How to access the dark web safely and wisely
Accessing the dark web is easier than you might think. Google only indexes a tiny fraction of the internet. By some estimates, the web contains 500 times more content than what Google returns in search results.
To most users, the internet is what they experience through their email client and web browser every day, but there are a number of expansive services that operate in the background and the “web” is just one part of it. Behind that web browser, there are multiple layers that the average user may encounter tangentially or never. The three parts commonly used to divide the web are the Surface Web, the Dark Web, and the Deep Web.
What are the Surface Web, the Dark Web and the Deep web?
People always get confused about these 3 terms. Then let us make it clear to avoid that confusion before digging into our topic.
is what users access in their regular day-to-day activity. It is available to the general public using standard search engines and can be accessed using standard web browsers that do not require any special configuration, such as Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Edge, and Google Chrome.
The hidden web or Deep web is the part of the World Wide Web that is not indexed by traditional Web Search engines like google, yahoo, and Bing. Also, it includes pages that were not indexed, fee-for-service sites, private databases, and the dark web.
The dark web refers to encrypted online content that is not indexed by conventional search engines. Specific browsers, such as Tor Browser, are required to reach the dark web. Using the dark web often provides considerably more privacy than just using Tor to access the web.
What’s on the dark web?
The Dark web operates with a high degree of anonymity. It hosts safe activities and content as well as criminal ones.
For instance, one dark web website might provide complex riddles. Another might be a kind of book club that makes eBooks look more professional. Yet another might offer a forum for people who believe free speech is threatened
But the dark web is better known for dark content — meaning, illegal and sometimes disturbing content. For instance, here’s a sample of illegal things you can find on the dark web.
- Stolen information
- Illicit substances.
- Disturbing and dangerous items.
- Hacking services
Dark Web services
|Darknet market||Communications||File storage||News & document|
|Agora, AlphaBay||Briar (software)||Free Haven||archive.today|
|Atlantis, Black Market||Cryptocat, ProtonMail,||The Pirate Bay||BBC News|
|Dream Market, Evolution||Ricochet (software)||Freedom Hosting||DeepDotWeb|
|The Farmer’s Market, Hansa, Silk Road,||Keybase, SIGAINT||KickassTorrents||Deutsche Welle|
|Sheep Marketplace, Utopia||TorChat, Tor Mail||Riseup||Doxbin, Wikipedia|
|Operating Systems||Drop sites||Nonprofit organization||Search engines|
|Tails OS, Debian, Qubes OS||GlobaLeaks, Ljost||Courage Foundation||Ahmia, DuckDuckGo|
|facebookcorewwwi.onion, The Hub, Dread, HackBB||Guardian Project, Mailpile|
How to access the dark web safely and wisely
To access the vast majority of the dark web, you’ll need a Tor browser. Tor browser is the best powerful anonymous browser and is completely free and open-source software built around onion routing. The privacy browser Tor protects you by sending your internet traffic and communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world.
how to get and install the Tor browser
Before we continue with this article, we have to get Tor and install it.
Tor Browser lets you surf both the surface web and the dark web. All your traffic is automatically routed through the Tor Network. Make sure you follow the link down to download and install the Tor Browser, as not to risk downloading malware, spyware, or some other virus to your device.
Required: How to get and install Tor browser for online privacy and anonymity
Get a VPN for additional security
Using the Tor browser won’t make you fully anonymous when surfing on the internet because Tor node IPs are public. Although websites can’t identify you and ISPs cant’ decrypt your traffic, they can see that Tor is being used. Then when using a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to see that you are connected to a Tor node, only an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for “virtual private network” – a service that protects your internet connection and privacy online. It creates an encrypted tunnel for your data, protects your online identity by hiding your IP address, and allows you to use public Wi-Fi hotspots safely.
Use Tor over a VPN
We have already discussed what a Tor browser is and what a VPN is, then let us see why you must use Tor in combination with a VPN. There are some reasons why Tor must be used in combination with a VPN.
- When you are using Tor in combination with a VPN it gives you an extra layer of privacy because the VPN encryption prevents the Tor entry node from seeing your IP address.
- The VPN will encrypt some internet traffic that Tor does not support, like ICMP traffic.
- Also, prevent your ISP from knowing that you are connecting to Tor.
- It also gives you access to onion sites.
Although i suggest you to use a VPN over Tor, but know that the official Tor project advises against VPN over Tor. Then, know that both methods are superior to not using a VPN at all.
Browse wisely the dark web
If you browse the dark web, even if it’s just to check some information it’s a good idea to equip your device with trusted security software and keep it up to date. We already talked about using a VPN.
Here are a few tips and tools to help stay safe when browsing the dark web.
- Trust your intuition: To avoid being scammed, you’ll want to protect yourself with smart behaviour on the web.
- Detach your online personal from real life: your username, email address, “real name,” password, and even your credit card should never be used anywhere else in your life
- Employ active monitoring of identity and financial theft: Many online security services now offer identity protection for your safety. Be sure to take advantage of these tools if they are made available to you.
- Explicitly avoid dark web file downloads: Fear of malware infection is significantly higher in the lawless territory that is the dark web.
- Disable ActiveX and java in any available network settings: These frameworks are notorious for being probed and exploited by malicious parties.
- Always restrict access to your Tor-enabled device: Protect your children or other family members so they aren’t at risk of stumbling across something no one should ever see.
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