If you know anything about the internet, you’ll know that the results Google shows you are barely 2% of the entire internet. Most of the hidden results you don’t see are part of the widely known, deep web. What is the dark web? The dark web is just a small part of the deep web made up of well-hidden websites and services from your regular browser. Unlike the clear net (the results you receive on your browser) the dark web can only be accessed through The Onion Router (Tor) hidden service protocol. Tor consists of layers of servers in different parts of the world that ensure complete anonymity for their users. Users, therefore, get the freedom to access any website they want anonymously, away from the prying eyes of the ISP and the government.

Is the dark web safe?

The dark web can be safe if only you access the right websites. With the wrong link, you might find yourself in sites with criminal activities and disturbing services – from drugs and weapons peddling, child pornography, human trafficking, stolen personal information (identity theft), and numerous scams. There are also numerous malicious links in the dark web, and one wrong click could expose your device to malware like keyloggers, rootkits, and botnets. Some dark web users have also found themselves on the wrong side of the law since authorities are always looking for criminals on the dark web.

How to protect yourself on the dark web

Once you’re comfortable with the security concerns of using the dark web, here’s how you can stay safe.

  • Always use Tor browser
  • The Tor browser is the best and easiest way to access the dark web. It ensures total anonymity for your data; hence it’s much safer for sharing sensitive information. Nevertheless, you also have to ensure that your Tor browser and applications are updated.

  • Use a VPN
  • Even before installing your Tor browser, use a Virtual Private Network to download it. A VPN hides your location and masks your data traffic online so one can read it. When using Tor Browser, a VPN ensures that no one can know that you’re using Tor – not even your ISP. This prevents drawing any unwanted attention.

  • Be cautious with the sites you visit
  • There being so many criminals and cyber attackers on the dark web, you don’t want to end up on the wrong site. Therefore, ensure that you access only the sites you know are safe. Here are some of the best onion sites to visit on the dark web.

  • Create a new online identity
  • With the dark web, you don’t want anyone to have an idea of your real self. So, create your new online persona. Use a new email, avoid using your credit card, and don’t talk to strangers. Avoid sharing any information that may be used to identify you.

    Final thoughts
    Accessing the dark web doesn’t have to be scary. With the tips above, you can be sure that you’ll have a great experience browsing.

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