According to researchers, that is the part of the internet that you can access with your normal browser makes up about 4% of the entire internet. This part is usually called the surface or the clear web and the rest is known as the deep web (> 90% of the web).
However, the dark web is called more than the deep web, and as the name suggests, it is located in a hidden zone of the web. It looks like the clear web in the sense that it contains websites, although these websites used different indexing and are not accessible through regular browsers – unless you do a lot of tweaking.
Accessing this part of the Internet poses many security threats, such as data theft, scams, malware, etc.; therefore everyone needs a high level of privacy, anonymity and security before connecting to the network. In this guide we show you how to securely access the dark web.
Deep Web versus Dark Web
Before diving deeper, it is important to understand these two, as they are often used confused and mis-interchangeable.
The deep web is the part of the internet which is not accessible by simply searching on Google or other search engines. In other words, it is the hidden web. This includes content that is kept behind a payment wall or that users must log in with their credentials. Such content includes medical records, court records, membership pages, and even your emails.
The dark web, on the other hand, is part of the deep web created for the purpose of providing anonymity and accessible only through a dedicated browser. This infamous part of the web contains websites just like the surface web, although these websites usually have a different naming system there that ends with a .onion suffix for the Tor network.
The Dark Web
What can be found on the Dark Web?
You cannot really describe what can be found on the dark web, although you can say ‘everything’. This is because, just like on the regular internet, the dark web still has legitimate sites in domains like news, social media, entertainment, etc. For example Facebook and even The New York Post have a mirror site on the dark web.
However, as we all know, the dark web is notoriously known for all kinds of villains and illegal things; illegal drugs, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit cards, malware codes, hacking tools, etc. There are also rooms and websites with scary and gruesome videos; so you should always have safe access to the dark web. And while there are legitimate marketplaces people buy from, it’s important to note that the dark web is notorious for scams, which means you shouldn’t trust easily.
However, some of the stories you hear about the dark web are usually exaggerated; most are also scams. You certainly won’t hire an assassin or even find the infamous red rooms; they are there, but they are not real.
Beyond that, The Dark web is also a useful channel for secret communications by journalists, whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and intelligence agencies. SecureDrop is the leading platform for sharing sensitive information on the dark web; it is used by ProPublica and other research authorities.
Is the Dark Web illegal?
We don’t want to give you the idea that the dark web is illegal.
The dark web is completely legal, and the same goes for the Tor network. However, there are both legal and illegal activities that go on there, and what you’re dealing with is what matters. Surfing illegal marketplaces doesn’t really get you into trouble, although buying illegal things and accessing child pornography is prohibited by law.
Some countries with restrictive laws, such as China, are also blocking access to The Dark Web
Why you need a VPN for the Dark Web
Unlike the clear web, the dark web consists of decentralized servers connected via peer-to-peer technology. These servers are usually not owned by companies, but by volunteers around the world.
Every request you make is encrypted and then passed 3 different nodes. The first node knows the source but not the destination or the message, the second node knows the destination but not the source or the message, and the third node knows the message but not the source. The problem is there the first node can see where you arebased on your IP address. Your ISP can also see that you are connected to Tor. And while the latter may not have many implications, some countries like the US are very invasive and even use some of the Tor nodes. This means they can make connections use different techniques; therefore, the FBI arrests for irregular activities on the dark web.
To increase Tor’s anonymity, you have to hide your privacy with a VPN that does not keep any logs.
CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs in this.
Tor over VPN vs VPN over Tor
This may sound a little technical, but it is actually very simple. The two involve using tor when connected to a VPN to securely access the dark web.
Tor over VPN
Tor over VPN is the most secure and popular way to connect to Tor as it ensures that you are already encrypted privately before entering the network. To use Tor over VPN, make sure your VPN is connected to a server before starting the Tor browser. We recommend that you also activate the kill switch option for maximum privacy.
VPN via Tor
VPN over Tor, on the other hand, is just the opposite of Tor over VPN. An user first connects to the Tor network and then activates the VPN. This means that after the Tor relay, the traffic then goes to the VPN provider’s server.
This method is not often used because it is not very safe. Your ISP can still see that you are connected to Tor, and the Tor input node can see your IP address.
Safe access to the dark web
While Tor already offers anonymity, your privacy and security are not guaranteed. Using Tor alone can lead to malware exposure, information theft, IP blacklisting, and even legal fees, depending on your activities.
He explains step by step how to safely access the dark web:< /strong>
Step 1: Connect to a VPN
Before starting your Tor browser, you must first connect to a VPN (Tor over VPN). This increases your security and privacy by Make sure that your traffic is already encrypted and that you are not using your IP address to enter the network.
This means that even the first node of the Tor network doesn’t know who you are or where you’re from.
However, you should also make sure to use a secure and private VPN, which:
- Does not keep connection or usage logs
- Uses AES 256-bit encryption
- Has a huge server network
Aside from that, the VPN must have high speeds because Tor can slow down your connection tremendously.
The VPN that best meets the above criteria is CyberGhost. This VPN does not keep logs of your traffic; also has one huge server network that is well spread all over the world, and this allows high speeds because of the smaller connection distance.
As for security, CyberGhost uses the industry standard encryption, and it improves it through other important security features such as a kill switch and an IPv6 and DNS leak protection among many others. All this is delivered at the price / quality rate of:
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Step 2: Install a suitable browser
There are several ways to access the dark web. You can use browsers such as Tor, I2P, Matrix, Orbot, FreeNet, and many others. You can even configure a regular browser to access the dark web, for example by using NordVPN’s Onion over VPN servers.
All of the above methods, however offer different levels of anonymity, privacy, security and functionality. Some browsers can be tracked and others anonymous like I2P greatly restrict what you can access (they don’t have access to Tor or the surface web).
- Starting, first connect your CyberGhost app for privacy
- Then make sure you download the Tor browser from the official website (torproject.org).
- After installation, launch it and connect to the Tor network. You now get what is referred to as Tor over VPN connection. You will be able use the surface web privately and anonymously, like access to the hidden dark web services.
Step 3: Browse safely
In addition to ensuring that you have a secure connection, you should also use privacy best practices and also navigate safely on this tricky part of the internet.
If you decide to create encrypted emails, join chat rooms, make a purchase, etc., always make sure not to provide your personal information.
Apart from that you have to use trusted links; the dark web has no shortage of scams and malicious people. Since the Tor network is highly decentralized, you cannot easily search for websites or content like you can on Google. Furthermore, some of the websites you come across cannot be trusted, so you have to be very careful. To get started, visit the HiddenWiki (wikitjerrta4qgz4.onion) to get links to some of the popular darknet websites.
Need more security?
If you want to do more than just surf the dark web or make sure you are completely anonymous and secure, there are several techniques you can use:
- Make sure to register for your VPN when connected to Tor. Use pseudo names and pay with anonymous bitcoin. CyberGhost supports bitcoin payments.
- Use TAILS, a unique Debian-based version of Linux that can be booted live. It leaves no trace of any user activity – nor the operating system itself – on your computer. It is free and can boot from a USB stick or DVD.
While it is not illegal, if you plan to explore / use The Dark Web, keep in mind that you are entering a zone and you will usually stumble with strange things and illegal activities.
Nevertheless, there is much to discover on the dark web. We hope this article about accessing the dark web can help you explore the invisible part of this iceberg.