You may have heard about the dark web before and wondered what it’s all about. Many people are curious about the dark web and what it entails. However, most are also cautious about it at the same time, being wary of the dangers that might be lurking underneath the surface of this mysterious side of the internet.
But, the dark web is nothing to be afraid of. t’s just as dangerous as the surface web can be at times. Exploring the dark web won’t necessarily put you at risk, but there are some important things you need to understand about it before you dive into it.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about the dark web before you venture into the unknown. As long as you take the right precautions, the dark web is nothing to be worried about, and it’s completely fine to explore it. Keep reading for your crash course on the dark side of the internet.
What is the Dark Web?
The dark web is a part of the internet that is somewhat hidden from the public eye. It’s somewhat hidden because you need a special browser to access the dark web, but anyone can download the browser to gain access to this hidden section of the internet.
The browser in question is the Tor browser (the Onion Project), and it has an interesting backstory to it. This special program was developed in the late 1990s by the United States Naval Research Laboratory. The browser would allow their spies to communicate with one another securely and privately without their messages being intercepted by unauthorized individuals.
After some years the program was repurposed to become the anonymous browser that it is today. Nowadays the tor browser can be used to access a collection of “hidden” websites known as the dark web while browsing anonymously. The browser can be downloaded and used by anyone without any fees attached — much like Google Chrome or Firefox.
The Tor browser accesses the dark web through a random path of encrypted servers referred to as “nodes”. Much like a VPN, this allows Tor users to browse the dark web without their actions being traced. Added privacy and security come from the websites on the dark web too. Websites use anonymous software known as I2P (Invisible Internet Project) which allows their owners and hosting servers to remain hidden and untraceable.
There are three main benefits to using the dark web as opposed to the ‘surface’ web;
- Untraceable websites and services
- Opportunity illegal actions for both users and providers
Is the Dark Web Truly Dangerous?
There’s a misconception that the dark web is a dangerous place — like a black market on the internet. The dark web has been painted as a hive of cybercriminals who take advantage of being secure and anonymous online. While this is partially true, there are some perfectly safe areas of the dark web. In fact, many people use the dark web without malicious intent!
The dark web simply attracts people who need to remain anonymous on the internet. While this does include various types of criminals, many other people will also use the dark web to their advantage.
It’s not illegal to use the Tor browser or browse the dark web. Anyone who needs to work with sensitive information online can use the dark web to ensure that their information is safe and secure. This can include government agencies, legal parties, censored journalists, and even persecution victims.
That being said, the dark web can be a dangerous place — it all depends on the content that the user is engaging with. The websites that the user accesses and their actions on the dark web can lead to the coming across the more dangerous elements. In this way, the “dangers” of the dark web are very similar to that of the surface web.
While you’re browsing the dark web, there is always the risk of running into something dangerous. Below are some of the main threats that you could encounter while surfing the dark web on your Tor browser:
- Malicious software – just like the surface web, you can run into various types of malware while you’re browsing the dark web. From viruses to spyware and ransomware, you need to be prepared to deal with the malware that your device could pick up.
- Government monitoring – while the Tor browser is anonymous and your activity can’t be tracked there is one important factor to keep in mind. Authorities and government agencies have taken over some websites. They use these websites to monitor which devices access the website. You could paint a target on your back simply by visiting one of these dark websites. This is mostly relevant to websites that contain illegal elements.
- Scams – scams are a dangerous part of the dark web that you need to be aware of, much like you would find on the surface web. However, the danger that you face on the dark web is that it’s impossible to track down a scammer, making these scams even more devastating.
How to Stay Safe on the Dark Web
So, now we know that the dark web can be dangerous, but just like the surface web, it’s not always dangerous. There isn’t much-added risk to browsing the dark web compared to the surface web — it all depends on the content and the websites that you engage with. However, it’s never a bad idea to consider some safety precautions. IF you’re going to be browsing the dark web, make sure to invest in premium cybersecurity tools that will ensure your privacy and safety are maximized.
The main tool you need to invest in is premium antivirus software. Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for any viruses or malware. If any malicious software has been detected, the antivirus software can take action to remove it from your device before it causes any further damage.
You may also consider investing in a premium VPN to ensure that your location and internet traffic cannot be traced. While browsing the dark web, it’s always a good idea to have an extra layer of safety, even if the Tor browser offers anonymous browsing as it is.