The dark web remains a small, hidden part of the internet with strong ties to illegal activities and should be approached with caution.
When it comes to the internet, most of us only scratch the surface. The vast majority of what we know and use on a daily basis is the “surface web,” which includes all the sites that can be easily accessed through a search engine like Google or Bing. But beyond the surface web lies a much larger and mysterious realm known as the “deep web.” And within that deep web lies an even more secretive and controversial corner of the internet known as the “dark web.”
So, what exactly is the dark web? To understand that, it’s helpful to first understand the difference between the surface web and the deep web. The surface web is the portion of the internet that’s readily available to the public. It’s the part of the internet that we’re all familiar with and use on a daily basis. The deep web, on the other hand, is the portion of the internet that’s not indexed by search engines. The deep web is not necessarily nefarious, but it’s not easily accessible to the public either.
The dark web is a completely different animal. It’s a small portion of the deep web that’s deliberately hidden and can only be accessed through special software, like the Tor Browser. The dark web is often associated with illegal activities and has gained a reputation as a sort of digital Wild West.
What is the dark web?
The dark web is a collection of sites and services that exist on an encrypted network, accessible only through special software like the Tor Browser. These sites and services are often anonymous and operate outside the purview of law enforcement and government oversight.
The dark web is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, illegal firearms sales, and hacking services. However, not all activity on the dark web is illegal. For example, journalists and activists have used the dark web to communicate and share information without fear of government surveillance. Additionally, some people use the dark web to purchase legal goods and services anonymously.
It’s also important to understand that the dark web is not synonymous with the deep web. As mentioned above, the deep web includes any part of the internet that’s not indexed by search engines, and it’s not necessarily nefarious. For example, online bank accounts, email accounts, and password-protected sites are all a part of the deep web. The dark web is a small portion of the deep web that is deliberately hidden and often associated with illegal activities.
The dark web is also not the same as the “darknet,” which is a network of private connections that exist within the internet. These connections are often used by organizations and individuals to communicate and share information in a secure and private way.
Additionally, the dark web is not a physical location or a single entity. It’s a collection of websites and services that exist on an encrypted network, accessible only through special software like the Tor Browser.
In other words, the dark web is not the entire deep web, it’s not a physical location, it’s not a single entity, and not all activity on the dark web is illegal. It’s a small, hidden portion of the internet that’s associated with illegal activities, but also serves as a tool for journalists, activists, and other individuals seeking anonymity and privacy.
How do you (safely) get on the dark web?
Before you even think about connecting to the dark web, it’s crucial that you connect to a reliable and safe VPN. This is so you can reliably conceal your IP address and encrypt your internet connection. Though they both provide encryption, a VPN and Tor are not the same thing.
Once you’ve connected to a VPN, the first step to accessing the dark web is to download and install special software like the Tor Browser. This browser routes your internet connection through a network of servers, making it difficult for anyone to trace your activity back to you. Once you have the Tor Browser installed, you can then access websites on the dark web by typing in their specific .onion address.
Dark web addresses, also known as onion URLs, are different from regular website addresses (URLs) because they end with “.onion” instead of “.com” or “.org.” These addresses are not indexed by regular search engines, so they cannot be found through a typical internet search.
There are a few ways to find dark web addresses:
- Dark web directories: There are a few directories that list dark web websites, such as The Hidden Wiki or the DarkWebLinks website. These directories can be found through a search engine, but be aware that not all links on those directories are safe to use.
- Social media: Some dark web users share onion URLs on social media platforms like Twitter or Reddit. However, these links may not be verified and may lead to illegal or dangerous sites.
- Referrals: Some users may share dark web addresses with each other directly, through personal referrals. This can be a safer option than finding links through an unverified directory or social media post, as long as you trust the person sharing the link.
It’s important to note that not all websites on the dark web are illegal, but many are, and it’s easy to accidentally stumble upon illegal sites. Therefore, it’s important to be cautious when accessing the dark web, and to only visit sites that have been recommended by a trusted source.
Additionally, it’s important to have a good antivirus and anti-malware installed on your computer before accessing the dark web, as many sites on the dark web can contain harmful software.
Is the dark web safe? Is it legal?
Put simply, the dark web is not a safe place. It’s a breeding ground for illegal activity and a haven for cybercriminals. The anonymity of the dark web makes it easy for bad actors to operate without fear of being caught. Additionally, it’s difficult to know who you’re dealing with on the dark web, making it easy to fall victim to scams.
To recap, the dark web can only be accessed through special software and is often associated with illegal activities. While not all activity on the dark web is illegal – and it’s not illegal to get on to the dark web – it is not a safe place and it is not recommended to access it without a specific purpose and caution. Additionally, many of the activities that take place on the dark web are illegal, and law enforcement agencies are actively monitoring the dark web to identify and prosecute those engaging in criminal activity.
It’s also worth noting that the dark web is not the only place where illegal activities take place on the internet. Many cybercriminals operate on the surface web and the deep web as well. However, the dark web does offer a higher degree of anonymity and is therefore a more attractive option for those looking to engage in illegal activities.
The dark web is a small, hidden part of the internet with strong ties to illegal activities and should be approached with caution. It’s important to be aware of the risks and to understand that just because something is on the dark web doesn’t make it legal. Be sure to protect yourself by staying informed, using cybersecurity products and services, and avoiding accessing the dark web unless you have a specific, legitimate reason to do so.