created on the Dark Web between Feb. 15-18.
- The number of .onion websites on the Dark Web suddenly shot up to over 60,000 websites this month. Previously, only about 35,000 .onion websites existed and growth generally remains consistant.
- The Dark Web is a section of the Internet undiscoverable by conventional Internet users and often used for criminal activities.
Alan Woodward, a professor with the University of Surrey, said he suspects people are either collaborating to set up the new sites, or that a bot is somehow creating them.
"There has never been an increase of that magnitude before,” said Woodward in a blog post, according to the International Business Times. "Whatever or whoever has set up these new .onion sites it is as if they are being created ready for some purpose that we have yet to understand."
Dark Web websites are appealing to cybercriminals, who can use them to sell illegal items or to promote illegal activities. A recent study by researchers at King's College London found that 57% of all the websites hidden on the Dark Web are “actively facilitating criminal activity.”