In today’s world of increased online activity, privacy and anonymity have become a hot topic. For those looking to avoid thy prying the digital eyes of major tech companies, many internet users have moved to the dark web – a digital “underground” network of servers where users can access information, commerce, and communication in a private and confidential manner.
Using a network known as Tor, dark web users anonymize their IP information across a series of proxy servers. This helps to keep their identity hidden while engaging in a variety of activities. Latest stats estimate that the dark web may be 500 times larger than the “surface web” – the internet that most average users use every day – with nearly 7,500 TB of data.
The dark web is also a chaotic and criminal-ridden space that malicious entities use to operate illegal activity. With the ability to build and destroy websites and run anonymized servers from anywhere in the world, the dark web has quickly become a popular haven for criminals – making it increasingly dangerous for those who don’t know how to protect themselves adequately.
Read on to learn more about the dark web and how this digital underground has started to gain traction in the world of cryptocurrency and online confidentiality.
Who Uses The Dark Web?
It may be tempting to think of the Dark Web as a mysterious place on the internet that only criminals and malicious entities operate. While the Dark Web does create a “safer space” for those wishing to keep their online activities hidden from prying eyes, the Dark Web can also be used by those without criminal intent to navigate with greater privacy.
What Do Criminals Use The Dark Web For?
The anonymous nature of the dark web has made it a haven for those wishing to run illegal online operations, as well as a safe space for hackers and phishing scams.
Criminals on the dark web will often try to take advantage of anonymous networks to hack into computer systems, scam online users and steal information or financial resources, as well as simply wreak havoc on the network. The increased anonymity of the system can also make it easy for those in commerce to take advantage of buyers.
Fortunately, the authorities are also learning how to navigate the dark web with greater success, helping countries and internet advocates catch criminals in the act as they engage in their activity. News sites such as Darknet Stats keep track of the latest criminal activity that has been detected on the dark web.
What Can I Use The Dark Web For?
The dark web was first and foremost created as a means to operate on the internet with increased privacy. While criminals and hackers may take advantage of this system to increase their success, there are plenty of reasons that users access the dark web for non-nefarious purposes.
In countries where access to information through the internet can be difficult, the dark web provides increased access through censorship. It also operates on cryptocurrency exchanges, which has made the dark web an increasingly popular online commerce location – if not a bit risky.
The dark web also has plenty of news, political information, access to documents and books, and much more. Like average internet users, the contents on the dark web are created and maintained by the users – a double-edged sword of great information and private access as well as dangerous behavior and risky online action.
How Do I Access The Dark Web?
While it may seem as though the Dark Web is easy to access, doing so does require a working knowledge of how the system operates. The dark web is often a chaotic and wild online space, with sites appearing and disappearing quickly and many containing viruses, ransomware, and phishing systems.
If you want to check out the dark web for yourself, user beware: the anonymous nature of the dark web makes it a perfect place for unsuspecting users to be taken advantage of. It is best only to attempt to use the dark web with a user experienced in navigating this online space.
To access the dark web, users must enter through a browser known as Tor. The Tor browser takes website requests and moves users through a series of proxy servers that will anonymize your IP address to maintain secrecy. The Tor browser proxy servers are run by volunteers worldwide and are constantly changing to evade identification.
The websites that you will reach on the dark web are just as secretive as the system itself. Most sites will look similar to other websites you may have visited but will often end in the domain “.onoin” rather than “.com” or “.net.” The .onion domain designates that the site is operating on and through a server on the Tor network that can only be accessed through the Tor network proxies.
Similarly, websites will often anonymize their URL to increase secrecy. For example, the dark web commerce site known as Dream Market can be found via the URL “eajwlvm3z2lcca76.onion.”
Is Using The Dark Web Illegal?
Accessing and using the dark web is not illegal, it is what is done through the dark web that can be criminal. As long as you aren’t engaging in illegal activity, the dark web can be a great place to access hard-to-find information as well as purchase products using cryptocurrency.
However, as you have read above, the dark web can be dangerous for those who aren’t skilled in how to navigate the sites and servers. It can be easy to fall victim to scammers and hackers – even for those who have been using the dark web regularly.
For that reason, it is advised that you only attempt to navigate the dark web with the aid of an expert who knows how to use the best parts of the dark web, while protecting themselves and their data.