What is the Dark Web
You can think of the dark web as another parallel online world that is set up differently from the known WWW Internet that you are used to accessing every day. The Dark Web is made of websites that exist on an encrypted network and cannot be navigated to using traditional search engines or visited by using traditional browsers such as Goggle Chrome or Internet Explorer.
By using a specific browser, criminals can secretly sell illegal drugs, launder money and commit other crimes, often undetected as their sessions are encrypted and their identity is hidden. It’s a place where hackers buy and sell your stolen credit card credentials and IDs, sell stolen goods through to more heinous crimes involving Terrorism, the sickest and most perverse types of porn and even kidnapping and sex trafficking. The Dark Web is not a place you want to visit without a solid understanding of what it is and what you’re getting yourself into. So, proceed with caution or have a valid reason before venturing there.
There is also a number of legitimate reasons users may want to access the Dark Web. There are some people who could benefit from the ability to communicate and share sensitive information with others. The United Nations, FBI, and CIA use the encrypted dark web to monitor terror groups and keep tabs on criminal profiteers. Corporate IT departments frequently crawl the Dark Web in search of stolen corporate credit card information and compromised accounts.
The Dark web relies entirely on encryption. Encryption, when used for good, protects your location and privacy from hackers and criminals. When used for bad, encryption can prevent the police and government from spotting illegal online activities, such as child pornography, prostitution, drug sales and more.
How to Access the Dark Web
Accessing the dark web is actually a lot easier than you may think. All you require is the use of a special browser, the most common being a browser called Tor to hide your identity. The Tor browser routes your web page requests through a series of proxy servers operated by thousands of volunteers around the globe. After passing through all of these servers your IP address becomes unidentifiable and untraceable. The Tor looks and functions just like any other browser using an address bar and URL addresses to view each page. There is no dominant search engine like Google so you will have to either know what address you are after or how you can search for the site you are after. There are some search engines available to use but can be difficult to find and use.
Dangers associated with using the Dark Web
Here is a list of reason why you should use caution when using the dark web.
- Viruses. Some websites could infect your devices with viruses, and there are a lot of different types of viruses to watch out for. Remember to never download anything from websites you don’t trust.
- Hackers. You can find hacker forums and you can hire computer hackers to do illegal activities. Not surprisingly, a lot of these people would be willing to hack your devices.
- Webcam hijacking. A website on the dark web may try to get a remote administration tool onto your device. This can lead to someone hijacking your webcam allowing them to see what you’re up to through your device’s camera lens. It’s a smart practice to cover your webcam with a piece of paper or tape if you’re not using it.
- Purchasing illegal goods or services. If you buy illegal drugs or hire a hitman, you can be arrested for committing an illegal act. But browsing a website that offers those two things would not be illegal.
- Government Surveillance – visitors to politically oriented sites should be concerned about attracting the attention of government authorities and becoming the subject of unwanted official surveillance.
The dark web is full of dangers, which makes it extremely important that you take the correct precautions to keep your identity safe and be very careful with dealing with other people and the sites that you’re perusing. Though it’s not illegal to visit the dark web, you should be aware that the government has taken an interest in those who do.