A darknet is an overlay network (i.e. a network built on top of another network – in this case, the Internet) that isn’t discoverable by normal methods and can only be accessed using special software like Tor. Darknets are designed to preserve the privacy of those using them. Traffic is routed through a network of widely-distributed servers, making it difficult to trace. Often, traffic is also encrypted. Darknets are used by different groups, including people sharing illegal content, cybercriminals and political activists.

The term darknet should not be confused with dark web or deep web