While there are Google-like equivalents trying to categorize the dark web, results are spotty. There are some supposed ‘dark web’ search engines like Torch or Haystak is said to have indexed more .onion sites than any other search engine. While it is not flawless in protecting user privacy, it works well enough to give users much more privacy in where they go, the content accessed, and protecting their identity and location. The multiple relays help keep some distance and anonymity between the person visiting the website, the website itself, and any entity trying to eavesdrop on the communication between the two. The Hidden Wiki and its mirrors and forks hold some of the largest directories of content at any given time. Traditional media and news channels such as ABC News have also featured articles examining the darknet.
Your username, email address, “real name,” password, and even your credit card should never be used anywhere else in your life. Create brand-new throwaway accounts and identifiers for yourself if necessary. Acquire prepaid, unidentifiable debit cards before making any purchases. Do not use anything that could be used to identify you — whether online or in real life. Illegal drug marketplaces like the Silk Road have been hijacked for police surveillance in the past.
How To Accsess The Dark Web
It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as Android mobile devices. To your surprise, you don’t need any special tools or a darknet browser to access the deep web; you just need to know where to look. Specialized search engines, directories, paste sites, and wikis can help users locate the data they’re looking for. The dark web is a term used to describe websites that aren’t indexed by standard search engines. The dark web is made up of private networks that let you browse and engage anonymously online. Accessing dark web websites requires specific software or special network configurations.
- My top pick is ExpressVPN because all of its servers allow dark web traffic, it provides world-class security features, and it has fast browsing speeds.
- The difference between the dark web and the deep web is that the deep web refers to websites and web pages that aren’t indexed by search engines, like login pages and payment portals.
- To be sure your activity on the dark web is protected, I recommend only using a premium, reputable service.
- Any indexed page you can access through a simple Google search is included.
- In fact, this hidden web is so large that it’s impossible to discover exactly how many pages or websites are active at any one time.
That’s why for private and more secure browsing, the best option is to use Tor combined with a VPN. You have definitely heard there is a deep side to the internet where not everyone can access it. That is considered by many as hazardous and even illegal.
Legit Darknet Vendors
The main distinction is more about the entry and exit points you use to get into the Tor network. If you plan on visiting .onion sites, you still need a Tor exit point and not a VPN at the other end of your connection, for example. In fact, much of it may be illegal under your jurisdiction. As such, you should exercise caution when accessing any unofficial dark websites. Alternatively, users can connect in opennet mode, which automatically assigns peers on the network. Unlike darknet mode, opennet uses a handful of centralized servers in addition to the decentralized peer-to-peer network.
The exit node decrypts your traffic and thus can steal your personal information or inject malicious code. Additionally, Tor exit nodes are often blocked by websites that don’t trust them, and Tor over VPN can’t do anything about that, either. A VPN allows a user to encrypt all the internet traffic traveling to and from his or her device and route it through a server in a location of that user’s choosing. A VPN in combination with Tor further adds to the security and anonymity of the user. A handful of dark net search engines that do index .onion sites include NotEvil, Ahmia, Candle, and Torch.
The Hidden Wallet
However, while this process is almost instantaneous (at least from the client perspective), it does leave you open for tracking via IPs and cache-storing websites. Unlike websites on the surface web, which end with a .com, .net, .org, or another TLD like that, sites on the dark web end in .onion. The dark web can also be used by someone who wants to be anonymous and hidden for completely legitimate reasons.
Social networking is the use of internet-based social media platforms to make connections and share various media with friends, family, colleagues, or customers. Your personal information, such as banking, social media, and email accounts, along with your Social Security number, may be up for sale on the dark web. If you want to see if any of your information is floating around the dark web, try running a scan of the dark web. Alternatively, you can sign up for a dark web monitoring service. These tools warn you whenever they find any of your information.
Security is important no matter the web you use
The dark web comprises only 3% of the traffic in the Tor network. In other words, most people visiting the Dark Web are going there for a specific reason. Before taking the plunge, it’s important you ask yourself why you’d want to take the risk in the first place. You can also find dissident or banned literature, troves of archived media and censorship-free discussion boards that are truly anonymous and encrypted. Christine is a travelling copywriter with a mission to encourage secure connections, worldwide.