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What Exactly is the Dark Web and Why do People Use It?

You might have heard of the dark web in various movies, where people use it to do criminal activities. But what it is exactly? It is a part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and used to keep the internet activity private and anonymous.

The dark web is mostly linked with illegal activities like counterfeit money, buy credit card numbers, steal subscription credentials, hack accounts, and break into government organization websites. However, the dark web is not all about illegal activities, it has a legitimate side too. 

Before moving on to how to access the dark web, let us know about the various web spheres. 

Open Web

It is the internet that all of us use daily. The websites here are made available to the public and are indexed by search engines. We access them using major search engines. 

Deep Web

It is a part of the internet not available to the general public and not indexed by search engines. The deep web has databases that you can access using standard search engines. The entities that use the deep web are banks, hotels, and medical facilities.

Dark Web

You can’t access the dark web through regular search engines. You can access the dark web using a dedicated software called Tor. It uses a complex system to make your IP addresses anonymous making it difficult for search engines to index the websites you visit. 

To access the dark web, you need to install Tor or The Onion Router browser on your device. It is free to download and functions like your regular browser but has layers of encryption that guard your anonymity.

Why People Use Dark Web?

There are many reasons why people use the dark web. 

The first reason people use the dark web is that it offers anonymization. People have reasons to protect their online identity like reducing the risk to be a victim of cybercrime, concerned about online banking security, fed up with their regular browser storing data and targeting ads, and exercise the right to speech where the government does not allow. 

The second reason is to access services and pages not accessible through standard browsers. These are known as hidden services used for legitimate purposes like share information about crime without the risk of tracking, access VIP services of hotels, etc. 

Lastly, the dark web is used for illegal activities such as peddling drugs, selling weapons, transferring money to foreign banks, and illicit human trafficking. 

Just like other web spheres using the dark web is dangerous too. For example, when checking your email and bank statements, the information can be captured and sold to fraudsters. When you access the deep web through public Wi-Fi, your passwords can be cracked.

However, there are few ways to protect yourself when accessing the dark web. Here we have outlined some of them.  

Five ways to protect yourself when using the dark web

Use VPN with Tor Browser

When accessing the dark web using the Tor browser, your online activity may be tracked. It can even leak your IP address. You can maximize your online privacy by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a network that protects your data while keeping all your information secret. 

Ensure you use a VPN to protect your IP address and prevent your ISP from knowing what sites you are browsing while being on the dark web.

Keep an Eye On Malware

Like other web spheres, the dark web also has malicious software that can attack your device and threaten your online privacy. A superb way to make sure your safe online when browsing different sites is to install malware program and antivirus software.

Also, make sure to renew the programs as cybercriminals rely on your forgetfulness. Ignoring your malware and antivirus will allow the hackers to take advantage of this. Once they are on your computer system on the dark web, all your services and apps are at risk.

Use A Dedicated Browser

To access dark web and websites with .onion addresses, you need to have a compatible browser. Using a dedicated browser like Tor is the most popular. However, some people configure their browsers, but we do not know whether they are safe to use or not. 

The best way to be safe when accessing the dark web with the Tor browser is to avoid random searches and giving our personal info even if the website requires it. If you notice suspicious links, do not click on them. These actions will make sure that you are safe on the dark web. 

Stay Anonymous

Although Tor browser and the VPN encrypt your activity on the dark web, it does not mean you provide your info when asked for. Always keep your information private. 

Also, you can take appropriate precautions before and after you open the Tor browser to minimize the risk. Before you access the dark web, close all your non-essential apps, including the password manager. Along with this, cover your webcam as hackers can access it without you noticing and turn the location off. 

Know the Governing Laws

Accessing the dark web is not illegal in most countries. However, different jurisdictions have different laws for dark web activity, and you should be familiar with those laws. Knowing the laws will permit you to avoid illegal activities.

Conclusion

These were the five ways to protect yourself when using the dark web. 

The dark web is a great resource and provides answers to our various issues and queries. However, it has its disadvantages as well that you can overcome easily by using the tips above. Having the right knowledge and using the tools will help you browse the dark web safely without tampering with your privacy and keep you safe from hackers.  

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