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  • Writer's pictureNexix Security Labs

What is Dark Web? Is it dangerous? How to access it?

Dark Web image

Anything we surf daily, enjoy series, and do e-shopping this all stuff is done within the Surface web, the portion of the World Wide Web that is readily available for us and is searchable with standard web search engines often called the Visible Web, Indexed Web or Lightnet. It is the collection of the public web pages on a server which can be accessed by any search engines. But more or less it constitutes just the 5% of the information actually available on the internet.

While there also exist, several multiple layers below the Lightnet comprising Deep Web. The portion of web where the web pages are unidentifiable by search engines i.e., opposite to the surface web where the web is not indexed by search engines. At the top of these layers, the websites can be accessed, but cannot be found by a normal search on Google or Bing. But on keep going down these layers finally at the bottom you reach the Dark Web. It’s too not indexed; moreover the sites over dark web require specific browsers for browsing them.

History of the Dark Web

As mentioned earlier, Dark web is an instance of the internet that isn’t indexed by the conventional search engines. Users communicate here through encrypted messages and can buy or sell anything with total confidentiality and thus providing great deal of privacy compared to traditional websites. We often had come across this term that is “Dark Web” as a cradle for illicit activities and yes it is. It uses the information that is not available on the search engines, like email, social media, banking, plus personal and professional databases, and documents. It’s also used by radical extremists for spreading their propaganda. According to a 2019 study, “Into a Web of Profit”, conducted by Dr. Michael McGuire, the number of dark web listing which is a threat had risen by 20% since 2016. Of which, 60% could harm the ventures.

The Dark Web’s infrastructure was created in the 1970s likely to that of the internet. The thing that differs it from the latter is – to utilize it, you need darknet software. The U.S. Naval Research Lab back in the glooming 2000s created the first and ever now the most famous darknet software-Tor. Providing the U.S. Navy’s intelligence officer a way to conduct operations, through the internet without being recognized, was one of the major reasons behind its development.

How is Dark Web different from Regular Web

The Tor unlike the normal browser bounces the request by the user via several computers around the world encrypting and decrypting the user’s identification as it goes in order to hide the reallocation of the request. Not only Tor but there are several others too including I2P or Freenet. The anonymous nature of the Tor network results in it getting more vulnerable to DDoS according to Patrick Tiquet, Director of Security & Architecture at Keeper Security.

Example of darkweb sites

Despite seeming the same as normal sites, the difference arises in the extension of the dark sites. These sites don’t end with .com or .co but with .onion. This practice is known as the special use of the top-level domain suffix designating an anonymous hidden service reachable via Tor. Ones with the appropriate proxy, only those browsers can reach these sites. Also, the Dark Web sites use a scrambled naming structure that creates URLs that are tough to be remembered.

What is there on Dark Web

The power associated with using the dark web is inevitably abuse by making it easier to engage in criminal activities. For example; the combination of dark web and crypto-currencies theoretically makes it much easier to hire someone to commit certain crimes. The sample of illegal things which can be found on dark web includes-

  • Stolen Information

  • Actionable substances

  • illicit pornography

  • Disturbing and dangerous items and services

But there are even some legal activities that take place through Tor. It serves as a secure network for both government agencies and political revolutionists. The Dark Web helps journalists to uncover the truth as a tool. It even facilitated domestic violence victims hide from online stalkers. Because of it, surfing the web without being tracked by advertisers has been possible for ordinary citizens.

How to safely access Dark Web

Dark Web is a sort of notion, to remain anonymous and expressing views without the fear of repercussions. This feature somewhere has lead to degrade its reputation as a forum. But if you want to operate the dark web, it’s as simple to install a private browser, through virtual private network commonly known as VPN, which encrypts your data and confirms your system remains safe and shielded. Also avoid using your regular emails and ids whiles using browsers like Tor and make sure your system as well as browser is updated, in order to surf in more secured manner.

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