The dark web is the part of the web that is not visible to the regular search engines. In other words, it is a part of the internet that is not indexed by the search engines. You might have heard that this part of the internet is a place for criminal activity and in fact, you have heard the truth. In this article, you will read all the facts about the dark side of the internet a long with the full tutorial on how you can actually access it.
Where did the dark web come from?
As I mentioned before, the dark net is the part of the world wide web that can be accessed only through using special software and this allows users to remain anonymous and untraceable. But what are the origins of this part of the internet and how did it all begin?
The dark web operates on the ‘onion routing’ principle in which a user’s internet activity is rerouted through different IP addresses in order to hide the computer from which the traffic is coming from. Onion routing was first developed by the US navy to protect the online activities of the US Intelligence Service.
The Onion Routing project which is now better known under the name of ‘Tor’ was then released to be used by the public. The rationale was that the more people use the project, the easier it would be to disguise government online activities.
The dark web has attracted criminal activities due to its anonymous nature. Also, it is a safe place for activists and journalists who are active in countries with strict surveillance measures.
What is the difference between the dark web and the deep web?
The dark net and the deep web are the two components of the internet which are disguised from the public eye and they are often wrongly regarded as the same. But the truth is, they are far from being the same.
In order to have a good grasp of this concepts, I will give you an explanation of all the layers of the internet.
The first layer of the internet or the surface web is the part of the internet that is visible to everyone and is indexed by the search engines. It is also called the clear net due to lack of encryption.
The deep web is any part of the internet that you cannot access by search engines. Rather, you need to search the website itself to find that information. Website archives and data bases and online banking data are all a part of the deep web.
So, the deep web is the part of the internet that is submerged under the surface web, but it is not a place for criminal activities. But the dark web is a part of the deep web that is deliberately hidden from the search engines and is a hotbed for hackers and criminal activities.
How to access the dark web?
As I mentioned before, you cannot use your regular Chrome browser or Safari to access the darknet. In fact, you need to use special software for this purpose and I will outline and explain all of them below.
Dark web browser
The dark net is a messy and chaotic marketplace which is a place where scammers and hackers can remain anonymous. Accessing this marketplace requires you to use a special anonymizer web browser called Tor.
The Tor browser routes your requests through a number of proxy servers to make your IP address undefinable and untraceable. Aside from the anonymity, you should also consider that Tor is unpredictable and unreliable as well.
Dark web search engine
There are search engines on the dark net, however, they are constantly challenged by the ever-changing nature of the dark net. Even the best search engines on the dark side of the internet return repetitive and unrelated results and a frustrating number of timeouts and 404 errors.
Dark web websites
Dark web websites look somehow the same as the regular websites, but there are some inherent differences as well.
One of the difference is the naming structure of these websites. First of all, these websites do not end in the regular .com or .co. Instead, the end in .onion. It is a especial domain name which designates anonymity via the Tor network.
Dark web websites also have a scrambled naming structure which makes the URL name difficult to remember. As most of these websites are set up by scammers, they tend to remain anonymous and flee from the wrath of their customers.
Steps to access the dark web
Step 1. Get a good VPN (Virtual Private Network) and use it all the time. Do not think that you cannot be tracked if you are on Tor. By using a simple VPN application, your activities on the darknet will remain hidden from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and the government.
Step 2. By now, you well know that you can’t access the dark web with your regular browser. What you need is Tor browser bundle and make sure to get it from it official website. Never download this browser from the official website.
Step 3. Install the Tor browser on your computer and start it. Tor will open a browser window from which you can access the .onion websites.
Congratulations! You have now successfully connected to the dark web.
Is the dark web illegal?
You should not have the impression that dark web is just a place for criminals and criminal activities. Tor network is rather a channel for anonymous communications and it is a valuable place for people who live in countries which are hostile to free speech.
The dark web is a great place for learning things you can’t find on the surface web. If you want to learn about cyber security or you are looking for a hard to find book, dark web is a place you can look.
It is true that you can do illegal things such as hiring a hacker or buying credit card numbers, but there are also legitimate sides to the dark web.
But whether the dark web is actually legal or not is a grey area. Of course using the Tor browser is not illegal, however, using it is like walking down a dodgy alley full of drug dealers. The act of walking in the alley is not illegal but it is a gateway to potential criminal and illegal activities.
Security tips for visiting the dark web
By now, if you have decided to pay a visit to the dark net, you definitely need to know that using Tor and VPN does not guarantee 100% anonymity and security. Here are some tips worth considering.
- Disconnect your webcam or cover it with a black tape.
- Disconnect your microphone or cover it well with tape.
- Never use your real information such as your name, email address, or passwords.
- If you use the Tor Browser to look for illegal things, always be concerned about your privacy and security.
Finally, if you or any one of your friends have decided to access the dark web, please make sure to take all the security measures absolutely serious. You never know what lies beneath the surface of the internet and you should always account for its unpredictable nature.