Deep web and dark web: what’s the difference and how to access?

Maybe you’ve heard of the Silk Road market (or the silk route, in free translation), right? This was a dark web site that served as a kind of worldwide free crime market. In 2013, federal authorities in the United States took down the site, suspended the domain used and arrested Ross Willian Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road.

Search engines fail to list any of the sites on the deep web, the “deep internet”. This means that you cannot find them using Google, Yahoo and other search engines like these.

The dark web is also not accessible by common browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox, but only by the Tor browser, which uses a network of anonymous connections to guarantee the secrecy of its users or even “hide them”. The deep web has become known as a place where illegal products and services can be sold and bought and, for this reason, it has also gained a certain libertine and decadent reputation. is this really true?

Deep web or dark web, is there a difference between them?

Sometimes people use the terms “deep web” and “dark web” interchangeably, but the two are not the same. Both are inaccessible by search engines and are made up of sites and content that are not public for various reasons, such as paid access or privacy issues.

You probably access the deep web regularly, but don’t realize it. For example: if you log on to your health insurance website to send messages to your doctor or check the latest test results, there is the deep web.

The same goes for reading internal documents on the corporate intranet of your work. It is not that it is obscure or dangerous, but it is not available for access without the proper login credentials. Deep web content represents most of the internet: according to some estimates, according to CSO Daily, something like 96% or more.

The difference, then, is that the content of the deep web is not accessible simply because it is restricted by logins or paywalls, while the content of the dark web is purposely hidden by its owners and requires special software – a browser called Tor – to be accessed . So there are many reasons to log in to the deep web, but are there any legitimate reasons to search the dark web? Certainly.

Tor started out as a way for users to communicate while maintaining anonymity, sending search requests through a vast network of proxy servers around the world, so that anything you see cannot be traced back to your computer.

This browser still works the same way, although entrepreneurial individuals have taken advantage of anonymity to buy and sell all kinds of wrong things. Even so, there are people who have reasons to remain anonymous without this being involved in crimes. Tor is useful in countries where internet access is monitored or restricted. As the CSO Daily points out, journalists and law enforcement officials use the dark web to stay ahead of the news and investigations, while lawyers can look there for information about their cases and ordinary citizens concerned about online privacy can feel safer on the dark web. .

How to access the dark web?

Downloading Tor

If you want to explore the dark web, go to the Tor Project website and download Tor. “Tor” comes from the name The Onion Router (“the routing onion”, in free translation), the “onion” being a reference to the different layers from Internet. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, as well as for Apple and Android phones in the mobile version.

In general, as soon as you download and install Tor, you’re ready to go, but there are a few things you need to know. To begin with, using Tor is time consuming, it’s like using the dial-up internet from the early days of the internet, simply because it takes time to route your search requests through all the anonymization processes.

Second, accessing specific websites is a little different. Dark web pages end in “.onion” instead of the typical “.com”, “.edu”, “.org”, etc. There, the sites also have no direct addresses, easy to remember. Even if you are trying to access the dark web version of Facebook (and yes, it exists!), Typing “facebook.onion” will not get you there: there are random letters and numbers also mixed in the middle of the address.

Finally, since the idea of ​​Tor is that no one knows who you are or where you are, the search results can appear even in another language, as it can understand that you are elsewhere in the world based on the way proxies redirect your traffic.

In most parts of the world, it is completely legal to use Tor, although there are some exceptions, as in Venezuela and China. However, this does not mean that you are legally authorized to engage with illegal content on the dark web, but that the fact that you have installed or used Tor is not in itself a reason for you to be in trouble.

Browsing the dark web safely

Be wary when buying services or products, even those that are not illegal, because the anonymity of the dark web makes it a safe haven for scammers. Be wary of sites that can infect your computer with malware or other malicious software that can allow hackers to access your passwords or, who knows, your webcam. Furthermore, as there is an abundance of illegal and disturbing content, accessing illegal content remains a crime, even if it is more difficult for authorities to track it.

In addition to Tor’s three layers of encryption, the browser also deletes your browsing history, erases your tracks and prevents sites from identifying and tracking you, according to Wired. Tor’s security measures are not foolproof, but they are very good. Remember that if you use your real name, address, email or other identifying information anywhere on the dark web, you are giving up the protections provided by Tor.

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