How to Access the Dark Web
Now that you know of the special software, configurations, and onion websites needed to access the dark web, allow us to give you a step-by-step guide to help you easily access it. Simply adhere to the following steps to make your venture into the uncharted terrains of the internet less challenging.
#1) Use and Connect to a Safe VPN
Trust us when we say that you do not want to pry eyes monitoring your every move when browsing the dark web. You must first hide your IP address and encrypt your internet connection. The easiest way to do so is with the help of a reliable VPN. A good VPN will conceal your activities from being monitored by your own ISP and other parties.
#2) Download and Install Tor
When it comes to dark browsers, Tor is undoubtedly the safest bet. This free browser will route your traffic through multiple web servers across the world, making it hard to track your online activity. We recommend you download the browser only from its official website. An unlicensed third-party download may be compromised with malware.
#3) Start Browsing
With the Tor browser now installed and downloaded into your system, you can now access all .onion websites that are available on the dark web. Remember to check each and every site for authenticity. As the dark web is unregulated, you may encounter sites that are not only illegal but also immoral.
#4) Protect Yourself
For added protection, we suggest you use anonymous email addresses and cryptocurrency wallets to communicate or make payments on the platform. Also, make sure you have robust security software installed to protect your device from potentially harmful malware or viruses that the dark web may possess.
Many ISPs and Government bodies treat the use of Tor with suspicion. So if you are using Tor, it is best to use it under the cloak of a strong VPN service. With the above steps followed diligently, you will have no problems getting in and out of the dark web without anyone noticing.
Is it Illegal to go on the Dark Web?
This is a question that we believe prevents several curious users from ultimately venturing into the dark web. It is a tricky question to tackle as the conversation around its legality is seldom nuanced.
However, we will try our best to look at various factors and determine not only the situation regarding its legality but also ponder over the morality of surfing this secret web.
First and foremost, the legality of using the dark web varies from country to country. In advanced democracies like the US, surfing the dark web is legal. However, using Tor can bring you unwanted attention from both your ISP and the government.
Although using the dark web is legal, it goes without saying that you cannot use it with criminal intent. Its core purpose is anonymous browsing and the fact that it is unregulated makes it a tempting place that is ripe for exploitation by unsavory characters online.
It is littered with malware and scams. It is also very difficult to distinguish safe sites from those that are harmful. Suffice to say, the place is festering with cybercriminals.
Certain sites on the dark net promote the selling and buying of ransomware, viruses, and stolen data like bank account details, email accounts, etc. The trading of such information is a major reason behind cases of identity theft that have become quite common recently.
According to the Dark Web Price Index, published by Privacy Affairs in late 2021, the following is just a taste of leaked information being sold on the Dark Web.
Leaked Data Price Cloned VISA with PIN$25Stolen PayPal account details, minimum
$1000$120Blockchain.com verified account$310Hacked Instagram Account$45Minnesota Driver’s License$20
Types of Threats Commonly Found on the Dark Web
It is recommended to tread carefully when you’re browsing the dark web. The place is full of dangerous threats that can compromise the security of your device and ironically invade your privacy.
Some threats that you should be aware of when browsing are as follows:
#1) Malicious Software
The dark web isn’t exactly regulated. As such, most websites here don’t take measures to protect their users from malware attacks like traditional sites on the surface web do. So users are more likely to be exposed to threats like keyloggers, ransomware, phishing software, and botnet malware.
#2) Government Monitoring
The immense notoriety it has garnered over the years has put it in the crosshairs of governing bodies around the world. Many Tor-based sites that were once safe have now been overtaken by authoritarian parties from around the world. Some have even been turned into police surveillance sites that bait unsuspecting users.
The Silk Road is one such site on the dark web that was busted in 2013 for being an illegal Amazon-like marketplace for buying and selling drugs online.
There are many sites on the this part of the web that promise one thing but deliver something else entirely. For instance, you’ll have sites here that offer hitmen for carrying out assassinations. Although such sites do exist, an overwhelming majority of them are simply there to dupe unsuspecting customers into paying them money.
Protection Against Threats
To surf online safely, you’ll have to pay extra attention to the following two things:
#1) Identity Theft Monitoring
It is ironic how the dark web, which is a place meant to provide anonymity, is also responsible for a mounting number of identity theft cases. It is littered with stolen social media, credit cards, and banking details that are openly sold and auctioned.
Make sure you are using encrypted cryptocurrency wallets and emails IDs for activities on the dark net. Also, make use of a reliable VPN like ExpressVPN or Nord to hide your IP address from ISPs and the government.
#2) Anti-Malware or Virus Software
You’re increasing the risk of your device being infected by ransomware or any other type of malware by hopping onto the dark web. So download and subscribe to anti-virus software, especially those that detect and warn you about suspicious sites on the dark web.
The Silver Lining of Using the Dark Web
Make no mistake, there is plenty about the dark internet that should concern you. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a legitimate use for it. For instance, it has long been a haven for activists, journalists, and whistleblowers trying to expose the corrupt and questionable activities of their government and authoritarian bodies.
The anonymity provided by it is essential in helping these individuals continue to do the work they are doing. It can organize and put information out in countries where free speech is restricted and dissenting voices are unjustly prosecuted.
Just like almost everything else in the world, it can be a force for both good and bad. Its ultimate application depends on how you use it. It is also easier to access today, thanks to special tools and search engines that protect you while you explore the hidden corners of the internet.
The right browser, search engine, VPN, and ethics for good measure are all you need to hop onto the dark web without inviting the ire of your ISP or the government.