The dark web is a secret network of internet sites that can only be accessed with a specialized web browser. It is used to keep online activity secret and anonymous, which may be useful in both legal and illegal uses. While some people use it to avoid government restrictions, it has also been used for very illegal activity.
- What is the Dark Web, Deep Web, and Surface Web?
- How to Access the Dark Web
- Is it illegal to go on the Dark Web?
- Types of Threats on the dark web
- End User Protection against Exploitation by the dark web
- How to access the dark web safely
What is the Dark Web, Deep Web, and Surface Web?
The Surface Web or Open Web
The “visible” surface layer is the open web, often known as the surface web. If we imagine the entire web as an iceberg, the open web is the top piece that is above the ocean. According to statistics, this collection of websites and data accounts for less than 5% of the whole internet.
This section contains all widely viewed public-facing websites with conventional browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Websites are often identified with registry operators like “.com” and “.org” and may be found using common search engines.
Surface web websites may be found because search engines can index the web via visible links (a technique known as “crawling” since the search engine travels the web like a spider).
The Deep Web
The deep web is located under the surface and accounts for about 90% of all web pages. This would be the undersea portion of an iceberg, considerably bigger than the surface web. In fact, this secret network is so vast that determining how many pages or websites are active at any given time is difficult.
Extending the analogy, large search engines may be compared to fishing boats that can only “catch” webpages near the surface. Everything else is out of reach, from scholarly papers to private databases and more criminal stuff. This deep web also contains what is known as the dark web.
While many news sites use the terms “deep web” and “dark web” interchangeably, most of the deep web is completely legal and secure. The following are some of the most affluent areas on the deep web:
- Databases: Both public and private file collections that are not linked to other sections of the web and may only be searched within the database itself.
- Intranets: Private networks used by businesses, governments, and educational institutions to communicate and regulate things within their organizations.
The Dark Web
The term “dark web” refers to websites that are not index and can only be access with specialist web browsers. The deep web includes the dark web, which is far smaller than the modest surface web. Using our ocean and iceberg analogy, the dark web would represent the buried iceberg’s bottom tip.
The dark web, on the other hand, is an extremely hidden part of the deep web that few will ever interact with or even see. In other words, the deep web covers anything under the surface that can still be access with the proper tools, including the dark web.
Breaking down the dark web’s architecture exposes a few essential layers that contribute to its anonymity:
- No webpage indexing by surface web search engines. Google and other popular search tools cannot discover or display results for pages within the dark web.
- “Virtual traffic tunnels” via a randomized network infrastructure.
- Inaccessible by traditional browsers due to its unique registry operator. Also, it’s further hidden by various network security measures like firewalls and encryption.
The dark web’s reputation has frequently been associate with criminal intent or unlawful content, as well as “trading” sites where users can acquire illegal items or services. However, legal parties have also used this structure.
Deep web risks differ greatly from dark web dangers when it comes to dark web safety. Illegal online activity is not always easy to find, but when you do, it tends to be considerably more intense and dangerous. Before we get into the risks of the dark web, let’s look at how and why people visit these sites.
How to Access the Dark Web
Previously, the dark web was the province of hackers, law officers, and cybercriminals. However, new technology like encryption and the anonymization browser software Tor now allow anybody who wants to go dark to do so.
The Tor network browser (“The Onion Routing” project) allows users to view websites via the “. onion” registry operator. This browser is a service develope by the United States Naval Research Laboratory in the late 1990s.
Recognizing that the internet’s nature implied a loss of privacy, an early version of Tor was developed to hide spying communications. The framework was eventually repurposing and made public in the form of the browser we know today. It is available for free download to everyone.
Consider Tor to be a web browser, similar to Google Chrome or Firefox. Notably, rather than selecting the shortest way between your machine and the deepest areas of the web, the Tor browser takes a random routing of encrypted servers called “nodes”. This enables users to access the deep web without concern of having their activity record or their browser history exposed.
Deep web sites also utilize Tor (or related software such as I2P, the “Invisible Internet Project”) to stay anonymous, which means you won’t be able to find out who runs them or where they’re located.
Is it illegal to go on the Dark Web?
Simply, accessing the dark web is not illegal. In reality, certain usage is totally legal and contributes to the “dark web’s” usefulness. Users might find three distinct advantages to using the dark web:
- User anonymity
- Virtually untraceable services and sites
- Ability to take illegal actions for both users and providers
As a result, the dark web has drawn many people who would otherwise be harm if they reveal their names online. Victims of abuse and persecution, whistleblowers, and political dissidents have all used these covert sites. However, these advantages may readily be extend to individuals who choose to operate beyond the restrictions of the law in more explicitly criminal ways.
When seen through this perspective, the legality of the dark web is determine by how you, as a user, interact with it. You may depart from legal limits for a variety of reasons crucial to the protection of liberty. Others may act illegally for the security and safety of others. Let’s go down each of these ideas in terms of the “dark web browser” and websites.
Is Tor illegal to use?
Tor and other anonymous browsers are not exactly banning in terms of software. In truth, these so-called “dark web” browsers are no limits to this area of the internet. Many people now use Tor to surf the public Internet as well as the deeper portions of the web in secret.
In today’s digital world, the anonymity provided by the Tor browser is critical. Corporations and governing organizations alike are currently engaging in illegal cyber spying. Some people simply do not want government authorities or even Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to know what they are doing online, while others have no option. Users in countries with tight access and user rules are sometimes denied access to even public sites unless they utilise Tor clients and virtual private networks (VPNs).
Regardless of the browser’s legality, you may still engage in criminal activities within Tor that might lead to your arrest. Tor may be use to quickly steal copyrighted information from the deep web, exchange illegal dark web porn, or act in cyber-terrorism. Using a legal browser will not bring your conduct into accordance with the law.
Are dark web sites illegal to use and visit?
On the network side, the dark web is a bit more confusing. The usage of the dark web typically indicates that you are seeking to participate in activities that you would be unable to carry out in public.
Government critics and other vocal advocates may fear violence if their true identities are reveal. Those who have been harm by others may not want their perpetrators to learn about their chats regarding the incident. If an action is declare unlawful by the regulatory body to which you belong, it is illegal.
However, anonymity has a downside because thieves and harmful hackers like to work in the shadows as well. Cyberattacks and human trafficking, for example, are behaviors that participants are aware will be damaging. For this reason, they move their acts to the dark web to hide.
Finally, simply browsing these areas is not unlawful, but it may cause you problems. While not illegal in and of itself, undesirable behavior does exist in many areas of the dark web. If you are not careful or an expert, computer knowledgeable user aware of its risks, it might expose you to unneeded risks. So, what is the purpose of the dark web when it is utilize for unlawful activity?
Types of Threats on the dark web
If you’re thinking about utilizing the dark web for basic privacy, you might be wondering, “Is the dark web harmful to use?” Unfortunately, it may be a very dangerous place to be. The following are some frequent risks you may encounter when browsing:
- Malicious software
- Government monitoring
Type 01: Malicious software
Malicious software, or malware, is alive and well on the dark web. It is frequently provided on some sites to provide threat actors with cyberattack tools. However, it remains across the dark web, infecting unwary people just like it does on the rest of the internet.
The dark web lacks many of the social contracts that website operators employ to secure users on the rest of the internet. As a result, users may find themselves constantly exposed to viruses such as:
- Botnet malware
- Phishing malware
If you choose to explore any dark web links, you risk being identify out and targeted for hacking and other crimes. Most malware attacks are detectable by endpoint security software.
If your computer or network connection is hack, the threats of online surfing might extend into the unplugged world. Anonymity is powerful with Tor and the dark web infrastructure, but it is not perfect. If someone searches deep enough, any internet action might leave breadcrumbs leading to your identity.
Type 02: Government monitoring
With numerous Tor-based sites being taken over by police agencies all over the world. There is a definite risk of becoming a government target simply by browsing a hidden website.
In the past, illegal drug marketplaces such as the Silk Road dark web have been using for police monitoring. Using custom software to infiltrate and analyze behavior, law enforcement has discovered the user identities of both patrons and onlookers. Even if you never make a purchase, you might be observe and incriminated later in life for unrelated behaviors.
Infiltrations might put you in danger of being monitor for other forms of activities. In certain nations, evading official prohibitions in order to investigate new political views is a punishable crime. For this reason, China employs the “Great Firewall” to restrict access to popular websites. Being a visitor to this material may result in being place on a watchlist or being immediately target for a prison term.
Type 03: Scams
Some advertised services, such as professional “hitmen,” may just be scams meant to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. According to reports, the dark web provides a variety of criminal activities, ranging from hired killings to prostitution and arms trafficking.
Some of them are well-known, well-established threats that circulate in this corner of the internet. Others, on the other hand, maybe take advantage of the dark web’s reputation to defraud people of enormous quantities of money. Furthermore, some dark web users may attempt phishing scams in order to steal your identity or personal information for extortion.
End User Protection against Exploitation by the dark web
Whether you’re a company, parent, or other online user, you’ll want to take safeguards to keep your information and private life out of the dark web.
- Identity theft monitoring is essential if you want to keep your personal information safe. For-profit, any form of personal data may be distribute online. Passwords, physical locations, bank account information, and social security numbers are constantly exchange on the dark web. You may be aware that bad actors can exploit these to damage your credit, commit financial fraud, and compromise your other internet accounts. Personal data leaks can potentially harm your reputation through social fraud.
- Antimalware and antivirus protection are both essential for keeping dangerous activity at home. The dark web is rife with data theft perpetrated by malware-infected individuals. Attackers can capture your data using tools such as keyloggers and enter your machine from anywhere on the internet. Endpoint security software, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud, is complete in that it includes both identity monitoring and antivirus protections.
How to access the dark web safely
If you have a real or practical reason to utilize the dark web, you should take precautions to ensure your safety.
Following are the seven tips to access dark web safely
- Trust your intuition: To prevent getting scam, you should exercise caution when using the internet. Not everyone is what they appear. To stay secure, you must be cautious about who you talk to and where you go. If anything doesn’t seem right, you should always take action to get out of the circumstance.
- Detach your online persona from real life: Your login, email address, “actual name,” password, and even payment card should never be use in any other context. If required, create whole new throwaway accounts and IDs for yourself. Before making any purchases, obtain prepaid, untraceable debit cards. Use nothing that could be use to identify you, whether online or in person.
- Employ active monitoring of identity and financial theft: For your protection, several online security services now include identity protection. Make use of these resources if they are made accessible to you.
- Explicitly avoid dark web file downloads: Fear of malware infection is substantially higher on the dark web, which is a lawless place. If you do decide to download, real-time file scanning from an antivirus application can assist you to examine any incoming files.
- Disable ActiveX and Java in any available network settings: Malicious parties are infamous for probing and exploiting these frameworks. You’ll want to avoid this danger because you’ll be going across a network full of stated threats.
- Use a secondary non-admin local user account for all daily activities: Most machines’ native accounts will have full administrator privileges by default. Most malware depends on this to carry out its activities. As a result, by restricting the account in use to strict privileges, you can slow or stop the progression of exploitation.
- Always restrict access to your Tor-enabled device: Protect your children or other family members from coming across something that no one should ever see. If you’re curious, explore the Deep Web, but keep children away from it.