Behind the Curtain: Exploring What is the Dark Web

8 min read
Jun 13, 2022 8:35:34 AM

The dark web is much more than a place to purchase illegal products and services. It holds potential health and security risks to anyone accessing it. 

Most people are familiar with the surface web when they browse the internet using their favorite browsers like Chrome and Firefox. There is a dark web where all sorts of criminal activities occur without a trace.


The dark web is a part of cyberspace that isn’t conventionally accessible. It takes different kinds of software and computer knowledge to access the content present on the dark web.


We explore what the dark web is, how it works, and the implications of entering this often dangerous digital realm.


Let’s begin.

what is the dark web

An Overview of the Dark Web.


The dark web is an unregulated and often anonymous realm of the internet. It masks user identities and allows users to conduct activities in relative privacy. It requires specialized software or other tools to access and navigate, making it difficult for untrained users to locate its content. 


While many use the dark web to engage in illegal activities, those with knowledge can also use it for positive purposes such as advocating for human rights or contacting whistleblowers.


What is the Dark Web?


The Web can be divided into three layers: the Light Web, Deep Web and Dark Web. The Light Web is made up of websites that have been indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing. These sites can be accessed with regular web browsers.


This is called the Deep Web because it requires authentication to view, and search engines cannot index its content. Deep Web content includes online bank accounts, travel itineraries, and web forums that require registration.


The Dark Web is at the bottom of the web, created from The Onion Router network by the U.S. military. The Dark Web websites are not listed by major search engines and cannot be accessed using standard web browsers.


Also, whatever activities take place can’t be traced, and the encryption protects everyone that uses it. The dark web provides a safe place where activities can be carried out without a trace. 


At least, that was the initial idea, as it is a powerful tool for the military, especially the US Navy. But now, it is mainly used by criminals, drug cartels, and almost everyone who wants to engage in criminal activities and not get caught. 


dark web vs. deep web

Keeping Yourself Secure in the Dark Web.


When navigating the dark web, it’s important to take steps to keep yourself secure and maintain anonymity. Invest in a secure and anonymous VPN service that encrypts all your traffic. 


Additionally, you should use an anonymous browser like Tor or I2P to protect your identity from being tracked. Finally, be sure to only access reputable websites and don’t download anything that is untrustworthy or malicious.


Exploring Different Markets and Communities on the Dark Web. 


One of the most interesting aspects of the dark web is the different markets, forums, and communities you can find. With anonymous Bitcoin and a wealth of hidden websites, scammers have been known to take advantage and conduct illicit activities like drug trafficking and weapons sales. 


Of course, there can also be legal marketplaces too, such as content and digital information that are not easily accessed through traditional search engines. It’s important to research generally before exploring more deeply into these areas.


The Risk and Potential Benefits of the Dark Web. 


As with any anonymous sire, there are risks associated with the dark web. One of the most pressing concerns is cybercrime, which affects not just dark web users but everyday Internet users as well. Malicious actors could use the dark web to spread malware, launder money, and even target potential victims. However, there can still be positive uses for exploring these hidden spaces. 


For example, journalists can gain more in-depth information on scandals and government issues than they could find searching through Google alone. 


Additionally, some dark web marketplaces offer legitimate goods that would be otherwise difficult to buy due to regulation or censorship.


Analyzing and Understanding Content on the Dark Web.


As a dark web surfer, it’s important to analyze and understand the content you are visiting. Many criminal activities happen on the dark web and as such, you need to be aware of potential scams or security risks. 


Additionally, some marketplaces require sign-up protocols or fees which can make offering a payment difficult. 


To protect your finances and identity online, you should research what vendors accept which currencies in advance and steer clear of any suspicious offers.


Dark Web vs. Deep Web 


The Deep Web is the part of the Internet that is hidden from search engines. This is a subset of the deep web. This section requires special software, encryption, and passwords to access. Tor Project or another similar browser is required to access this page.


There are horrifying experiences and stories about the dark web that will shake you to the core. And people who have accessed the dark web claim that you can buy all types of drugs, stolen subscription credentials, prepaid debit cards, usernames and passwords, and lots more.


Cybercrime as a service is a thing, and the dark web provides a haven for criminals to offer their services or trade without detection. Research shows that 90% of posts in forums on the dark web are from people who want to hire someone for hacking services. 


How Can You Access The Dark Web?


Accessing the dark web requires downloading a browser that allows you to search without exposing your IP or compromising your location. Tor is one of the most popular browsers people use to access the web. However, the browser has been the target of US law enforcement, who are working hard to get rid of it. The Tor browser is safe for use and is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.


If you don’t like Tor, there are other browsers you can use.


Dark web browsers: 


  • Subgraph OS
  • Freenet
  • I2P - Invisible Internet Project
  • Firefox (Just route your browser through the Tor network.)
  • Waterfox
  • Tails
  • Opera
  • Whonix


For security reasons, avoid downloading these browsers from third-party sites as there are reports of users experiencing malware attacks that compromise their systems. 

Dark Web hackers

Is the Dark Web Illegal? 


Is it illegal to install and use browsers for the dark web? No, it’s not. But you must understand that most people who use it do so for criminal purposes.


It is legal to access the dark internet. Some uses of the dark web are legal, and users have the opportunity to enjoy three distinct benefits: anonymity, security, and transparency. Sites and services are virtually impossible to trace.


It is not illegal to use Tor or visit the Dark Web. It is illegal to anonymously carry out illegal acts, such as accessing child abuse photos, promoting terror, visiting a red room, or selling illegal goods such as weapons. This is a section of the internet you won't be able to find using traditional search engines like Google. It is difficult to find the dark web because it is so hidden.


Can you be tracked on the dark web?


The dark web's most attractive feature is its ability to hide users. Tracking users on the dark internet requires sophisticated technologies that are reserved for terrorists and violent criminals. It is quite difficult to find the average user.


Tracking scripts can also be found on dark web pages. About 27% of pages discovered by dark web researchers had scripts attached, mostly from the light web. If the scripts on the dark web page match those found on the light web, it is possible to track user activity.


Because Tor browsers act as a link between dark and surface websites, this is a problem. There is a chance that your activities on the dark web could be tracked. Business information is also at risk from hackers trying to steal any available information.


Does anyone own the dark web?


The release of Freenet in 2000, the thesis project of University of Edinburgh student Ian Clarke who wanted to create a distributed decentralized information storage and retrieval system, is known as the beginning of the dark web. Clarke wanted to create an anonymous way to communicate online and share files. This foundation was the basis of the Tor Project, which was launched in 2002 as a browser. Users could browse the internet anonymously, and even explore sites that were considered part of the "Dark Web" with Tor.


Roger Dingledine was one of three Tor Project founders who stated that Facebook is the largest hidden service. Only 3% of traffic to the Tor network comes from the dark web.


Is There a Safe Way to Access the Dark Web?


The Tor Browser is the easiest way to connect to Tor. It is free to download and install. It is possible to hide Tor Browser downloads using a VPN or your existing browser's private/incognito modes. Tor Browser, based on Firefox, allows you to surf dark and clear webs.


What Information Can You Find On The Dark Web?


Despite the negative reputation of the dark web, people use it for positive things. Most people are worried about their privacy online, or government tracking uses the dark web because of the anonymity features.


Oppressive regimes kill hundreds or thousands of people and journalists and activists who expose them put themselves in danger while standing up for human rights. The dark web provides journalists a space to connect, find information, and communicate without getting caught. They can access and read blocked content and communicate without leaving any traces. Persecuted religious groups, dissidents, and those under attack for expressing their sexual orientation can live and communicate freely on the dark web.


During the Arab spring, the dark web encouraged journalists to spread news, making it an essential tool if you want to join a revolution to fight oppression. Whistleblowers are encouraged to release classified information without any fear of retaliation.


The dark web can also be helpful for businesses and organizations that are exposed to hacking and want regular threat monitoring and individual vulnerability assessment.


What happens if your information gets on the dark web?


Criminals may use this information to impersonate or create a fake identity with your Social Security number. They can even create a driver's license or medical insurance card with your information. This is useful if you are arrested or need to have a procedure done. 


Once your information is on the Dark Web, there is not much you can do to prevent it from spreading. However, you can take a proactive approach to online privacy that will prevent your information from ending up on the dark web. 


How to prevent your information from being on the dark web



Take immediate action if you discover your personal information is on the dark web to change your passwords, report fraudulent credit card charges, and secure your accounts. If your personal information is on the dark web, you should put a freeze on your credit immediately. This will prevent any further damage that could be implemented. 


Start protecting your internet privacy and managing your online reputation. It's easy and free to sign up. We give you a front-row seat during your campaign and are the most transparent reputation company on the web. Contact NewReputation today to put a plan in place.

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