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What Is The Dark Web?
Whenever you use the internet normally, you’re accessing what is known as the surface web. These sites are easily found and can be accessed on any browser that you would normally use. The dark web on the other hand, is a different kind of animal.
Deep Web And Dark Web: What’s the Difference?
Most people confuse the dark web and the deep web as being the same thing. In truth, the dark web is part of the deep web. The deep web is a part of the internet that can’t be accessed by just any web browser. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari normally cannot access the deep web.
The deep web consists of websites, much like the regular web, but these websites usually have much different content from the surface web. The deep web has a lot of different kinds of websites, but the difference between it and the surface web is that these websites have an emphasis on protecting their users’ privacy. Government agencies, whistle-blowers, journalists, and other people who need to keep their identities private regularly use the deep web to share sensitive information.
The dark web—also known as the dark net or black web—is a part of the deep web that deals in more unsavoury things, such as drugs, illegal pornography, and even stolen credit cards.
What’s On The Dark Web?
Dark web websites usually host types of content that would get site owners in trouble if they were on the surface web. One of the more well-known sites of the dark net was The Silk Road website, a marketplace for illicit products, such as drugs, unlicensed firearms, fake IDs, and hacking tools. Though The Silk Road has been shut down, online black markets still exist, and discussion of them can be found on the surface web on sites such as darknetmarkets.org.
There are also a lot of sites on the dark web promising to double your money or sell you stolen credit card numbers. These kinds of websites are more often than not scam sites that aim to part fools with their money and take their bitcoin, which is non-refundable.
You can also find forums full of things that can’t be discussed on the regular internet. There are a lot of news stories of underground communities sharing illegal pornography and media on the dark web, and even more horror stories of hackers gaining access to your computer through a sketchy dark web site.
How To Access The Dark Web
As we explained before, you can’t just access the dark web through a normal web browser. You’ll need to use a special dark web browser, and while there are a few floating around, the most popular and widely-used one is a browser called The Onion Router, or TOR. Not to be confused with the satirical news site The Onion; TOR is a web browser that keeps your identity a secret by spoofing your IP address. This means that you largely can’t be tracked while you’re browsing the dark web. However if you use a regular search engine such as Google you’ll still be tracked, so most dark web users use a search engine like DuckDuckGo, which places an emphasis on protecting your privacy.
But before you begin searching the dark web, you’ll usually need the specific address of the website you want to go to. Dark web sites don’t have your usual www or world wide web designation. In order to protect anonymity, dark web addresses are usually a long string of characters usually followed by the domain “.onion”
A lot of these dark web sites can be found on The Hidden Wiki, which acts as a sort of roadmap to the dark web. If you want to be extra safe, you’ll also want to use a virtual private network, or VPN, that masks your IP address again, just so that nobody at all can track you unless you want them to.
Is The Dark Web Safe?
The dark web is a lot like a zoo. You can take a look at what’s out there and observe, but if you try to interact with its denizens, then you could get seriously hurt. The dark web is a playground for hackers and other unsavoury people who aren’t all too friendly, but as long as you have a game plan and stick to it, you should be fine.
If you’re just aiming to see what’s going on in the dark web like a digital tourist, then by all means, go for it. However, if you want to purchase products or services on the dark web, then you have to know that they’re not entirely safe, and could carry some very harsh real life consequences.
The dark web itself is not illegal, but it is definitely not safe. It is a fascinating place that exists as a testament to how much the internet has changed the landscape of the world. Many of its users do participate in illegal dealings, and it may not be the safest place for you to be exploring on a whim. If you ever do decide to explore the dark web, make sure you have ample protection.
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