The internet we usually use is only a fraction of the area we can access. With the emergence of the internet all around the world, more security solutions were introduced to make the website secure, as well as keeping the required information confidential from others. In the 1990’s, the US military introduced the concept of the Dark web, which is only accessible by using specific tools so that Google or other search engines do not index it. The need comes because of the sensitive nature of data the military has to share.
In 2000, the use of Darknet was available for everyone, and since then, everyone who wants to remain anonymous and not being tracked can use the Darkweb. Some of the search engines that are available for accessing Dark web are given below:
Access the Darknet via TOR Browser:
Now let’s talk about the Tor browser. So far, we know some of the search engines that can be used to access the dark web. But the question is that can we use any browser like Google Chrome or Firefox to use those search engines. The answer is NO. We need to use a specific browser that does not transfer any personal information from your system to the internet. Tor anonymizes the data by creating a series of routers called ‘onion routers.’ The data remains encrypted when it goes from one onion router to another router.
The figure above is a clear demonstration of the Tor network. All the routes are encrypted by the Onion router apart from the exit relay. Between these routes, no one can trace a person or see the actual data. The only possibility is that if a person can capture the traffic on the exit relay, but since the Tor network is anonymized so much, it cannot be predicted that which router is the exit relay.
Is Darkweb safe to use?
Since the dark web provides anonymity, it is widely used by cybercriminals, terrorists, military intelligence, hackers, and spammers. All the illegal activities, including trading of drugs, money laundering, weapons, etc. are done through the Darknet. Therefore, it is not safe for the children to use and access the Dark web since they might mistakenly access some unwanted things that can affect the children psychologically. It is recommended to parents that they must keep an eye on the child for any such activities. Regular users can browse the dark web for day to day activities if they are concerned about their privacy. However, accessing the suspicious URLs such as trading of drugs, etc. is not allowed by law and if caught, will be sent to prison.
Starting with TOR browser to surf anonymously:
To access the Dark web, we need to download the TOR browser, which is an open-source project by TOR, partially funded by the US government. TOR Browser can be downloaded from the following link:
After downloading and installing, we can see a similar interface to that of any normal browser we use. The search bar displays the message as “Search with DuckDuckGo” which is a default search engine in TOR browser.
Accessing hidden services
Dark web URL’s end with. onion as their top-level domain. Anything that ends with. onion is basically a hidden website only accessible via particular browsers such as TOR browser. Now let’s take a look at thehiddenwiki, which is a Wikipedia of onion sites.
As shown above, it has links to all onion sites of all categories, including Blogging, social media platforms, marketplace financial, commercial services, PayPal, and many more.
We can copy any of these URLs and paste in TOR browser’s default search engine DuckDuckGo. To access the Facebook hidden service, use their. onion URL, and it will be accessed normally. It is to be noted that this URL won’t work with regular browsers.
The scary part of this is that criminals can use this platform to perform illegal activities such as renting a hacker as shown in the below screenshot. Therefore, it is very important to use it with special precautions to avoid any unlawful activities.
The internet we see is a very little part of the overall web. But it is also important to note that most of the internet is full of nasty things and illegal activities. Therefore, it is recommended that users, especially children, should stay away from the dark web.