The dark web is a section of the internet that many people have heard of before, but very few people have seen this part of the world wide web. It sounds like an “underground” area filled with cyber criminals, black markets, and all sorts of illegal activity. But, the reality is that the dark web is far more than that! There’s a lot more to this hidden section of the internet than you might expect, and there’s an interesting history behind it too.
You might be wondering if it’s even possible for the average internet user to access the dark web. Well, the answer is yes, anyone can access the dark web for free, and it’s much easier than you might think! It’s as easy as following a step-by-step guide to accessing the dark web, and you can get into the “underworld” of the internet within minutes.
However, once you’re there, you need to make sure to stay safe. While the dark web itself is not necessarily dangerous, there are risks to accessing it, just like there are on the surface web. It’s important to make sure that your device is secure and all of your data is protected before you access the dark web, because it can be an extremely dangerous place if you’re not careful. Keep reading to find out more about the dark web, how to access it, and how to protect yourself while you’re browsing the dark web.
What is the Dark Web?
So, what is the dark web all about? There’s an interesting history behind this hidden section of the internet. The dark web can only be accessed through a special browser known as Tor (The Onion Project). The browser was originally invented by the United States Naval Research Laboratory in the 1990s. The purpose of the browser was to allow spies to safely and securely communicate with one another without their communications being intercepted by others.
Eventually, the program was changed and repurposed into the anonymous browser that we know today. In modern times, the Tor browser is used to access a collection of hidden websites, and it also allows you to browse the internet anonymously. You can download the Tor browser on any device, completely free of charge which will allow you to access the dark web.
There are three main benefits to using the dark web as opposed to using the surface web:
- User anonymity
- Untraceable websites and services
- Ability to take illegal actions for both users and providers
This naturally means that the dark web attracts individuals who need to remain anonymous online and keep their data and information secure. This can include Whistleblowers, censored journalists, abuse and persecution victims, political dissidents, and even cybercriminals.
Is it Dangerous to Access the Dark Web?
The Tor browser allows internet users to browse the dark web anonymously, which means that it can be relatively safe in the majority of cases. The browser uses a random path of encrypted servers known as “nodes”. This allows users to browse the internet without their actions being traced by others. This means that your browsing history will not be kept track of either.
To add an extra layer of security, websites on the dark web use another type of anonymous software known as I2P (invisible internet project). This allows websites to remain anonymous as well, making it impossible to find out who owns or runs a website on the dark web.
However, the dark web has earned a reputation for being a hub of criminal activity and scammers that are looking to take advantage of others. However, this is not necessarily true. It’s not illegal to access the dark web either. Many legal parties and government agencies also use the dark web when dealing with sensitive information that cannot be leaked to the public. Even journalists that work in heavily censored countries use the dark web to publish stories and communicate with others.
So, what are the risks you need to look out for when accessing the dark web?
- Malicious software – just like some websites on the surface web, some dark websites may install malware such as viruses, spyware, and even ransomware on your device. It’s important to keep this in mind because it can allow cybercriminals to steal crucial data from your device, delete or encrypt important files on your devices, or even monitor your internet traffic.
- Government monitoring – while the Tor browser does use a series of encrypted servers to provide an anonymous browsing experience, you still need to be careful about the websites that you visit on the dark web. Some sites have been taken over by authorities so that they can monitor devices that access the website. You could become a government target simply for visiting the wrong website!
- Scams – the dark web is known for its marketplaces that allow users to buy products or services. However, you need to be extremely careful of scammers on the dark web who never deliver products or services even if you have paid for them. It’s much more difficult to track down a scammer on the dark web due to the anonymity factor.
Security Measures to Have in Place
If you’re planning on accessing the dark web, it’s important to make sure that you have the right security measures in place to keep your devices, and your data protected. Two basic security tools will keep you safe on the dark web.
The first tool you need is premium antivirus software. Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for viruses and other forms of malware that puts your device at risk. The software can also take action to remove any malware from your device before it’s too late.
The second cybersecurity tool you need is a virtual private network, but you might know it better as a VPN. The main purpose of a VPN is to encrypt your internet connection, which will add an extra layer of security to your device and prevent anyone from keeping track of your internet history or monitoring your internet traffic. VPNs are so powerful that not even your internet service provider can see what you’re doing on your device — so, you’ll be in safe hands!