Most people have heard of the dark web and the illicit marketplaces available on it. Those marketplaces – and the stories surrounding them – can make the dark web seem like a hive of criminality.
Unfortunately, it is true that guns, drugs, stolen passports (and many other illegal wares) do proliferate in those stores. As a result, there are plenty of reasons why the average person might choose never to access the dark web.
But, there are reasons some people use the dark web legitimately.
Knowing how to access the dark web can be of significant benefit if you are trying to bypass censorship and gain access to information that has been blocked by the government.
And it can allow you to exchange information securely if you are a whistleblower who wants to remain anonymous.
You may be surprised to find out that connecting to the dark web is actually very easy.
Regular browsers like Firefox and Chrome can’t access this concealed portion of the internet, because they are not designed to find websites listed using The Onion Router hidden service protocol.
Tor browser is named after “The Onion Router” protocol that powers the dark web.
As mentioned, Tor servers are completely concealed from regular internet browsers. However, by connecting to them using the Tor browser you can easily access them in a completely private and anonymous manner.
What’s more, in addition to providing anonymity for surfing websites, Tor also allows website publishers to remain anonymous thanks to the strong encryption provided by the Onion Router system.
Check out our what is Tor page for information about it and the steps you need to follow to install it. To access the dark web, all you need to do is install the Tor browser onto your device.
Tor is free and can be downloaded from the official Tor Project website. What’s more, Tor’s onion browser is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android.
As a result, you can access the dark web on just about any device. To install Tor on your device, simply follow the steps below:
- Navigate to the Tor Project’s download page.
- Choose the version of Tor that you require for your device.
- Download and install the Tor browser using the executable file.
- Launch Tor browser and connect to the network.
- You can now search the dark web! Alternatively, enter the URL for the dark website you want to visit. If you don’t know how to search for and find resources on the dark web, we have provided some options later in this guide.
It is vital that you only ever download the Tor browser from the official Tor website because there are malicious versions circulating online that contain malware. If you download Tor from anywhere but the Tor website, it is possible that you could become infected.
Please also bear in mind that there is no official version of Tor for iOS at this time. Thus you will need to be careful not to be tricked into downloading a cloned version of Tor for iOS.
Anybody wanting to connect to the dark web on an iPhone or iPad is advised that there is no official Tor app at the moment. Instead, Tor Project recommends iOS users to connect using the iOS Onion Browser application.
This app works slightly differently from the official Tor browser, and while it is a good alternative for iPhone users (that is recommended by Tor Project itself) it could potentially contain vulnerabilities not present in the official Tor browser.
For this reason, you do use this app to connect to the dark web at your own risk. The deep web refers to any part of the internet that is not openly indexed and made available via a web search.
This includes any private information held on the cloud that is not listed on the Web. This includes things like the data stored on private cloud servers, backup services, email accounts, etc.
The deep web is generally a safe place, particularly when compared directly to the Dark Web. However, it is a huge target for cyber-crime because it is the area of the internet where private data resides.
Whether you are accessing your email account, private backups, or your credit card statements, that data is stored on the deep web.
Due to the value of the private data that is stored on the deep web, it is vital that it is always secured extremely well using encryption.
This is why that data is usually accessible only with a password (and two-factor authentication). This is also why it is essential to use strong passwords to protect any information stored on the deep web.
The dark web is a part of the deep web that can be accessed anonymously using Tor browser.
It is concealed from the clearnet (the part of the internet where you visit YouTube and Twitter) using encryption, and it allows web developers to publish websites anonymously.
The dark web accounts for around 6% of the internet, and it is the secretive portion of the web where drug dealers, black hat hackers, hitmen, and human traffickers sell their wares or services.
The dark web is a hive for criminal activity due to its anonymous nature and the fact that it is extremely hard to track down anybody who accesses it. In fact, research performed at the University of Kent in 2015 revealed that 57% of the dark web hosts illicit material.
On the other hand, those stats reveal that around 40% of the dark web is not actually illegal. This is because it is also used by activists, dissidents, journalists, whistleblowers, and other legitimate people seeking to share information or conduct research securely, anonymously, and without being tracked.
These legitimate people use Tor browser to ensure their safety and to access information that has been censored by the government.
This includes not just accessing content on the dark web, but also using tor to access the clearnet anonymously, which allows them to bypass restrictions imposed by the government in the same way that a VPN does.
ProPrivacy / ABC Flash Point News 2023.