The dark web and the deep web are also often erroneously used interchangeably. The deep web is what lies underground and isn’t just the content that is considered dark. That’s why it’s also called the invisible web or the hidden web. Specific browsers, such as Tor Browser, are required to reach the dark web.
However, if you’re planning to use it for illegal activities, there are significant risks involved. For example, one of the most common ways to access both the deep web and the dark web is through Tor. The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are commonly used interchangeably. Although this is accurate in terms of the underlying technology, there is a slight difference.
Whistleblowers often come to the dark web to find allies who can take their secrets and share them more publicly elsewhere. Government agencies and contractors can employ services like Peraton’s TORNADO to frequently check the dark web to understand if people are talking about them and what they are saying. TORNADO automatically and anonymously combs through the entire dark web every 30 days based on specific keywords that help identify information that may pose potential harm. Exploiting open source intelligence provides situational awareness. As such, you should exercise caution when accessing any unofficial dark websites.
Alternatively, a buyer on a dark web marketplace may be able to purchase a very tailored attack, such as hacking a social media account of their significant other. While the web is accessible worldwide to anyone with an internet connection, international governments block news websites sometimes. The dark web has been a handy tool in combatting this kind of censorship, with the investigative news organization ProPublica establishing a presence on the dark web in 2016. So, you’ve heard of the “dark web” or “darknet”, a hidden internet infamous for hosting illegal activities.
DuckDuckGo’s dark web search engine indexes pages on the dark web, but you’ll need to open it with Tor Browser. The quickest way to access the dark web is to download and install Tor Browser, which will route your traffic through the Tor network and let you access the dark web. On Tor, you can type in any URL you’d like to visit, including .onion domains on the dark web. The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Deep web refers to anything on the internet that is not indexed by and, therefore, accessible via a search engine like Google. Deep web content includes anything behind a paywall or requires sign-in credentials.
VPN over Tor versus Tor over VPN
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The dark web lives on the Tor ecosystem and can only be accessed through the Tor browser. It’s a free, open-source software using a global network of servers to help you stay anonymous online. Perhaps you’ve heard the infamous stories about Silk Road, the online marketplace used to sell illegal drugs with bitcoin behind the veil of the Tor browser. Launched in 2011, it is known to be one of the first online platforms of the dark web. Your information is sensitive—it’s incredibly easy for hackers or cyber criminals to gain access to your personal or financial information with your knowledge.
Accessing The Dark Web
Everyone who has access to the internet uses the Surface web, or as some like to call it – the Clearnet. That content is indexed by different search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, Duckduckgo, Yahoo, Baidu, etc. Again – results consist of only indexed content by that search engine.
- The deep web is a part of the internet that cannot be accessed by a standard web browser.
- Dark Web monitoring is a service provided by Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection, along with an ongoing audit of your digital shadow and constant checks for impersonators.
- Here are two examples of dark web content and activities that would raise legal concerns.
The most basic email services on the Dark Web share similarities to Gmail or Yahoo Mail. Yet you will also find many niche email services here that allow users to stay anonymous. These include “burner” email services or private email service providers. However, did you know these services are also available on the Dark Web? They often allow more leeway to users and impose fewer restrictions.
Researchers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups continued its development and launched the Tor project in 2006 as a tool for journalists, activists, and whistleblowers. Freenet is still an experiment designed to resist denial-of-service attacks and censorship. The big downside is that your ISP will know you are using Tor, which is cause for concern in some places and will put many people off using this method.
Tor is a web browser used to stay anonymous online or access dark web. Tor shares similarities with VPNs and proxy servers in that all these tools enable some level of anonymous browsing. Tor can be used together with a VPN to provide powerful, overlapping levels of privacy and anonymity. The dark web limits online tracking, and there are many legitimate reasons people like journalists and activists use the dark web to remain private.
For example, many file-sharing websites on the Dark Web don’t care about the nature of your file content. Dark Web websites often run on networks of private servers, allowing communication only via specific means. This enables a high degree of anonymity and makes it difficult for authorities to shut down – which, unfortunately, makes the Dark Web a hotbed for many illegal or immoral activities. Regularly changing your passwords even in the absence of a threat can also make your account information less useful. A password manager can help you create and store strong passwords, and may even perform regular security checkups for you. If you choose to browse the dark web, be mindful that you don’t know where a .onion address will take you.