The internet world is profound, and most users don’t realize this. The internet we access for our everyday routine work or entertainment is a small chunk that’s visible and accessible. The reality is that the internet is deep and dark once such a dark side of the internet is the dark web. Have you ever heard about the term dark web before? Do you know for what purpose people use it? Well! Most netizens don’t know about the dark web.
I was also one of them until I started researching, and now I’ve immense knowledge about it, and I’d adore sharing it with you. If you are also the one who is looking for information, then you’re at the right place. This article concerns the dark web and how to access it anonymously and securely. So, if you want to know about it, let’s jump into this article.
What Is The Dark Web?
The dark web, also called the darknet, is the smallest yet controversial part of the internet outside the regular user’s access. Only by using some special tools can one access the data and websites available on the dark web. The dark web is full of people who want to stay in touch or communicate with each other without their respective government’s interference. Such people are the ones who live in a country that follows strict internet laws and censorship and gets deprived of accessing the free internet. The group of people whom you find on the web includes:
- Computer nerds
- Exiled political leaders
- Drug dealers
It’s essential to understand the different layers of the internet to understand the dark web concept. The internet consist of three parts, which are as follows:
The internet we access every day is the surface web. It is open, unrestricted, and accessible to every user. You can use any browser and reach the internet. Like, if you want to read today’s news on Fox News Site, you can get it by entering the URL in the browser. The surface web is the part you can reach with a stable internet connection and a search engine.
The second layer is the deep web, with all the online information not indexed by any search engines. However, you don’t need specialized tools or a browser to access the deep web. Some specialized search engines will get the work done for you. The internet is hidden because it contains information and data that are not useful for the users. Most of the data might be old, and Google won’t find it relevant for indexing. Data like academic journals, research reports, social media profiles, and Dropbox account files are examples of data not indexed by Google.
Other examples also include the databases of university libraries and journals that the subscribers can access. You need the exact web address if you want to access such information. The deep includes all the sites you can’t reach via a search engine, including those present on the dark web. As a whole, the deep web is indeed more resonant than the regular surface web.
The last layer of the internet is hard to reach and is known as the dark web. The dark web follows no rules and is free from the government’s surveillance, and you can’t connect it by using any regular browser or search engine. It is the central hub of illegal activities and is thus named the web. You need to use a Tor browser and a VPN to access the dark web.
Purpose of The Dark Web
The dark web is constantly changing; thus, it sometimes becomes hard to recognize what happens on a dark web. In general, there are harmful and illegal uses of the web. Anything beyond your imagination occurs on the dark web, such as
- Bitcoins and cryptocurrency sites
- Hub of black and illicit markets.
- Fake websites and stolen information
- Malware and viruses
Let’s discuss them one by one.
The network of infected devices that a hacker creates and controls is often termed botnets. The botnet facilitates DDoS attacks and also spreads viruses and malware. The hackers find the web the perfect platform for selling the botnets and, in turn, making much money.
Bitcoins and Cryptocurrency Websites
Bitcoin is a digital currency that permits making anonymous payments. The dark web is full of payment websites that enable users to carry out their business by keeping their identities hidden.
Black and Ilegal Market
The dark web is where the selling and buying of drugs like Marijuana is joint. The peddling of some toxic chemicals is also done on the dark web. Moreover, the web is where the business of other dangerous and illegal services and items occurs. It includes child pornography, human trafficking, mercenaries, and counterfeit goods.
Selling of Stolen Information
Hackers and third parties often consider the web for selling compromised data. The information can be your password, security number, bank, or credit card details. Some ISPs use the web to sell their user’s data without their consent. You may also see a seller selling a hacked Netflix account and the login credentials on the darknet.
Malware and Viruses
All kinds of computer viruses and malware are standard on the dark web. The attackers buy them from here and later spread them into the target’s device or network.
Is It Illegal to Use The Dark Web?
No, it is not illegal to use the dark web. In most countries, the use of the web is legal. It means you can access shady web websites. However, using it for illegal means, as mentioned above, can put you in great trouble. The dark web is for illicit business and activities like selling drugs and Botnets. As this prohibited stuff is only available on the web and anyone surfing the web can buy them, the government banned accessing the site. As a whole, it is not illegal to browse and use the dark web. But, if you are committing any unlawful action, then be ready to bear the consequences if caught.
Are There Any Positive Uses of The Dark Web?
The dark web was not created for any illegal purpose. There was zero interference from hackers behind the creation of the web. The US government developed the web to spy on communication and provide anonymity to US agents. There was nothing sort of criminal motive in the idea of creating the web. Similarly, there are other constructive uses of the dark web. Here are five benefits of using the dark web.
Getting Anonymity Over the Web
There is no surprise that the darknet provides great anonymity to the users. It comprises websites that are similar to the ones on the surface web. It means that it is possible through the dark web if you want to play online games or use social media sites anonymously.
Buy Banned Items
Some painkillers, sleeping pills, and other European Union drugs are illegal in the Middle East. Here the dark web comes into play. It is the platform from where you can securely get such medicines.
Buying Legal Goods
The web also allows you to buy legal goods without any surveillance.
Bypassing Internet Censorship
The darknet is a platform for people living in countries with internet censorship. It includes China, Qatar, Cuba, Turkey, and UAE. People can express themselves on the web without fear of getting into trouble.
Expose the Authoritarian Government
The dark web allows journalists and political influencers to report stories about authoritarian government regimes that target individual privacy.
How to Access the Dark Web Securely?
As mentioned earlier, you can’t access the dark web with a regular browser like Google Chrome. To browse the dark web securely, you need to connect to the Tor browser.
The Tor browser or the Onion Router is an open-sourced software used to access the dark web. It is a great option that provides anonymity while surfing the web. It routes internet traffic through various IP addresses and nodes representing the onion layer before reaching the final destination. The browser uses three nodes, and some part of the encryption gets peeled off at every node. The entire process hides your activities and makes you anonymous.
However, the Tor browser’s biggest drawback is that the Tor browser only encrypts the data in each relay node and can get compromised in the last relay. In this way, your ISP can detect you and your activities. Hence, it would be best if you always used a VPN over the Tor Browser.
VPN Over Tor Browser
Using a VPN is the best available solution to access the web. It masks your IP address and encrypts the internet traffic, ensuring complete anonymity on the web. When you connect to a VPN, your ISP can’t recognize you or your activities. It helps you browse the darknet and avail of all its benefits. When you connect to the Tor browser, there’s the possibility that your ISP or any tech-savvy person can track you.
Therefore, use a VPN and then click on the Tor browser as your ISP or any other interested party, like hackers or governments, can know that you have signed on to the Tor network. So, use a reliable VPN provider and connect to the Tor browser before messing with the dark web.
The dark web is the most controversial part of the internet. It wasn’t created for any illicit purpose, but the concept is that it is the centre of all illegal and criminal activities. Accessing the dark web is not illegal until you don’t perform any unlawful action there, including the drug trade, botnets, and selling stolen information. You’ll surely get into trouble using the web for such a purpose. Accessing the web is not as easy as you might think. You can’t browse it with a regular browser. It would be best to use the Tor browser to access the dark web.
Always use a VPN over the Tor browser. The VPN encrypts the data traffic and makes you anonymous on the web. However, as the Tor browser only hides the activity you’re using, and the other activities are visible to the ISP and the third parties, you shouldn’t use it alone. When you browse the web, it protects you from all snooping eyes, including the one of your ISP. No one can ever detect that you’re using the dark web, so first, connect to a VPN, then to the Tor browser, and enjoy surfing the dark web.