Dark Web is a part of the Deep Web, which are aspects of the internet that search engines cannot reach as data herein are all encrypted. Dark Web users refer to the regular World Wide Web as Clearnet as it’s totally unencrypted.
The dark web browser is based on the darknets, those overlaid networks that require a specific authorization, or customized software for you to access. The darknets are composed of mainly small intra-peer or friend-to-friend networks, but large ones like Riffle, I2P, Tor, and Freenet are used by public companies and also individuals.
What happens when you visit dark web websites?
Here you do not surf using your familiar interconnected servers, and every code becomes encrypted. For instance, if you are on the Tor network, everything stays internal only. Therefore, your privacy is secured.
You will see the addresses would end in .onion and not .com like your regular internet. Since everything here is different, the notion of visiting is alluring. You can definitely visit the Dark Web out of curiosity, but you need to understand the rules and safety concerns first.
How to get dark web access?
You can best access the dark web through the browser Tor, which can be installed for free. It is based on Microsoft Corporation’s Firefox browser. With Tor, you can surf Clearnet or the usual Internet as well as the Dark Web. However, do remember that Tor is not what everyone uses or would use. If you want to hide the fact that you downloaded it, use your browser’s Incognito Mode and also a VPN [Virtual Private Network]. The latter hides your IP (Internet Protocol) address guaranteeing your safety for the said download.
Is the dark web illegal?
It is not illegal for you if you simply visit the Dark web! A search engine like Tor is perfectly legal in most countries. This web has extremely legitimate uses for everyone. You can be a perfectly normal and law-abiding citizen and yet surf it. But yes, a lot of the Dark web is used for illegal activities.
These illegal activities are of different types and range from illegal trade, terrorism, covert data exchange et al. You can understand what a safe haven of information exchange it must be for those who covet anonymity and security. However, there are millions of general and peaceful users too, so you need not run for cover yet.
What should be your security measures?
As we said before, it can be risky visiting the Dark web; hence you should adopt proper security measures to safeguard yourself and your devices.
VPNs like NordVPN, IPVanish, SurfShark, are to be used always. This would help to hide your IP or Internet Protocol address, guaranteeing your safety for surfing as well as downloads. Plus, nobody gets to see what you visit, download, or in a nutshell, what you’re up to.
Another very important requirement is a good antivirus. Good ones available on the market include QuickHeal, Avast, Kaspersky, and more. These protect you from malware and other harmful elements that might want to invade your privacy. You know the saying, better to be safe than sorry!
Common Dark Web Browsers
If you are on the Dark web, bid adieu to your familiar ones like Google, Altavista, and all! Here, you will find the following sites to aid in navigation:
Hidden Wiki is the Wikipedia of the Dark web. Here you may find links to various websites, plus they will search out what you are basically looking for. Otherwise, trust us, it sure becomes tricky!
Also, you’d find a lot of interesting reads and various stuff alerting your curiosity. But remember not to go on a clicking spree, as illegal sites are indexed too. Again, stay away from spin-off sites like “The Official Hidden Wiki” or “The Uncensored Hidden Wiki”.
This is a search engine that is also there on the common Internet. The best thing about this site is that it never collects or shares your private information! Now, isn’t that a huge relief?
If you want to be completely anonymous on the Dark web, DuckDuckGo is ideal. Even when you surf on this site on the regular unencrypted net, it also shows .onion websites unlike usual search engines like Google.
As a candle would illuminate your way through the darkness, this aptly named search engine does the same through the Dark web! It is a search engine specifically designed for this web. But do not expect it to show everything you would want to find, as that is virtually impossible – pun intended. Honestly, it is not a very great tool. Remember, it is a candle in a very big dark space, not a searchlight. Make sure you do not click all links it provides, as Candle does not filter its results for illegal or malicious content. So, don’t end up in trouble!
Not Evil is another very common search engine on the Dark Web. As the very name suggests, Not Evil has a norm that strictly forbids any sort of illegal content that you can find using the other search engines. However, other illegal services like Drugs are hosted. Moreover, any member may create a new topic on their chat services.
As you can understand, the conversations can range from usual anti-social salients to very disturbing topics. Hence, you may prefer to keep safe distance from all of these self-proclaimed Socrates.
Just as you are sure to encounter hackers, fraudsters, conmen, and scammers here; policemen, federal agents of several countries as well as Interpol personnel are also to be found. While the former would be the prowl for innocent surfers, the latter would be on the hunt for the former. Basically, it’s great as long as you don’t become the bait!
This one is just like DuckDuckGo; hence, feel free to use it on every type of Net i.e. on both the regular and the Dark web. But unlike DuckDuckGo, it would save personal information in most cases.
Surfers generally prefer Searx as it helps in making your search queries detailed to the point of infinity. Find news, snippets, clips, files, music, videos, science, posts, maps, and what not! Thus, it is the search engine you should go for to shorten your search on the Dark web. You can SearX the pin in the haystack here, literally!
Are there Dark web mail service
Obviously there are plenty of them! Moreover, they include regular ones like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook too. To top it all, these amazing services are for free.
This is a totally encrypted mail service provided by, well, of course, the Swiss! Consider this the Dark web’s email version of the internationally famous Swiss Banks.
The service is really great and prompt, totally encrypted for your safety and privacy. Since end-to-end encryption is executed, no log files are necessary at all. Plus, no personal information is required to be provided even if you want to create a secure personal account. Your own Credit Suisse for mails on the Dark Web, huh?
SecMail, though not very popular in the 2000s, has become one of the most used in the past few years. In fact, quite a number of those “questionable characters” populating this Dark web have opened up mailing accounts here in 2015. And somehow, these numbers are exponentially increasing since then year after year!
They only provide 25MB [yes you read it right!] per user, but here it’s enough for the PGP [Pretty Good Privacy] encrypted mails being sent and stored. All said and done, the storage is seriously found wanting at most times!
It is another email client that has also found some popularity on the Dark web! Its aim is simple, to keep your emails and the data therein, out of the grasps of Peeping Toms [read Hackers], Clever Dicks [read Cops] and Smart Alecks [read Scammers]. And hold on, it is an absolutely free open-source software.
Mailpile encrypts each and every one of your mails into secure but accessible piles of information. You can choose not to share your emails in the cloud, but still sharing them easily!
Most safe Dark web sites
There are quite a few actually! Let us quickly take you through a few notable ones:
Look at the name and you’ll get what it stands for; a secure place on this Dark web where you can drop and share any bit of extremely sensitive and important data. This is where journalists, tradesmen, whistleblowers, and all meet and share information without the threat of being tracked, harassed, arrested, and punished.
This is the .onion website which is the haven for free information exchange for whistleblowers and they can even sell their news to journalists here. In fact, a lot of news organizations have set up their own SecureDrop URL. The following constitute some noteworthy examples: http://xdm7flvwt3uvsrrd.onion/ [The Financial Times], http://smb7p276iht3i2fj.onion/ [Reuters] and http://t5pv5o4t6jyjilp6.onion/ [Forbes]
Yes, you read it right! But this is not the Facebook you know, rather its mirror site on the Dark web. And here, you can be completely anonymous and not allow Zuckerberg to garner millions by selling your personal data.
The best thing is, here government censorship [country-wise] is absent hence the hidden Osamas and Obamas maybe friends here! Thus, you can expect all sorts of people exhibiting their true colors but moreover staying anonymous and hidden at the same time. Interesting, isn’t it?
Dark Web Radio
Imagine you’re on the Dark Web and you’d have wanted some personally chosen accompanying music? Not to worry, this web even has its own Radio Station. Yes, of course, digital! You can choose from as many as 11 channels that provide different eclectic genres of music. So, Rock On!
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the Dark Web
Most people on the regular Internet have known or vaguely heard about the term ”Bitcoin”, especially in the last few years. But here, on the Dark web, you will find that it has been the standard currency for ages. Hence, a number of sites deal with cryptocurrency here. Plus, there is also a virtual wallet!
The most popular sites are Smartmixer, GreenAddress, and Onion Wallet. They aid you in buying, managing, and selling your Bitcoins. You can even check up on your stocks and increase/decrease the same as in the actual real-world or the usual Online Stock Markets on the regular Internet.
Link for Onion Wallet: http://ow24et3tetp6tvmk.onion/
Link for Smartmixer: http://smrtmxdxognxhv64.onion/en/start-mixing
Link for GreenAddress: http://s7a4rvc6425y72d2.onion/en/
BBC Tor Mirror
This is actually the official presence of British Broadcasting Corporation or B.B.C. [yes, the original] on the Dark web. It made a special mirror of its actual site on Tor, available freely over here.
This was needed for those active viewers of BBC in those countries that exert censorship on free news. But even though they can do that on the general Internet, this mirror BBC site remains accessible through Tor to any person irrespective of their location!
Also, this BBC site on the Dark Web is an international edition which means it covers and broadcasts news from all across the globe.
Comic Book Library
If you are truly a comic book lover [DC/MARVEL whatever] you have finally landed on the right source of information. There’s a Comic Book Library on the Dark web.
Here you can download thousands of original comic titles; they may range from the general mainstream titles to the extremely rare and niche ones. But remember, you are anonymous on the Dark web, but that still does not protect you from any sort of possible copyright misuse or even infringement! Just be careful, will you?
Now, in a nutshell, that was all about the Dark web. Be safe, stay anonymous, and well, happy surfing to you!