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How to surf the Dark Web? Do You Need to take any precautions?

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  • 5 min read

Although commonly linked with illegal dealings and secret markets, the Dark Web also provides a space for whistleblowers, activists, and people who want to stay anonymous. Exploring this hidden network demands caution and a clear understanding of the risks involved.

This article discusses what is Dark web, how to surf it, potential risks involved and precautions you should take while surfing the dark web.

Check out our video on how to surf the dark web.

Also read: What is Dark web? Difference between Deep web and Dark web

What is the Dark web?

The Dark Web is a section of the internet that isn’t searchable through regular search engines like Google or Bing. Instead, it functions on overlay networks that need special software like Tor (The Onion Router), I2P (Invisible Internet Project), or Freenet to get to. These networks make users anonymous by sending their internet traffic through a chain of encrypted nodes, which makes it hard to track what they’re doing online.

How to surf the Dark web?

To surf the dark web you must follow these steps:

Step 1: Use a VPN

Using a VPN will hide where you are and prevent online clues that could reveal your identity. When you’re connected to a VPN, your internet activity is encrypted, which means it’s much harder for others to snoop on what you’re doing or launch man-in-the-middle attacks. With most VPNs, you can pick the location you want it to look like you’re browsing from, and they’ll use various servers and relays to make it tough for anyone to trace your IP address.

Step 2: Download Tor

Head over to the Tor Project website to download the Tor Browser. This browser shields you from online tracking, lets you bypass website restrictions, and prevents trackers from creating a detailed profile of your online behaviour. The Tor Browser adds multiple layers of encryption to enhance your anonymity and comes with DuckDuckGo as its default search engine, which doesn’t store your search history.

The Tor network relies on a global network of volunteers who manage the proxy servers that safeguard your identity. You can get the Tor Browser for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Android platforms.

Step 3: Search for .onion address

To reach a dark website, you must have its exact web address. These sites typically use .onion domain names, which are often lengthy strings of random letters and numbers. Since standard search engines don’t index .onion addresses, you can’t find them through regular searches.

You can search for The Hidden Wiki which has the directory of .onion links for various sites. Various directories list .onion links and sites, but it’s crucial to be careful. Some directories may direct you to commercial sites selling illegal goods like drugs or counterfeit documents. Others feature non-commercial content, such as educational resources, discussion forums, and personal blogs.

Is Tor Browser safe? 8 safety tips for using Tor Browser

Keep in mind that in many countries, it’s not against the law to browse the Dark Web. But using it to do illegal things is definitely illegal. If you’re exploring Dark Web sites without proper protection, you could attract unwanted attention from authorities. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, you might still end up under investigation.

Potential risks involved

If you’re not sure of the precise location to find a lawful and trustworthy website, it’s essential to understand some potential risks. These include:

  • Exposure to illegal content: There’s a possibility of stumbling upon illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapons sales, or other illicit goods and services.
  • Malware and viruses: Dark websites may contain malware or viruses that could infect your device and compromise your personal data.
  • Scams and fraud: Some sites may be fraudulent, aiming to steal your money or personal information through phishing schemes or fake offers.
  • Law enforcement monitoring: Law enforcement agencies actively monitor the dark web for criminal activity. Engaging in illegal activities could lead to legal consequences.
  • Privacy concerns: Despite the anonymity provided by tools like Tor, there’s still a risk that your online activities could be traced back to you, especially if you inadvertently reveal personal information.
  • Financial loss: Transactions on the dark web often involve cryptocurrencies, which can be volatile and susceptible to scams. You could lose money in fraudulent transactions or investments.

Precautions to take while surfing the Dark web

Here are some tips for surfing the Dark web safely:

  • Protect your privacy: The Dark web is all about staying anonymous. Avoid using any personal information or logins that could be traced back to you.
  • Stay informed: The Dark web can be a sketchy place with illegal stuff like drugs and stolen goods for sale. Be careful about which websites you visit and steer clear of anything illegal.
  • Watch out for scams: Like any online space, there are plenty of scams on the Dark web. Be cautious when dealing with people you don’t know or making purchases.
  • Keep your details private: Don’t share any personal info like your real name, address, or bank details on the Dark web. Assume that anything you share could be used against you.
  • Consider using VPNs: While Tor helps hide your identity, using a VPN alongside it can give you even more privacy by hiding your IP address.
  • Know the Law: Remember that doing an illegal activity on the Dark web can get you into serious trouble. Make sure you understand the laws where you live and stick to them.

Also read: What are the 3 Main Benefits of a VPN?

Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here:

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