What Is The Dark Web? How To Access It And What You’ll Find

What Is The Dark Web? How To Access It And What You’ll Find

The dark web, initially introduced by Freenet, is a decentralized network that enables encrypted data exchange, providing anonymity. The Tor browser later enhanced security. Despite its reputation for shady activities, the dark web is also used positively by journalists and whistleblowers. This article delves into its secrets, access methods, and legality.

What Is The Dark Web?

The dark web, a part of the internet that isn’t indexed by search engines, is a hotbed of criminal activity. In 2015, researchers found that 57% of 2,723 live dark web sites host illicit material. 

A 2019 study by Dr. Michael McGuires at the University of Surrey revealed that the number of dark web listings that could harm an enterprise has risen by 20% since 2016. Of all listings, 60% could potentially harm enterprises. 

The dark web offers a wide range of illegal activities, including buying credit card numbers, drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts, and software for computer hacking. However, the dark web also has a legitimate side, such as joining chess clubs or BlackBook, a social network described as the “Facebook of Tor.” Another best thing about the good side of the dark web, you can create wonderful dark web links and even host them through Crypt Design. 

What Is The Difference Between The Dark Web And The Deep Web?

The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Deep web refers to anything on the internet that is not indexed by search engines and is accessible via a search engine like Google. It includes content behind paywalls, require sign-in credentials, and content that owners have blocked web crawlers from indexing. Examples of deep web content include medical records, fee-based content, membership websites, and confidential corporate web pages. The size of the deep web is estimated to be between 96% and 99% of the internet, while the dark web is intentionally hidden and requires a specific browser, Tor. It is estimated to be around 5% of the total internet.

Best Dark Web Websites

Dark web websites, similar to other websites, have unique naming structures and scrambled URLs. They end in .onion, a special-use top-level domain suffix that designates anonymous hidden services accessible via the Tor network. These tor onion websites are sometimes set up by scammers who constantly move around to avoid repercussions. Even long-established commerce sites can disappear if owners decide to cash in and flee with escrow money. Law enforcement officials are improving their ability to find and prosecute owners of sites selling illicit goods and services. In 2017, a team of cyber cops from three countries successfully shut down AlphaBay, the largest source of contraband on the dark web. However, many merchants migrated elsewhere. The anonymous nature of the Tor network makes it vulnerable to DDoS attacks, as sites constantly change addresses to avoid DDoS. This dynamic environment results in varying search quality and outdated material.

Some of the best dark web sites include:

  • DuckDuckGo
  • Ahmia
  • Dark Web Link (Dark Web News)
  • Onion Hub
  • Crypt Design
  • Sci-Hub
  • Protonmail
  • Archive.Today
  • SearX
  • Mail2Tor

Here are the 25 best dark web sites for 2024 you might not be aware of.

Dark Web E-Commerce

The dark web has grown significantly due to the growth of bitcoin, a crypto-currency that allows trusted transactions without knowing each other’s identities. However, the anonymity of dark web commerce sites attracts scammers and thieves. These sites have similar features to e-retail operations, including ratings, shopping carts, and forums, but have important differences in quality control. Ratings are easily manipulated, and sellers with long track records have been known to disappear with their customers’ crypto-coins. 

Most top onion sites’ providers offer escrow services, but disputes are often resolved by the buyer and seller. Every communication is encrypted, and even the simplest transaction requires a PGP key. Even completing a transaction is not a guarantee of the goods’ arrival, as many need to cross international borders and customs officials are cracking down on suspicious packages. Dark web news site Deep.Dot.Web reports stories of buyers arrested or jailed for attempted purchases.

How To Access The Dark Web Safely?

Tor network is the safest way to access the dark web, with Tor-over-VPN practice requiring VPN connection to avoid suspicion from ISPs and governments.

  • Connect to a secure and reliable VPN

A secured premium VPN is a reliable VPN that encrypts your internet connection, preventing ISPs and others from knowing you’re using Tor Browser.

  • Download and set up the Tor Browser

Tor Browser is a free browser that uses the encrypted Tor network, but downloads should be from the official Tor Project website to avoid malware.

  • Use Tor browser to access the dark web links

Tor Browser allows access to .onion domains in the dark web, but it’s crucial to confirm their authenticity before visiting due to the unregulated nature of the dark web.

  • Keep your identity safe!

Dark websites are not always dangerous, but scams exist. Use encrypted email addresses and cryptocurrency wallets for communication and purchases.

Is The Dark Web Illegal?

The dark web, which began as an anonymous communications channel, continues to serve a valuable purpose in environments hostile to free speech. It provides information on privacy protection and cryptocurrency, private and encrypted email services, instructions for installing an anonymous operating system, and advanced tips for privacy-conscious users. The dark web also offers links to hard-to-find books, political news, and a guide to steam tunnels under Virginia Tech campus. Intel Exchange allows anonymous discussions about current events, while whistleblower dark websites to visit like Wikileaks, Pirate Bay, and Facebook have a presence. 

More legitimate web companies are starting to have presences on the dark web, demonstrating their awareness and cutting-edge knowledge. Law enforcement agencies and mainstream media organizations also monitor the dark web for stolen data from recent security breaches and news. The dark web provides practical value for organizations, as it helps them stay informed about cyber threats and protect their privacy.

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