We are all aware of the normal web which we access in our day-to-day life. But there is a part of the internet hidden from the normal world. In general, we are only accessing about 4% of the total internet. The remaining 96% of the internet is often termed the deep web.
The dark web is a smaller subset of this deep web and is not conventionally accessible to the whole world. The question that rages here is ‘How do I access the deep web?’ Before we take a closer look at how one can access the deep web or dark web, it is important that we understand what deep or dark web really means.
What is the Dark Web?
The Deep Web refers to the part of the Internet that cannot be accessed and indexed by search engines. It includes various websites and resources that are not easily discovered through traditional sources. These sites often require specific login credentials, encryption, or direct access URLs, making them inaccessible to regular web users.
How is it different from the Surface Web?
The Surface Web is the part of the Internet that is indexable and searchable by standard search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This includes websites accessible to the general public without restriction. In contrast, the Deep Web consists of sites that are intentionally hidden from search engines and accessible only to users with the appropriate permissions and knowledge.
What exactly is the Dark Web?
In general, it is truly difficult to map out exactly what the dark web is. The dark web is considered to be a smaller subset of the deep web sites, which is only accessible using special software and configuration. The main feature of the dark web is that the user surfing on it is anonymous.
The dark web is the ‘bad part’ of the deep web, where all sorts of illicit and criminal activities are carried on without any supervision or intervention of law enforcement agencies. The dark web got its name from Mike Bergman in the year 2000.
Now another question arises – Is the dark web different from the normal web and is it legal? The content flowing around the dark web is different from the normal web. Most of it is illegal. This content includes links to abusive and offensive videos such as child pornography and revenge porn, or even links to hire black hat services like a contract killing, black hat hacking, and subscription to dangerous malware, etc.
It is also important to understand that accessing the dark web is not illegal per se, but getting involved in criminal activities and malpractices is. A person is solely responsible for what he/she does while surfing the dark web. The dark web is a very dangerous and unpredictable place, and it can land a person in a lot of trouble if he/she is not careful.
Accessing the Deep Web
Owing to its anonymity, the deep web can only be accessible by using special software and configuration. So you cannot just simply start surfing the dark web with your normal web browser.
Tor browser is one of the most famous dark web browsers available in the market for free. It is specifically designed to protect you from the harmful activities going on around the dark web, while also maintaining user anonymity. Your online activity cannot be tracked or surveyed by any third party, and hence your identity remains hidden all the time.
But just using the Tor web browser is not the answer for how I access the deep web. You must also understand what deep web links to open and surf since the Tor browser won’t provide you with them.
One of the best ways to know which links to surf is by using the hidden wiki. A hidden wiki contains links mapping the whole of the dark web, and you can easily land on the content you are looking for. Any link which has a .onion suffix is compatible with the Tor browser and can be easily opened.
Above all, it is the responsibility of the user surfing the dark web to understand the consequence and repercussions of getting involved in criminal activities over the internet. No amount of anonymity can guarantee the safety of the users, and if caught, the punishment can be severe.
The hidden wiki has thousands and thousands of links stored in its databases, and it is easy to wander off into a place where you don’t belong. Therefore, users must exercise extreme caution while surfing the dark web.
The dark web allows anonymous dealings and dark content. For example, one dark website might host complicated word puzzles. Another might be a sort of book club that creates eBooks to look more professional. Another might serve as a discussion forum where individuals who believe in the importance of free speech are permitted to talk.
If there has been a breach, there is potential for the stolen information to be purposefully provided on the dark web. When you purchase this information, you can also buy things like username and password combinations, accounts that were later hacked by Netflix, and much more.
Types of threats on the dark web
- Botnet malware
- Phishing malware
Accessing the dark web
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Before accessing the Deep Web, make sure you have a reliable VPN installed on your device. There are many VPN services available, so choose one that offers strong encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a wide selection of server locations. Once connected to a VPN, your online traffic will be encrypted and anonymized, providing an extra layer of security.
Accessing the Deep Web with Tor
Tor (The Onion Router) is another essential tool for accessing the deep web securely. It is a network of volunteer-run servers that allow users to access the Internet anonymously. Tor hides your IP address by bouncing your connection through several volunteer-run servers, making it extremely difficult for anyone to trace your online activities.
How to find hidden websites
To find websites hidden on the Deep Web, you will need to use special search engines or directories designed for this purpose. These search engines don’t work like Google, because they rely on anonymous networks like Tor to access hidden sites. Some popular deep web search engines include DuckDuckGo’s “Onion” service and Gram.
Staying Safe on the Deep Web
Avoid suspicious links and downloads
On the Deep Web, be careful of suspicious links and downloads. Harmful links can lead to phishing sites or malware-infected pages that can compromise your device or steal your personal information. Avoid clicking on unknown links and download files only from trusted sources.
Dealing with potential scams
Like any other online environment, the Deep Web is not immune to scams and fraudulent activities. Exercise caution and skepticism when dealing with offers that sound too good to be true. If something seems suspicious or illegal, it’s best to steer clear to protect yourself from potential harm.
Keeping Yourself Safe
To minimize risks while accessing the deep web, follow these essential precautions:
- Keep Your Antivirus and Security Software Updated: Ensure your device has reputable antivirus and security software installed, and keep them updated regularly. This helps protect against malware and potential cyber threats.
- Avoid Sharing Personal Information: Never provide personal details, such as your real name, address, or financial information, on the deep web. Assume that your online activities may be monitored, and protect your privacy.
- Use Strong Passwords: Create unique and strong passwords for any accounts you use on the deep web. Avoid using the same password across multiple sites to prevent unauthorized access.
- Be Cautious with Communication: When engaging in conversations or forums on the deep web, be mindful of what you share. Refrain from discussing sensitive or personal matters with strangers.
- Stay Away from Illegal Activities: Engaging in illegal activities on the deep web can have severe consequences, including legal repercussions. Abide by the laws and regulations of your country.
- Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Phishing is a common tactic used by malicious actors to steal sensitive information. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or sharing login credentials with unknown sources.
- Research Hidden Websites: Before accessing any hidden website, do thorough research on its reputation and legitimacy. Look for user reviews and feedback to gauge its trustworthiness.
- Keep Tor Browser Updated: If you’re using Tor to access the deep web, ensure you have the latest version of the Tor browser installed. Updates often include security patches.
- Use Encrypted Messaging: If you need to communicate privately on the deep web, consider using encrypted messaging platforms that protect your conversations from interception.
By following these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with accessing the deep web.
The Last Words
The Deep Web offers a vast array of resources and information that is accessible on the Surface Web. While this can be a valuable tool for promoting access to uncensored content and free speech, it must be approached with caution and respect for privacy and security.
Accessing the deep web itself is not illegal. However, engaging in illegal activities, such as purchasing illicit goods or services, can lead to legal consequences.
Tor provides a significant level of anonymity by routing your connection through multiple servers. However, it’s not infallible, and users should still exercise caution and follow best practices for online security.
No, regular web browsers like Chrome or Firefox cannot access the deep web. You need special tools like the Tor browser to access hidden sites.
To stay safe on the deep web, use a VPN, keep your software updated, avoid sharing personal information, and be cautious of suspicious links and downloads. Always prioritize your online privacy and security.