What is the Dark Web

The Dark Web: What is it exactly and how do you get there?

Last edited: September 19, 2019
Reading time: 31 minutes, 34 seconds

You may have heard of the dark web. It’s usually described as the ‘hidden’ and even dangerous part of the internet where all sorts of shady business takes place. Most internet users won’t find themselves on the dark web regularly, or at all. This is understandable, because some parts of it really aren’t safe. If you’re curious to find out more, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the dark web and how to gain access to it.

First we’ll introduce you to what the dark web is exactly and what happens on there. Then you will learn about VPNs and the Tor browser and how these tools are essential if you want to travel the dark web. Then we have a quick guide you can use to access the dark web relatively safely. If you really want to stay safe, we have prepared a comprehensive 14-step plan to safely browse the dark web. Make sure to check all of our security measures before doing so. Finally, you will find out that the use of the dark web is legal but some practices on there aren’t.

Stay safe on the dark web!

Accessing the dark web is very easy, but so is getting into deep trouble because of it. Therefore it’s important to always keep your online safety and privacy in mind. We highly recommend using a VPN to encrypt and anonymize all your internet traffic. Aside from that, always make sure you have proper and updated antivirus software running on your device. This way nobody can intercept your data, monitor your online actions or infect your pc. A VPN will protect you when you’re surfing the surface or deep web, but also when you want to investigate the dark web. With it, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), governments and hackers will all be clueless as to what you’ve been doing online.

An excellent VPN for the dark web: CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a high quality VPN provider which allows you to protect 7 devices at the same time. They offer strong encryption and an array of extra safety measures to choose from. This makes CyberGhost a great provider to use when you venture onto the dark web.

CyberGhost currently offers a very good deal to protect and anonymize all your internet traffic for less than $3,50 per month. This comes with a 45 day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free and ask for your money back if you aren’t content. Moreover, they offer good customer support and are extremely user-friendly. Read all about this provider in our full review of CyberGhost.

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What is the dark web?

The internet is often described as consisting of three parts: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. The surface web is what most of us use every day. It’s accessible through regular search engines, like Chrome, Safari and Firefox. This very article is part of it: you can access it anywhere and at any time, as long as you have an internet connection.

The deep web is the part of the internet that houses very specific information. Most of us won’t have access to this information, and it isn’t accessible through search engines either. Mostly, these are pages and databases that are only meant for a certain group of people within an organization. In order to get access, you need to know the exact web address (URL). In some cases, you need a password as well. Examples of pages on the deep web are some university library databases, reports and journals that only subscribers have access to, and the timeline of your private Facebook account.

The last layer of the internet is the dark web. It’s more difficult to reach than the surface or deep web, since it’s only accessible through special browsers such as the Tor browser. The dark web is the unregulated part of the internet. No organization, business or government is in charge of it or able to apply rules. This is exactly the reason why the dark web is commonly associated with illegal practices. It’s impossible to reach the dark web through a ‘normal’ browser, and even in the Tor browser you won’t be able to find any ‘dark’ websites ending in .com or .org. Instead, URLs usually consist of a random mix of letters and numbers and end in .onion. Moreover, the URLs of websites on the dark net change regularly. Before moving on to the kinds of websites you’ll find on the dark web, we’ll first explain a little more about Tor.

Dark Web Surface Web Graphic Iceberg

Tor

Tor The Onion Router LogoTor (the onion router) is open-source free software that functions as a browser. Unlike browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, Tor aims to keep its users anonymous. In order to make this happen, Tor works with high levels of encryption. Your searches travel through a network of nodes. At every node, part of the encryption is peeled off. Eventually your information ends up at the website of your choice. This process of onion routing aims to keep the user anonymous.

The Tor browser is used to access the dark web. As mentioned, this is the only way to reach URLs with the suffix .onion. This suffix refers to the onion routing that Tor uses to secure anonymous browsing: encryption comes in layers, like the layers of an onion. Websites can decide to use a .onion domain because they do not want too many people to know they exist. This could be because they simply want to be exclusive, or because they contain content that’s considered questionable or illegal.

Tor can give you access to the whole web, regardless of whether the websites are regulated or not. Although Tor can be used to access the dark web, most of its users still remain on the surface web. In other words: Tor is mostly used to anonymize online browsing, but is also the main route to the dark web. For even more details on the Tor browser, visit our Tor browser page.

In short, Tor browser is necessary to access the dark web and also helps to make you more anonymous on the internet. Your IP address, for example, stays hidden. Check out these 10 reasons to hide your IP address. Please note, Tor browser is not foolproof. This is why it is always recommended to also have a VPN running.

Accessing the Dark Web

If you want to visit the dark web, we advise you to take the following steps:

When browsing, always remember that the dark web can be a very dangerous place. Take our warnings to heart and don’t make it easy for malware and hackers to affect your device!

The Hidden Wiki

As a first stop when visiting the dark web, we suggest the Hidden Wiki. The Hidden Wiki provides links to search engines and websites, so you can navigate the dark web more easily. This makes the Hidden Wiki a good starting point for when you don’t know where to go.

hidden wiki

You can find the Hidden Wiki by copying the following URL into your Tor browser: http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. The web addresses on the dark web do change constantly, but there are many websites on the surface web that will provide you with the right up-to-date URL for this particular page.

Another good place to start is our 10 websites worth visiting on the dark web article.

The comprehensive 14 step plan to stay safe on the dark web

  1. Use a mobile live OS
  2. Download Tor from its official website
  3. Take security precautions
  4. Forbid scripts in the Tor browser
  5. Change the security level in the Tor browser
  6. Always use a VPN to access the dark web
  7. Check if there’s not an IP-, DNS-, or WebRTC leak
  8. Be aware of common dark web myths
  9. Use additional anonymous services
  10. Avoid logins, subscriptions, and payments
  11. Know where you’re going
  12. If you’re going to buy something on the dark web, use cryptocurrency
  13. Close everything when you’re done
  14. Realize that you are never 100% safe

1. Use a live mobile OS

Anonymity is the most important thing to safeguard on the dark web. Not because the dark web is illegal (it isn’t), but because the most anonymous you are – the safer you are. Unfortunately, Windows 10 is a privacy nightmare

  • Your data is continually synced: browser history, open websites, app settings, and wifi hotspots are all tracked
  • Your device is automatically linked to a unique advertisement ID for third parties
  • Cortana collects data such as: your keystrokes, search results, microphone audio messages, calender information, music playlists, and even your online purchases
  • Microsoft can collect all sorts of personal data: your identity, your passwords, habits and interests, user data, contacts, and locations

If a hacker manages to get into your system via the dark web, all of this information can potentially be exploited by that hacker. Many of these settings in Windows can easily be turned off (though not all!). You can do this by going through the settings in Windows or by using a nifty piece of software like W10Privacy.

A much better idea than going on the dark web via Windows 10 is to use a live mobile OS.

Tails (The Amnesiac Incognito Live System) is a live version of Linux OS that won’t leave any trace of your activity or the OS on your computer.
This free OS can be downloaded onto a USB flash drive or DVD. You do not have to install it on your computer. You simply plug in the USB flash drive or insert the DVD when you want to browse without leaving a trace and load the OS. It cannot save cookies on your hard drive unless you personally direct it to.

Tails also has the Tor browser pre-installed. The Tor browser is essential for getting on the dark web and installing Tails on a flash drive saves you the trouble of installing Tor on your PC or laptop.

Alternatives to Tails are ZeusGuard (paid) and Qubes OS. This last one requires you to install it on your device. It is arguably your safest option. Edward Snowden, for example, uses Qubes OS to safeguard his anonymity.

Of course, not everyone feels comfortable downloading and using an entire new operating system. IF you choose to not access the dark web via TAILS, make sure to follow these next steps.

2. Download Tor from its official website

The Tor browser is an interesting target for hackers and government agencies. Fake versions of the Tor browser have been created to either breach users before they even access the dark web or monitor the behavior of a user while on the dark web. The latter approach is especially attractive to government agencies.

As such, you should always download the Tor browser from its official website: https://www.torproject.org/
Make sure you always download the latest version of the browser and keep it up to date at all times. That way, you will ensure you have the latest security safeguards in place.

Android users can use Orbot. This app is also brought to you by the makers of the Tor Project. Iphone users unfortunately cannot use any kind of Tor products without jailbreaking their device first.

3. Take security precautions

Before you open the Tor browser, you should:

  •  Close all non-essential apps on your machine, e.g., Netflix, password managers.
  • Stop unnecessary services from running, e.g., Onedrive.
  •  Cover your webcam with a piece of paper. It is shockingly easy to gain access to your webcam, even without you noticing.
  • Have a reputable and fully updated antivirus program installed on your device.
  • Install quality and up-to-date anti-malware software. For more general information on malware, see our malware section.
  • Turn off your location on your device. Your location can be found through your IP-address as well as your device itself.

For Windows 10, you can turn off your location from Settings > Privacy > Location > Turn off location + erase location history

For macOS: System Preferences > Security & Privacy panel > Privacy > uncheck “Enable location Services”

The dark web is crawling with hackers who will seize any opportunity to exploit any detail you may have overlooked. If a hacker from the dark web manages to hack your system, all the apps and services you have running in the background are open to attack.

Essentially, the best way to stay safe on the dark web is to make sure that a potential hacker has little or no information about you to work with. This means you should not randomly browse around the dark web or give out personal information. Do not click on any suspicious links. Leave as few traces of your presence as possible. These precautions will decrease the odds of you being targeted.

Once you have opened the Tor browser, do you not change the size of Tor browser screen. Oddly enough, this will keep you safer.

It also doesn’t hurt to check how well your Tor browser (or your everyday browser for when  you’re not on the dark web) is secured against tracking. Panopticlick allows you to check with just one click if your browser is safeguarded against: advertisement-trackers, invisible trackers, so-called “acceptable advertisements” and your digital fingerprint.

4. Forbid scripts in the Tor browser

Scripts on websites can be used to keep track of what you’re doing online: they become part of your digital fingerprint. Tor has included a nice feature in its browser to ensure no websites are able to run scripts on you. To activate this, go to the upper right corner of the browser and click on the symbol with the letter “S”. Select the option Enable restrictions globally, and you’re good to go.

Tor Browser Scripts Restrictions

It is important to change these settings because websites often run scripts without notifying you. This is especially dangerous on the dark web as .onion-websites are unregulated and there is a lot of malware going around. By blocking scripts, you reduce the chance of your computer getting infected. However, even blocking scripts doesn’t protect you from all harm. Caution should therefore still be exercised when browsing the dark web.

In order to verify if you have successfully forbidden scripts in the Tor browser, look at the “S” in the upper right-hand corner. When there is an exclamation mark next to it, websites could still be running unauthorized scripts. If there is no exclamation mark, you’re safe from any unwanted scripts.

If you want to disable scripts for your everyday usage in a different browser, you can best do this through an extension.

Chrome or Brave: Scriptsafe

Firefox: NoScript

Both extensions will enable you to decide which websites can run Javascript and which cannot. Please take note: both of these extensions can turn off all sorts of regular web functions by disabling Javascript.

5. Change the security level in the Tor browser

It is also possible to increase the security level of the Tor browser itself. You can do this by clicking the Tor logo in the upper left-hand corner. Select security settings. A window will pop up, enabling you to change the security level from medium to high.

Tor Browser Security Settings

safety settings tor

Naturally, the highest setting is the safest. Unfortunately, this setting does significantly slow down your internet connection and causes some websites to not fully function. The highest security setting will disable most video and audio formats, some fonts and icons may not display correctly, Javascript is disabled, and some images may not be displayed properly, among other things.

Tor has included this security setting with the exact intent to safeguard its user from the many sites on the dark web that might try to take control over your device or spread malware. This setting is nevertheless restrictive as it does not allow you the unlimited browsing experience of the dark web. In the end, it is a decision between safety and access. We recommend sticking to the highest security setting.

6. Always use a VPN to access the dark web

Even if you use the Tor browser, your traffic can still be traced back to you by anyone with sufficient time, resources, and know-how. In fact, the Tor browser was found to have a vulnerability in 2017 that in some instances leaked real IP addresses. This problem was especially serious for MacOS and Linux users. If these users had taken the precaution to also have a VPN operating in the background, however, their real IP addresses would not have been compromised.

Therefore, it is highly advisable that you use a VPN in addition to Tor while browsing the dark web. VPNs encrypt your web traffic and make sure your IP address is hidden from any hackers or government surveillance, even if there is a leak within the Tor browser. For more information on VPNs, see our detailed explanation. Please be aware, however, that not every VPN provider is equally reliable. Free versions often suffer from slow service, data limits and security leaks. For an overview of some of the best and most reliable VPN providers, take a look at our Top 5 VPN providers page.

If you don’t feel like going through the hassle of selecting a VPN subscription that’s right for you and loading a live mobile OS, you can also just put down a $120 or so for some hardware like Anonabox. This is essentially a special router which has been pre-programmed to keep you anonymous on the internet. Not even this is a 100% anonymous, though.

7.Check if there’s an IP,- DNS-, or WebRTC leak

It is possible that even after all of these safety precautions you are still running an IP- or DNS-leak. What this means is that through some kind of bug or leak, your IP-address is still traceable for third parties. WebRTC is incorporated into most browsers to allow real-time communications like voice and video calls. This allows you to talk straight from your browser by using your webcam, microphone or headset. The problem is that most voice calls are sent through a peer-to-peer connection, which requires your exact IP-address. So, if you are in Google Chrome, for example, and you have WebRTC running, your actual IP-address will be revealed even when you are using a VPN. This problem is espescially prevalent with Google Chrome. To subvert this feature, you can install this Chrome extension.

To check if your connection is truly anonymized, go to the following websites:

ipleak.net

dnsleaktest.com

WebRTC test

On these pages you can see if your real IP-address is visible. All of these websites essentially do the same thing. At the top of the page your public IP-address is visible and underneath that is your location. If your VPN is working properly, your real address and IP-address won’t be visible anywhere on the page.

8. Be aware of common dark web myths

There are many myths about the dark web. Being aware of them will give you a better perspective of what you can expect and hope to do on the dark web. By being aware of these myths you are less likely to fall prey to a hacker or scammer. These are some of the most common myths:

Myth Truth
All cybercrime takes place on the dark web Most cybercrime takes place on the regular web
The dark web is massive Compared to the deep web, the dark web is relatively small. The deep web is comprised of academic databases, banking portals, corporate data, company networks, webmail accounts, and much more. This is far larger than the 250.000 to 400.000 websites that exist on the dark web
The dark web is only for Tech pros or nerds. If you take the right precautions, anyone can get on the dark web relatively safely. The Tor browser, VPNs, and Tails or other live OS are available to anyone and are not too difficult to use for a beginner
The dark web is illegal The dark web itself is not illegal. The Tor browser that you need to access the dark web; however, uses some very strong encryption that is illegal in some countries. As such, the dark web is indirectly illegal in some countries. These countries tend to have more far-reaching internet restrictions anyway. These are countries like China, Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Iraq, and North-Korea
Anything you can do on the dark web is illegal The dark web itself is not illegal, nor is everything that happens on there illegal. Whether or not something is illegal on the dark web depends on the country from which you access the dark web. For clarity’s sake: just apply this rule of thumb: if something is illegal in the country you’re in, it will also be illegal to do that same thing on the dark web. So, if it’s illegal to sell drugs offline, it’s also illegal to sell drugs on the dark web. There are sometimes nuances though. When in doubt, always be sure to find out what is legal and what is not

9. Use additional anonymous services

Even if you enter the dark web completely anonymously, it is still possible to accidentally give out your personal information by using some online services like search machines, extensions, file-sharing, messages, emails etc. Many online services use cookies, trackers, and scripts to gather specific data about you. That’s why it’s better to opt for alternative online services that value privacy. Below you can find a number of services with a proven-track record of safeguarding privacy.

Anonymous search engines

For a good private search engine, you can use the search engine DuckDuckGo instead of Google. While most search engines won’t work on the dark web, DuckDuckGo does. The onion address for it is https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

Alternatives search engines that will work on the dark web are SearX and Startpage

Safe passwords

Safe passwords are even more important on the dark web than on the regular (surface) web. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of coming up with a decent password every single time and safely storing them you can get a good password manager. Two good options are Bitwarden and LessPass. Both are free and open-source. The best option is to add them to your browser (if that’s possible).

File-encryption

If you are going to download or upload files on the dark web it might be a good idea to get them encrypted. A reliable, free, and open-source encryption tool is PeaZip. This tool supports 181 different file-types. Unfortunately, PeaZip isn’t available to macOS users. An alternative for Mac users is Keka.

Anonymous uploading/sharing

If you want to share files anonymously then OnionShare is a very good option. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu. Dropbox and other file-sharing software like it are notorious for not respecting the privacy of its users or data. With OnionShare you can share files of all sizes through a webserver. An alternative is Firefox Send. Although it was designed by the creators of Firefox, you can also use it outside of the Firefox browser. With this service you can share files up to 1 GB, or 2,5 GB if you create an account – which we do not recommend.

Anonymous office services

If you’re looking for an alternative to Google Docs with better security, have a look at Etherpad. This software is completely open-source and you do not even need an account to use it. Another option is Cryptpad. You can use it to write texts, create spreadsheets, or make flashy presentations. Only people who are given the access keys can get access to it.

Videocalling (VoIP)

For (video)calling  there are number of good services available such as Linphone or Mumble. Linphone is free and open-source, it can be used for Windows macOS, IOS, Android, and GNU/Linux. The software has end-to-end encryption. Mumble is a little different. It is designed specifically for gaming, doesn’t keep any logs and also doesn’t record any conversations. It doesn’t have any end-to-end encryption though. The software is available for Windows, macOS X, IOS, and Ubuntu.

Sending anonymous messages

Ricochet or Signal provide more secure means of text messaging than your standard messaging app. Another good option is TorChat. This application is part of Tor and allows you to chat with anyone also using it. You don’t need to register. TorChat automatically assigns you a numerical ID that you have to send to the other person you wish to talk to. You can do this by telling the other person directly (face to face) or by sending your ID number through an encrypted email (see next step). This will allow a great degree of anonymity when chatting you cannot generally get anywhere else.

Sending emails safely and anonymously

A highly praised online email service is ProtonMail. Their mail accounts have standard end-to-end encryption. Emails sent through Gmail or Hotmail are most easily intercepted and/or deciphered. Encrypted email services are therefore a much safer option. These services do tend to have more rigid data limits. So if you plan to excusively use encrypted email accounts then you might want to create more than one. Here is a list of encrypted email providers.

It is also possible to create a temporary email address(a so-called burner). The advantage of this is that you can create an online account at any website, then confirm your registration and then never worry about getting your inbox bombarded with useless emails from said website. Some well-known temporary email address providers are: TempMail, 10minutemail, and Guerrillamail.

If you really do not want to switch to a different email address for you dark web browsing, then at least make sure your standard email account gets some extra protection through PGP (pretty good privacy). This can be done by adding an additional service on top of your regular email account like Mailvelope. This service works with almost any provider like Gmail or Hotmail, and many more. Please be aware though this is a far less safe option than a temporary email address or an encrypted email address. A lot of information about you can be backtracked through your regular email address.

10. Avoid logins, plugins, subscriptions, and payments

If you wish to browse the dark web safely, anonymity is your best option. Should you choose to log into certain user- or bank accounts, your anonymity will be compromised. It is never a good idea to log into your online bank account while on the dark web. Once you are logged into a user account, every activity on that website can be attributed to that profile, Tor or not. Therefore, it is best to not log into any profile or account while surfing the dark web.

Some websites require you to have an account to even gain access, however. In this case, you can create a randomized and disposable email address, create an account that is not in any way identifiable to you personally and use this account to browse through the website. Creating a user account that cannot be  means not using your name, birthday, hobbies, interests, location, etc. The more random and anonymous it is, the better. For more help on how to create a secure password, take a look at this guide.

Plugins are widespread in many browsers today. Many of these plugins can gather personal information about you, your location, and your online behavior. Therefore, it is better not to have these enabled while searching the dark web.

11. Know where you’re going

The dark web is not equipped with a search index such as Google. You have to know where you want to go before you get onto the dark web. This means having specific URLs ready in order to get to the right pages. It is not wise to randomly visit websites, as it is easy to arrive somewhere you do not want to be. The dark web hosts some of the most unsavory elements of the internet, such as child pornography sites.

In order to have some sense of direction on the dark web, there are directory sites that can aid you in finding what you want. One of the best places to start for both inexperienced and experienced users is “The Hidden Wiki“.

Other good places to help you navigate the dark web are:

DuckDuckGo: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/

SearX

StartPage

12. If you are going to buy something on the dark web, use cryptocurrency

The dark web features a variety of marketplaces (most famously the now defunct Silk Road). Many of these marketplaces are likely to sell items that are illegal in your country. You should thus be careful and mindful of your country’s laws before purchasing anything on the dark web.

However, not everything for sale on the dark web is illegal. And it is also possible you may want to buy something legally, yet anonymously. Not everything you buy should necessarily be public knowledge. All financial transactions on the dark web go through cryptocurrency rather than regular bank transfers or credit cards. This is to ensure anonymity for both you and the seller.

Bitcoin tends to be the first name that people think of when they hear cryptocurrency. It has a well-known name and is often seen as safe, reliable, and anonymous. This is not entirely true, however.
Bitcoin has a number of privacy issues such as address reuse, connected nodes, tracking cookies, and blockchain analytics. This means that it is possible for someone to link your personal information to a transaction. As such, a preferable option is to use a privacy-focused coin. Two of the most popular are Monero and Zcash, though there are other options available as well. A good overview can be found here.

Before you buy anything on the dark web though, make sure you are aware of country’s laws and how cryptocurrencies work.

13. Close everything when you are done

When you finish browsing the dark web, make sure to close all of your browser windows and any other related content. If you used Tails, shut down the operating system and go back to your regular OS. To be on the safe side: do a quick reboot.

14. Realize that you are never 100% safe

Even if you faithfully follow all of the previous steps, you are still not guaranteed complete safety on the dark web. You can unintentionally give out personal information or click on a wrong link. Hackers are constantly finding new ways around security systems and settings. Nor will any of the previous steps keep you safe from compromised hardware. If your computer hardware is infected with some type of malware, any internet use is already compromised. In short, there is a lot you can do to improve your safety on the dark web, but nothing is ever foolproof.

What happens on the dark web?

It’s very difficult to figure out exactly what happens on the dark web. As mentioned earlier, you need to know specific URLs in order to get to the right pages. It’s quite hard to stumble onto the right website when all the web addresses are random combinations of digits and letters. Moreover, there are a lot of stories going around about the craziest services and pages hiding on the dark web. Ordering hit-men is only one of the available examples. It’s unclear whether these extreme stories are actually true, or whether they’re mere speculation. Still, many other questionable things, such as drugs and weapons, are freely available on the dark web.

We can’t make any definite claims, as the dark web is constantly changing and remains largely hidden to many. However, in general, these are some of the things you may find on the dark web:

Black markets

The black market has flourished since the birth of the internet. The dark web is home to many a black marketplace, where all sorts of goods can be sold and bought. The most famous online ‘darknet market’ was probably Silk Road. This project has since been shut down by the FBI. Websites like Silk Road and other darknet markets function as a web shop for illegal products that you won’t find on the surface web. Think of it as an illegal version of Ebay. Examples of things you might find on a black market are drugs, weapons, and fake passports. Needless to say, we advise our readers NOT to take part in illegal trade while surfing the dark web.

Fraudulent or otherwise dangerous websites

The dark web is also swarming with fake and dangerous websites. That’s why it’s important to always be careful and to use both a VPN and good antivirus software. Don’t ever click on a link on the dark web if you don’t know where it’ll lead. Your computer could be hacked or infected with malware before you know what’s happening.

Moreover, the dark web houses all websites that wouldn’t be tolerated on the surface web due to their content. Sadly, you can find things such as animal abuse or child pornography on there. Therefore it might be wise to stay away from this part of the internet.

Email services, fora, and other forms of anonymous communication

The dark web is also used for anonymous communication. Whistleblowers and journalists might use these routes to leak or find sensitive information. People who want to report a company or government for an illegal act can use the dark web to try and stay anonymous. Journalists can use it to get in contact with anonymous sources. Both the WikiLeaks network and whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden have used the dark web in the past to spread their message.

While the people in these examples did what they did in the name of internet freedom and transparency, not everyone has those same motivations. Criminals and terrorists will also use anonymous communication on the dark web to try and stay clear of law enforcement.

Botnets

A botnet is a network of infected devices that can be operated by the hacker that controls them. Often, the devices in the network are infected without their owners being aware of it. The hacker in charge of the botnet can use the devices to spread viruses, phish for private information, or facilitate DDoS attacks. The botnet is less likely to be discovered, taken down, or taken over if it operates on the dark web, hence a lot of botnets can be find operating on there.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency websites

If you visit the dark web, you’ll find that almost everything is paid for with cryptocurrencies. These cryptocurrencies are online currencies that can be used worldwide. To be more precise, cryptocurrencies are digital assets tied to the value of a decentralized digital ledger such as the blockchain protocol. This basically means that cryptocurrencies are unlike regular currencies because their value and history of exchanges is visible on the blockchain rather than a series of banks and other financial institutions. However, they are digital assets rather than currencies because you can generally only exchange these assets online for goods, but not outside of it. Nevertheless, because of the blockchain method, cryptocurrencies make anonymous exchanges possible that are ideal for shady businesses on the dark web.

The most well-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is also used outside of the dark web.  However, recent incidents show that the currency might not be as anonymous as some people might have hoped. Other types of cryptocurrency are also very popular. Some new cryptocurrencies are constantly trying to improve on safeguarding the anonymity of the people using them.

Legality of the dark web

Navigating the dark web isn’t illegal in most countries. However, it could make you look suspicious in the eyes of your local law enforcement. Most of the stuff sold on the dark web is illegal, so, obviously, purchasing those illegal items is prohibited. Since these goods are usually only found on the dark web, anyone surfing this part of the internet could be buying them. This is why governments might try to keep tabs on you if you visit the dark web.

As you might imagine, this dark unregulated part of the internet is the perfect place for illegal activity. It’s extensively used by criminals: the elusiveness of the dark web is ideal for drug deals and arms vendors. Moreover, research has found that terrorists use the dark web to communicate and spread their message. All in all, it might not be a place you want to find yourself as a law abiding citizen.

Even though the use of the dark web is legal in most countries, the illegal activities that regularly occur on there make the dark web a sketchy place. Therefore, it might not be the best part of the internet to visit regularly if you’re a good and law-abiding citizen.

Final thoughts

We want to stress that we advise you NOT to use the dark web without first having taken the proper safety measures. The curiosity is understandable, but it isn’t worth exposing yourself to the dangers this unregulated part of the web. In the end, mostly criminals inhabit the dark web. If you do end up going there, always take precautions. A good VPN service and solid anti-malware and antivirus software are essential, but still leave you exposed. The 13 step plan is one of the safest ways to get onto the dark web. Ultimately, you access the dark web at your own peril. Stay curious, but stay safe too!

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  1. I am never going to be on this ever in my life

  2. what if i get hacked in deep web

    • If you get hacked there’s all sorts of problems that could arise, just like if you get hacked via the regular web. The best thing to do is be cautious, use good antivirus software and use a VPN to keep yourself from harm. If anything does happen, you should look up what the best course of action is in that specific case.

    • Buy a brand new phone, make a fake account, turn that location off then download them to be safe. don’t give out your real name, birthday, credit card. Use fake information for everything.

  3. I will like to access the dark web

    • Great! Just make sure you stay safe while browsing this part of the internet. Use a good VPN, and think twice every time you click a link!

  4. Nice

    • Glad to hear you value our information 😉

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