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How To Surf the Dark Web Safely

Updated on September 13, 2018

The Importance of Anonymity On the Dark Web

The first thing one should understand about the dark web is that it is entirely different than the deep web. While the Surface Web is considered "everything that can be found by search engines," the deep web is "everything that cannot be found by normal search engines."

An example put forward by brightplanet.com is as follows.

Remember how we had you open up a web page and crawl links? Now I want you to stop and open up a different web page, let’s use the travel site Hotwire this time. I have a challenge for you – I want you to attempt to find the price of a hotel in Sioux Falls, S.D. (BrightPlanet’s headquarters) from April 10 to 12 (Sioux Falls is still cold in April).

But wait, there’s a catch, you can only interact with the site like a standard search engine would – meaning, you can only click links to get there.

There’s a nice search box that Hotwire allows users to fill out, but you can’t use it. Search engines don’t use search boxes, they just use links. You’ll quickly find that you can’t find the search results you are looking for without a search box. The results of a Hotwire search are perfect examples of Deep Web content.

Other examples of Deep Web content can be found almost anytime you navigate away from Google and do a search directly in a website – government databases and libraries contain huge amounts of Deep Web data. Here are a few other examples:

1) North Dakota Court Record Search

2) Florida Medical License Database

Google search can’t find the pages behind these website search boxes. Most of the content located in the Deep Web exists in these websites that require a search and is not illicit and scary as the media portrays. However, if you go a little deeper on the Internet you’ll find the Dark Web.

I could not have worded it any better than the guys and gals at brightplanet.com. But the only thing I disagree with is that the Dark Web provides nothing but illegal and scary material.

Though it is true that a whole lot of lousy stuff exists on the Deep Web, it offers a lot of helpful things as well. To put this in perspective, it is essential to know who created the Tor Network and why they created it.

One Tutorial Teaching Users How to Use Dark-net Markets

Remember how we had you open up a web page and crawl links? Now I want you to stop and open up a different web page, let’s use the travel site Hotwire this time. I have a challenge for you – I want you to attempt to find the price of a hotel in Sioux Falls, S.D. (BrightPlanet’s headquarters) from April 10 to 12 (Sioux Falls is still cold in April).

But wait, there’s a catch, you can only interact with the site like a standard search engine would – meaning, you can only click links to get there.

The Tor Network and the Birth of the Dark Web

The Dark Web is a part of the Internet that is hidden from the public eye on purpose, save those who know how to navigate it. Even though drug dealing, deplorable pornography, hitmen for hire, and everything else falling in those categories can be sold and bought on the Dark Web, Tor (the software that allows people to access the Dark Web) was created for benevolent purposes.

In the mid-1990s, the United States Naval Research Laboratory, mathematician Paul Syverson, along with computer scientists David Goldschlag and Michael G. Reed developed the core principles of "onion routing" or Tor.

The ultimate purpose of onion routing was to protect U.S. intelligence communications online. In 1997, onion routing was further developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The alpha version of Tor was launched on 20 September 2002. Called the Onion Routing Project, it was developed by Syverson and computer scientists Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson. In 2013, the first public release of Tor occurred. Since then there have been numerous other releases and updates.

The most astonishing subset of the Deep Web is a collection of dark alleys called the Dark Web. The Dark Web is generally thought of as a collection of criminal elements intent on subverting the law, stealing our money, and possibly kidnapping our daughters.

— John McAfee

Downloading, Setting Up, and Using Tor Browser

  • Download Tor Browser from the original Tor Browser site. It is essentially a modified version of Firefox. But the primary search engine is DuckDuckGo. More will be discussed about that later.
  • Check the installation file's GPG signature to be sure you have downloaded the correct version and not one that has been tampered with by hackers. You can visit the official Tor site here to read how to check GPG signatures. This is also a good thing to know for all other files or applications you wish to download in the future.
  • After verifying you have downloaded the official version, go ahead with the installation process.

  • Once you have installed Tor Browser, look for a folder labeled "Tor Browser."
  • Click on "Start Tor Browser.exe."
  • You will now see two options: 1) Connect directly to the Tor Network or 2) configure proxy settings first.
  • Most people choose to connect directly to the Tor Network. If this is what you would like to do, then go ahead and click the "connect" button.
  • Now go to whatismyip.com and check if your IP address has changed from yours to a location that is not your own. If you see a different IP address than your own, you are now able to surf the entire internet in relative anonymity. Nevertheless, this is not anonymous enough for specific activities these days, so there are additional things we will go over later on.

The darknet is an area often misunderstood by the government and by the public at large. Headlines tend to be lurid “Unravelling the Dark Web: Forget South American cartels and Russian arms dealers: the black market has moved online” or “The disturbing world of the Deep Web, where contract killers and drug dealers ply their trade on the internet.” In truth, the reality of the darknet is rather more prosaic.

— Andrew Murray

How to Setup a Socks5 Server

Duckduckgo Is Not a Dark Web Search Engine

DuckDuckGo comes standard with Tor Browser. In "Options" under "Search," you will find "One-click search engines." This is where you can find other available "search engines." They include Google, Yahoo, Disconnect, YouTube, Wikipedia, and others. Nevertheless, none of them can access hidden links.

To find hidden links without using a particular browser, you can visit a "hidden wiki" site. These sites share hidden Tor links that you can copy and paste into the Tor Browser. But these lists are by far not all there is to find on the Dark Web.

To browse the Dark Web the same way you would the Clearnet, you must use a unique search engine like Multivac. Multivac is accessible via the Clearnet as well, but the search results will all be onion sites, which can only be accessed using the Tor Browser.

And there you have it. Now you have beginners knowledge on how to access the Deep Web safely. Please leave a comment below if you have some added expertise or have personal experience with the Dark Web.

© 2018 Deedan

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