What Is the Dark Web & How to Access It?

What Is the Dark Web & How to Access It?

Tomas Wilsdow

Last updated by Tomas Wilsdow - February 7th, 2021 - 10:26 am

Dark web, Darknet, what’s right?

There are the world’s best known sites like Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Facebook. And there are also the multitude of sites that you can access via Google and other search engines. But they are only a small part of the Internet. Beyond these popular sites are sites that are not easily accessible to the general public. These sites find out what is commonly referred to as “the” Dark Web ” Or the ” Deep Web ”

The ” Dark Web ” Is therefore a generic term for a set of Web sites hosted on encrypted networks with hidden IP addresses, giving users a solid protection of their anonymity .” Darknet ” Or ” Darknets “, these are precisely these encrypted networks. Since these sites are not indexed by traditional search engines, you can access them only via the Darknet and its specific tools such as I2P (Invisible Internet project), Freenet, and the best-known of all, The Onion Router (TOR).

You can learn more about how Tor works Here .

Don’t confuse Dark web and Deep web

The ” Deep Web “, or Web Profond, groups all websites on the Web that cannot be reached via a regular search engine. Although Dark Web sites are part of Deep Web, it also includes sites that perform more mundane functions such as professional intranets, webmail platforms, databases, Netflix type catalogs, and Online banking platforms and services requiring a password.

These can be found and can be accessed directly with a URL or IP address, and are hidden behind firewalls, paywalls and HTML forms. Since all of these other pages are included in the ” Deep Web “, the latter is in fact much larger than the regular Internet (also called ” Clear Web “).

How to go to Darknet safely

The main gateway to Darknet is the browser Tor This is a browser designed to access the Tor network alias The Onion Router, which is a network of anonymization made up of nodes throughout the world and through which users’ Internet connections are routed.

Although relays are an integral part of Tor anonymity, they can also cause slow connections. Instead of connecting directly to the web site server you want to access, you must first pass through the relays, which are often deliberately dispersed around the world. In addition, since the system is decentralized, not all relays have the same CPU, which means that some are fast and powerful, while others can operate at a snail’s speed.

The easiest way to browse web pages is to download and install all of the Tor browsers. The Tor URLs end with the suffix. Unlike web.com sites, URLs are usually complex and difficult to remember, and websites frequently modify URLs to avoid DDoS detection and attack.

When you access Dark Web, Internet service providers and, by extension, the government, may not see precisely your activity, but they know you are on the Tor network. In some countries this may be enough to arouse suspicion.

This is why we recommend that you use a VPN in addition to Tor to go to Darknet. In this way, your Internet traffic is routed through the VPN before going through the Tor network and finally reaching its destination. With this method, Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) sees only encrypted VPN traffic and will not know you are on the Tor network.

The main problem with the use of Tor via a VPN is that you need to trust your VPN provider, because it can see you are using Tor. To mitigate risks, Use a VPN that does not keep records of your activity and log in to your VPN before opening the Tor Browser.

Guide to Accessing the Darknet in 3 Steps

Step 1. Find a quality VPN service

That is, a VPN that does not keep any activity log, has no DNS leaks, is fast, compatible with Tor, and which (preferably) accepts Bitcoin as a means of payment. Some of the VPNs Most reliable . If you are a novice VPN, this Practical tutorial You will learn everything you need to know.

For this example, we will use the VPN CyberGhost . Once downloaded, open the VPN and connect to a server at the localisationof your choice. This will change your IP address by making it appear as if you are connecting to the Internet from a different location from your true location.

Step 2. Download and install the Tor Browser

Before that, Don’t forget to activate your VPN Also, be sure to download Tor from the official Tor Project website.

Once installed, look for the Tor Browser folder, open it and click on the file ” Launch Tor Browser “.

A new window will open asking you to click on the button ” Connect ” Or ” Configure “. Click on ” Connect ” To open the browser window.

Step 3. Start browsing the sites.onion

When you open Tor on your computer, you will automatically be redirected to the search engine DuckDuckGo . Although DuckDuckGo is designed to provide additional privacy and encryption when searching on the Web, you should not consider it to be the version ” Dark Web ” Google.

Indeed, Even in Tor, DuckDuckGo search for Clearnet This means that if you perform a keyword search, you will get the same results as you would find by searching the conventional Internet.

Fortunately, there are search engines for the Dark Web that will take you to the sites.onion In particular:

Just make sure you always enable your VPN before you open Tor and start a web browser session.

Go to Darknet is not reserved for criminals

The anonymity provided by the ” Dark Web ” Is certainly attractive to users seeking to buy or sell illegal property such as drugs, weapons or stolen data.

But there are also good reasons to go to the Dark Web sites. In recent years, he has gained popularity as a Shelter for whistleblowers, activists, journalists, And all those who must share sensitive information, but cannot do so for fear of political persecution or reprisals by governments or other more or less legitimate powers.

Police and intelligence agencies also use it to monitor terrorist groups and cybercriminals. In addition, enterprise IT services frequently explore the ” Dark Web ” Search for stolen data and compromised accounts, and individuals can use them to search for indications of identity theft.

In many circles, Darknet has become synonymous with Internet freedom , all the more so as the states continue to attack him. It now hosts several organisations involved in investigative journalism such as ProPublica and Intercept. And to read exclusively the famous WikiLeaks leaks, Julian Assange’s NGO, which publishes classified official documents, you also have to go to the Dark Web. Even Facebook maintains a presence there in order to be accessible in countries where it is censored by the government.

5 positive things to do on the ” Dark Web ”

1. Exchange of information in countries where the Internet is censored

Many countries, such as China, Qatar, Cuba, Turkey, or Russia, censor online content that promotes political dissent, or that they consider to be obscene (for example, content related to homosexuality). Darknet provides a free expression where none of these restrictions exist.

2. Reveal abuse of authority

The ” Dark Web ” Allows journalists and political activists to report stories that might cause them problems with dictatorial regimes or governments seeking to infringe a person’s right to privacy.

As we said earlier, WikiLeaks is a good way to share sensitive information with the greatest number of people. If you have documents that you want to post, you can do it here:

3. Purchase Difficult Access Items

Although we do not support the purchase of illegal products from vpnMentor, we cannot fail to recognize that such purchases can be justified in some cases.

For example, some common analgesics and sleeping pills in Europe are illegal in many countries in the Middle East and Asia. Moreover, with about 15.5 % of Americans without health insurance, many people do not have access to the medicines they need.

That said, Lack of monitoring on ” Dark Web ” Makes this practice extremely risky, Although some people in desperate situations are likely to take this risk.

4. Purchase legal assets anonymously

It is not helpful to list the kinds of items you might want to buy in your own discretion. The ” Marketplaces ” Of DarkWeb guarantee a level of privacy for your online purchases that you simply won’t find on Amazon.

And for those who are particularly concerned about their safety, The ” Dark Web ” Can provide an additional layer of protection when purchasing anti-monitoring tools.

However, it should be noted that even if the products themselves may be legal, There is no doubt that sellers are marketing illegally obtained or stolen goods.

5. Simply use the Internet anonymously

You will no doubt be surprised to learn that Darknet hosts a large number of websites similar to those you will find on Clearnet. They include Blogs, game sites, social networks, and super-encrypted e-mail platforms The most popular e-mail services include ProtonMail (https: //protonirockerxow.onion/login) and MailtoTor (http://mail2tor2zyjdctd.onion/). Even Facebook has created an en.onion address to allow users to bypass censorship.

Navigating Dark Web is not illegal but can be dangerous

You can’t be charged with a criminal offense for a simple search on Dark Web, but you may have problems if you use it to conduct illegal activities . There is no longer the headlines about police operations involving Darknet and child pornography, drug trafficking, or hackers who sell stolen data.

Moreover, the anonymity that reigns over Darknet logically makes it a dangerous place. Because there is no monitoring, scam abusers abound. That being said, it is possible to protect against Darknet by simply following the same basic security rules that apply to the normal Internet: Always be aware of the links on which you click because some may be misleading, and avoid sites or links that advertise illegal, disturbing or dangerous content .

Is the Tor browser entirely anonymous?

In 2014, the FBI, with the help of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, achieved a feat based on a JavaScript vulnerability in Firefox that successfully unanonymized some Tor users, including the operators of the famous black market site Silk Road. Although the flaw that allowed these attacks was corrected a few days after their discovery, the incident still raised doubts among Tor users about its total security .

Similarly, in October 2017, the security firm We Are Segment identified a vulnerability in Tor that affected some Mac and Linux users. This vulnerability, known as TorMoil, Caused IP addresses to leak When users access URLs that begin with file: //, rather than http:// or https://. We Are Segment notified the Tor developers, who quickly corrected the error by updating a new version of the web browser.

To solve these problems, The Tor project has recently improved security and privacy by strengthening encryption. It also provides web developers with the tools to create sites ” Darknet ” Totally anonymous (known as hidden services, or appointment points) that can only be discovered by those who know the URL of the site.

Additional precautions to preserve your anonymity

Although Tor is encrypted and the use of a VPN allows you to hide your IP address and that of the websites you visit, the following security measures are recommended if you want to remain anonymous on the Darknets:

  • Never use your real name or photos;
  • Never use an email address or even a password that you have already used;
  • Instead, use an anonymous encrypted e-mail account and aliases that you have never used before and do not allow you to trace back to you;
  • Use an anonymous Bitcoin portfolio to make purchases. If you are new to Bitcoin or want to know more, you will find more information Here;
  • Disable Javascript and do not install the browser plugins, because they can be manipulated to reveal your IP address.
  • Do not change the size of the Tor browser window to avoid Fingerprint of browser
  • Don’t upload torrent to Tor, because even if your non-Tor IP address is anonymized, it can still be visible to other members of the network.
  • Use the HTTPS versions of the websites. Indeed, once your web traffic passes through the encrypted network of Tor, it still has to pass through an exit relay to reach the website that interests you. At this point, your data is likely to be exposed to a third party, which may even include an exploit in your browser. URLs that begin with HTTPS prevent this;
  • Log out of the Internet before opening the documents downloaded via Tor, because the fact of opening them online could be used to reveal your non-Tor; IP address.
  • Consider using the TAILS operating system (booted as a live DVD or live DVD), as this does not leave any digital footprint on the host machine.

Cases of crime involving the ” Dark Web ”

Although we thought that the ” Dark Web ” Should be used to promote freedom of expression and circumvent censorship, it is undeniable that The press tends to focus on the most obscure activities Which take place there. Here are some of the most famous stories revealed in recent years:

  1. Silk Road : More than any other Web site is probably Silk Road that did the most for the Darknet’s sulfide image. Silk Road originally was the invention of a libertarian idealist who wanted to sell the mushrooms he cultivated against Bitcoin, and ended up hosting $1.2 billion in transactions involving drugs, firearms, attacks, Counterfeit currency and piracy tools. The site’s creator, Ross Ulbricht, known on Silk Road as Dread Pirate Roberts, finally got caught because of an old post on a normal website in which he promoted Silk Road in his early days. His mistake: use his real email address.
  2. AlphaBay : After the closure of Silk Road, AlphaBay became the most important marketplace in Darknet. The site closed in 2017 due to even more basic errors than that of Dread Pirate Roberts. Among other Bourdes, founder Alexandre Cazes used his personal email address for communications on the site ([email protected]), kept several portfolios of crypto-money constantly open and reused the same Pseudonym on various Dark web sites. When the police came to arrest him at home in Thailand, he was connected to the AlphaBay server under the username ” The computer, unlocked and unencrypted, contained text files of passwords used on the site, as well as a document listing the type and location of all its financial holdings. A few days after his arrest, Alex Cazes died in his prison cell.
  3. The Playpen Case : Although it only existed for seven months, the child pornography site Playpen managed to gather 215 000 users before the FBI accesses its host server via information provided by the authorities of a third country (which has not been Publicly identified). Instead of closing the site, the FBI continued to host it on its own servers for two weeks, during which it used a Flash application to enter 1300 IP addresses belonging to site visitors. This led to the arrest of nearly 900 users worldwide, including Playpen’s despicable creator, Steven Chase.
  4. The Case Ashley Madison : In 2015, the Impact Team hacker group introduced itself to the Ashley Madison extra-marital adventures. The hijackers threatened to release the users’ personal information if the site and its subsidiary, Established Men, were not closed. A month later, due to the deadline, Impact Team started to leak data on the Dark Web. Information has been revealed several times, including e-mail and IP addresses of 32 million members, the correspondence of the CEO of Ashley Madison’s parent company and the source code for the site. What motivated the hacker responsible for this attack? First its opposition to the very concept of the site, then the fact that the site forces its users to pay to delete their accounts (which were not even completely deleted from the servers). Ashley Madison did not require an email check to create a profile, it was easy to create an account using someone’s email address and then use it to blackmail it. The person responsible for the attack is still not known, but one can imagine that it was a person affected by these bad security practices.

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