It’s 2023; everyone knows what the Internet is and what you can do with the help of the World Wide Web. But do you know that we are unaware of hundreds and thousands more websites on the Internet?
When we Google something or search for something online, we find all the “surface” websites. But beyond this lies a whole new world of unexplored web pages that some might say is not the safest to access without prior knowledge about what you might be getting yourself into.
Think of it like an iceberg- the tip is the surface website that you can easily see and access every time you go online to look for something on the Internet. But underneath, the iceberg is even bigger! So beyond the surface web is the DEEP WEB and rightly named because it’s hidden in the deep.
But what lies beyond the deep web? Yes, you got it right. The dark web.
So what is it? And is it safe to access? Can you access it at all?
Find out more as you continue reading this article.
What Is The Dark Web?
The dark web is an invisible part of the Internet to all search engines. That means, even if you search for something that you probably might find on the dark web, it will not be accessible or even visible to you if you search online via your regular search engines like Firefox or Google.
The only way to access the dark web is through a Tor browser. This is an anonymizing browser that keeps your information “anonymous”, so no one knows you entered the space, and you can’t track who posted the content as well.
Some people might use the terms DEEP WEB and DARK WEB interchangeably, but they are different. If you look what the content of both these entities, they are worlds apart.
Typically, the deep web contains information like data and records that are seemingly harmless to society. But the dark web, on the other hand, has always been under scrutiny from authorities because of its ties with criminal activities.
What’s On The Dark Web?
So what exactly is on the dark web? And why does it even exist? For starters, the dark web is very closely associated with DARK content. This means anything known and generally accepted as taboo, wrong, disturbing and sometimes illegal.
So how does it exist? The thing about the dark web is that you cannot access it through any random search engine. You can only access the dark web if you use a TOR browser, which operates on a level of anonymity that is of the highest degree.
This is why anyone who visits or who posts anything on the dark web can remain anonymous- meaning- no or low chances of accountability.
The Content You Might Find On The Dark Web:
The most popular use of the dark web is for stolen information. Whenever anything gets hacked, or there is a data breach, there’s always a high chance that the information will end up on the dark web for sale. This includes your bank information, social security number, credit card information, etc.
The dark web is a common platform for smugglers and peddlers of drugs. You can find almost any drug, prescription or illegal recreational drugs, including toxic chemicals, not for public ownership.
Dangerous, Illegal and Disturbing Services or Items
If you are diving deep into what the dark web holds, get ready to find out the goriest of secrets. Everything from human trafficking to hiring murderers, body parts for sale, and child pornography can be found on the dark web.
How Do They Remain Anonymous?
You might think that when you purchase on the dark web, you will probably leave a trail, or your information will be leaked. But that’s not the case.
Thanks to the invention and rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Al financial transactions can remain as anonymous as they need.
How to Enter the Dark Web?
Now that you have all this information about the dark web, it might have struck your mind that accessing this site might be difficult or at least challenging, to say the least, but we beg to differ.
In reality, accessing the dark web is much easier than you think. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Download a dark web browser (TOR)
Install the browser on your device
Type whatever you want to find
And voila! You’re on the dark web.
There is a drawback, however, since dark web browsers are not equipped with the same system as our regular web browsers, like Google, which has an index and a ranking system to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
So it might take longer to find what you need when you are on the dark web. While a few dark web search engines can help make things easier for you when you start your search on the dark web, it also includes illegal websites.
Hence, the best and safest way to access the dark web is through the TOR network to quench your curiosity but stay out of legal trouble.
What Do Dark Websites Look Like?
The websites on the dark web look very similar to all other kinds of websites. However, you will notice a few key differences between regular and dark websites. Here are some things to look out for:
Dark websites use scrambled types of website addresses that are difficult to remember. Their naming structure is such that it creates URLs for the website, which just looks like a bunch of unintelligible letters.
Dark websites all end in .onion instead of your usual .com or .net. This is because all dark websites operate on an anonymous network (ToR) and are accessible only to browsers with an appropriate proxy.
Is The Dark Web Dangerous?
Since there is no regulation within the dark web, things can get DARK quickly, which can be dangerous. Lingering on the dark web or getting too curious on the platform can land you in trouble through malware or scammers or even in legal trouble with the authorities.
While some legit dark websites might have reviews to help them gain credibility with customers, the liability outweighs the benefit. Because of the lack of regulation and the high degree of anonymity, there’s no saying which website is a scam and which is real.
You could be a loyal customer to a website, but the website owners can decide to just pack up and leave or set up shop under another name, and you’ll never know!
So it’s always better to be safe than sorry.