What is the Dark Web and how does it work?

The World Wide Web (WWW), like real life, is so vast that exploring every corner and cranny would take a lifetime. To make matters worse, by the time you were halfway through, so much more content had been developed and updated that you’d have to start from scratch.

The websites you visit on a daily basis are only a small portion of the entire internet. The deep web exists beyond the “surface web,” and the dark web exists within the deep web. Learn about the dark web and how to use it, as well as how to keep your personal information protected.

What is the dark web?

The dark web is made up of content that isn’t indexed by search engines and can only be accessed with specific software or authorization. The darknet is a section of the internet that is only accessible to certain browsers or through specific network setups.

The dark internet was created to guarantee anonymity by encrypting communications and routing online material through several web servers. That’s where the “dark” aspect comes in: accessing the dark web necessitates the usage of specialized software that protects your identity.

While the dark web is frequently portrayed as a chaotic haven for illegal activity, this isn’t always the case. The darknet is essentially an anonymous online environment that can be exploited or enjoyed.

What are the different types of the web?

The dark web is a section of the internet that is hidden from search engines, has masked IP addresses, and can only be accessed with a special web browser. The surface web, deep web, and dark web are three different types of the internet.

  • Surface web

The visible web (also known as the indexed web) is web information that has been indexed by search engines. The surface web includes anything you can find with a Google search. This section of the internet, however, is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • Deep web

The next layer down is the deep web. It has content that isn’t indexed by search engines. This isn’t as enigmatic as it may appear. You presumably use the deep web on a daily basis. In reality, it accounts for almost 90% of the entire internet.

Your Facebook postings, for example, are unindexed and will not be found using a web browser. Web browser access to your email inbox, online banking, and Google Drive files is disabled. All of them can be found on the deep web.

  • Dark web

A section of the internet known as the dark web exists within the deep web. Dark web sites are so well-hidden that they are inaccessible using standard browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. The dark web can only be accessed with Tor, a unique browser.

What’s the difference between the deep web & the dark web?

Although the terms “deep web” and “black web” are frequently used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. Anything on the internet that is not indexed and hence available via a search engine like Google is referred to as “deep web.”

Because personal records, government documents, and the like are not intended for public view in the first place, they are naturally kept private on the Deep Web. They are, however, primarily connected to the Internet because much of that data serves as an ecology for many surface online apps.

Any content that is protected by paywalls, authentication forms, logins, or passwords is considered deep web. Email, online banking accounts, private social media accounts, and subscription services are all examples of deep web material that an average person accesses on the internet. You wouldn’t want your email history to be publicly accessible and searchable.

The dark web is a subset of the deep web that is purposefully concealed and accessible only through a special browser—Tor—as discussed below. The dark web’s exact size is unknown, however, most estimates place it at roughly 5% of the total internet. Despite its gloomy reputation, not all of the dark web is used for illegal purposes.

The Dark Web is a little more difficult. This section of the WWW is frequently run on private server networks, allowing communication exclusively through particular channels. This allows for a high level of anonymity while also making it harder for authorities to shut down the system.

Common features of the Dark web

On the surface, dark websites appear to be similar to any other. They include text and graphics, as well as clickable information and site navigation buttons. However, there are some distinctions.

Naming structure

You’ll note that dark website URLs end in.onion rather than the usual.com,.co, or other suffixes.

Complex URLs

In addition, relative to what we’re used to, the URL characters preceding.onion appear to be nonsense. It’s also nearly impossible to recall dark web links. SecureDrop, for example, is a dark web platform that allows whistleblowers to send sensitive information or anonymous tips to news organizations. It includes submission platforms for major news companies like:

  • The Guardian http://33y6fjyhs3phzfjj.onion/
  • The Washington Post http://jcw5q6uyjioupxcc.onion/
  • Associated Press http://3expgpdnrrzezf7r.onion/

Frequently changing addresses

On the surface online, the purpose of websites is to be found as easily as possible; however, this is not always the case on the dark web. To maintain their anonymity, dark sites constantly alter their URLs.

How to Access Dark Web?

Tor is the most secure way to access the dark web. For added security, connect to a VPN first, then utilise Tor in a Tor-over-VPN arrangement. Because many internet service providers (ISPs) and governments are cautious of Tor users, using a VPN to mask your online activities and prevent anyone from knowing you’re using Tor is a good idea.

  • Connect to a reliable and safe VPN.

You can mask your IP address and encrypt your internet connection using a reputable VPN like Avast SecureLine VPN. Even though they both provide encryption, a VPN and Tor are not the same thing. If you use a VPN, your ISP and others will be ignorant that you are downloading and using Tor Browser.

  • Download and install Tor Browser.

Tor Browser is a free browser that encrypts your data via the Tor network. Tor Browser can be downloaded from the official Tor Project website since unauthorized third-party downloads may include malware.

  • Browse the dark web with Tor Browser.

Tor Browser allows you access to the.onion domains of the hidden web. Because the black web is mostly unregulated, you should never use it without first validating its authenticity.

  • Protect your identity.

Although the dark web isn’t always harmful, it is home to a slew of scams. When communicating or making purchases on the dark web, use encrypted and anonymous email addresses and pay with an anonymous bitcoin wallet.

How does Tor browser work?

When you use Tor to connect to the internet, your data is encrypted many times before being routed through a random series of servers known as ‘nodes.’

Each node decrypts your data one layer at a time, allowing it to be interpreted and transferred to the dark web destination of your choice. The name ‘onion router’ comes from the act of ‘peeling’ off the separate levels of encryption, much like the layers of an onion.

This type of multi-layer encryption ensures that each node, or server in the chain, is aware of where your data originated and where it should be sent next. But that’s all there is to it. This makes it nearly impossible to follow your dark web activities from start to finish. Tor’s encryption method not only keeps your activities private, but it also keeps host websites private.

Is it legal to access the dark web?

It is perfectly legal to access and browse the dark web. However, this is a reasonable question to pose. Illegal activities are widely connected with the dark web. The bulk of dark websites, according to King’s College London researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid, are used for illicit activity, notably drugs, money laundering, and trafficking in stolen credentials.

Dark web tools and services

Although dark web browsing is more difficult than standard web browsing, there are certain tools you may use to track your progress. Dark web search engines and communities such as Reddit can help you identify trustworthy dark websites, but you’ll need to visit them with a dark web browser.

Dark web browser

Tor is an anonymizing browser that can be used to access the dark web. Your web page requests are routed through a network of proxy servers run by thousands of volunteers around the world, making your IP address untraceable and unidentified. Tor works like magic, but the end effect is akin to the dark web itself: unexpected, unreliable, and excruciatingly sluggish.

Dark web search engine

Even the greatest dark web search engines struggle to keep up with the continuously changing terrain. Searching the web in the late 1990s was a similar experience. Even Grams, one of the strongest search engines, provides results that are redundant and frequently irrelevant to the query. Another method is to use a link list like The Hidden Wiki, however, even indices return a high amount of timed-out connections and 404 errors.

Dark web sites

Dark web sites have a similar appearance to normal websites, but there are some key changes. The naming structure is one of them. Dark web sites use the.onion suffix instead of.com or.co. According to Wikipedia, it’s “a special-use top-level domain suffix identifying an anonymous concealed service reachable via the Tor network.” These sites can be accessed by browsers that use the necessary proxy, but not by others.

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