The darknet is the part of the internet that one cannot visit using regular browsers but needs special browsers like TOR. The darknet attracts criminals, but it is also a safe haven for free speech and expression owing to its anonymity. Read on to learn everything about the darknet.
The darkweb, also called the darknet, is the encrypted part of the internet that does not get indexed by search engines (google, yahoo, etc.) and requires specific authorization or configuration to access. Although the dark web gets portrayed as a domain frequented by criminals, people who need privacy for legal reasons, like communication by political activists or exchange of proprietary business information, also use it.
Differences Between The Dark Web And The Deep Web
One common aspect between the dark and deep web is that you cannot find them through regular search engine results. And the difference is how both of these are accessed. The deep web is the broader term used to define the part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines but is accessible via regular web browsers, which one uses to browse the internet.
However, to access Dark web pages, the user needs special software (TOR), including access rights and knowledge about where to find the content. Imagine the web in three layers, and the top layer is the surface web, whose content gets indexed by regular search engines. The second layer is the deep web, and the third one is the dark web. Kaduu has explained these differences in more detail.
Dark Web Websites And Browsers
The dark web websites look similar to other websites, but there are key differences. One key difference is that they don’t end with .com or .co but with a .onion extension. It is a top-level special-use domain suffix that designates a hidden, anonymous service only reachable by the Tor network. If you run a browser with a proxy, you can only reach them; otherwise, you cannot.
Furthermore, you cannot access the dark web with specific browsers like Firefox or Chrome and need a specialized, anonymous browser like Tor. Other ways to access the dark web are through:
- Proxies: A few proxy websites like tor2web.org, onion.ws, etc., act as a proxy (intermediary) between hidden dark web services and users trying to access these. The proxy services make dark web services visible to people who are not connected to Tor. To access a Tor hidden service, you can add a proxy extension to the onion domain, like “onion. to” for example, if the Tor website you wish to visit is “http://sampledarkweburl.onion,” you can use a proxy http://sampledarkweburl.onion.to.
- Browser Extension: Onion Browser Button and TOR Browser Extension are some browser extensions that allow you to connect to the Tor network in your browser.
Darkweb And Cryptocurrencies
Darknet users generally use cryptocurrencies to avail of the services available there. It is so because they seek maximum anonymity while performing operations that the authorities consider questionable.
Here’s how it generally works: the website operator utilizes an escrow account to hold the payment until the product/service is confirmed and delivered by the seller and buyer. It is done to protect sellers and buyers from scammers.
Questions Regarding Legality and Dangerous Nature of the Dark Web
While we cannot call the darknet illegal, it can act as a platform for illicit entities. Legitimate entities and organizations have a presence on the dark web, and private users may access the dark web for legitimate reasons too.
Another ethical use of the dark web is for threat intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Such professionals search the darknet for signs of illegal activity, scams, cybersecurity or data breaches, or other threats. Furthermore, there’s a large amount of content on the dark web that one cannot find on different parts of the internet, like banned books, discussion forums, and news article collections.
Dangers that users must be aware of when browsing the dark web include:
- Viruses, malware like keyloggers, remote access Trojans (RAT) ransomware, distributed denial of service (DDoS), or other cyber-attacks
- Credential theft, Identity theft, or phishing
- Compromise of the customer, personal, financial, or operational data
- Leaks of trade secrets or intellectual property
- Spying, cyber espionage, or webcam hijacking
Since the darknet has become a platform to sell and buy stolen financial and personal data, it can be dangerous to individuals and enterprises even if they do not access it. To search for compromised passwords or breached credentials, they can choose dark web monitoring services, which explore and track the organization’s information on the dark web.
Darknet monitoring tools like Kaduu can help find stolen or leaked information like intellectual property, breached credentials, and other sensitive data that malicious actors share and sell on the dark web and Kaduu’s alerting service can give you an edge from adversaries.
Accessing The Dark Net Safely
- Try to use the Tor browser only for accessing the dark Web: You cannot access the darknet using regular internet browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, etc. Instead, it would be best if you had Tor or I2P.
- Use VPN or TOR bridges: Though websites cannot identify the user and ISPs cannot decrypt internet traffic on the Tor browser, they can see that it is being used. So, it can generate suspicions and unwarranted attention. Therefore, we suggest using VPN or Tor bridges for accessing Tor.
- Take safety precautions: Activating the VPN is insufficient to access the Dark Web safely. One needs to take into consideration every application that is currently running on their computer. For example, one must close all the apps they have accounts on, like a password manager, storage apps like OneDrive, and streaming applications like Netflix.
- Check for IP leaks: After setting everything up, there’s still more one needs to do, checking whether they have any leaks that could reveal personal info. The user needs to check for IP, WebRTC, and DNS leaks.
Thus, the dark web is a double-edged sword – it is considered good when you use it to evade surveillance which many of us think is intrusive. Still, it is bad when cybercriminals use it to avoid detection for committing cyber crimes, which all of us consider unacceptable. The darknet is a place where malicious actors can buy or sell personal information. Darknet Monitoring from Kaduu helps shine a light on the darknet, with Kaduu’s alerting services that can notify you if your Personally Identifiable Information such as driver’s license number, phone numbers, social security number, or other critical data such as physical and email addresses, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers gets leaked.