Just like the unexplored parts of the moon, the existence of the Dark Web is met with curiosity and concern. Over the years, the belief has been that accessing the Dark Web is difficult and not a very good idea. That said, this article will help you access the dark web without worrying about having your data stolen or your device being hacked.
The article was last updated on December 1, 2023
Definition of the Dark Web
The Dark Web is a section of the internet that isn’t visible to search engines. You must understand that “dark” isn’t just because little is known about it. According to a 2015 study by researchers Thomas Rid and Daniel Moore of King’s College in London, 2,723 live Dark Web sites examined over five weeks showed that 57% of them hosted illegal material.
Things only got worse when a 2019 study showed that the number of Dark Web listings which could harm a business had grown by 20% since 2016. Of all listings, 60% could harm your business. This means if you were to browse the Dark Web today without the right tools, more than half of the listings there could ruin your business financially.
Purpose of the Dark Web
The Dark Web keeps internet activity private and anonymous, which is vital for legal and illegal applications. Other users can use it to bypass government censorship, and it has also been used for illegal activity.
On the Dark Web, users can buy credit card numbers, various guns and drugs, fake money, stolen subscription details, and different software that could help hackers break into other people’s computers.
Accessing the Dark Web
The Dark Web was once the digital home for cybercriminals and law enforcement officials. That said, new technology like encryption and effective browser software have made it possible to access and browse the Dark Web. To make your journey easier, this dark web guide covers the best tools you can use to get access:
To understand how to use Dark Net, you’ll need the following tools:
The Tor browser was designed to allow users to access the Dark Web anonymously. Despite being constantly associated with criminal activity, it has also been used for legitimate reasons by a range of individuals, including law enforcement officials, reporters, activists, and whistle-blowers.
To begin with, the browser was originally designed by the United States Navy to safeguard sensitive interactions involving the U.S. government. While the government is still using it, Tor is now an open-source multi-platform browser available for public use.
The Tor browser uses an onion router, a peer-to-peer network, to enable users to browse the internet without their identity being exposed. Onion routing relies on multiple encryption layers to hide the source and destination of information sent through the network.
To help users know how to access the Dark Web safely, the service offers three different levels of security, which include the default level plus two additional levels:
- On the default setting, the browser is mostly user-friendly, but the setting also provides the lowest amount of electricity.
Although it is the best way to browse the Dark Web, the tor browser comes with certain issues, including:
Eavesdropping: The tor exit nodes are weak to eavesdropping as traffic does not rely on E2EE. While this may not completely reveal the user’s identity, the interception of traffic can expose details about the source.
- Consensus blocking: The Tor exit relay is weak to attacks that allow malicious users to temporarily stop consensus nodes from interacting. This issue is similar to a denial of service (DoS) attack that doesn’t allow users to access the Dark Web by flooding the site with too many requests, making it impossible for servers to keep up.
- Traffic analysis attack: In an active traffic analysis attack, the intruder changes packets by following a pattern to understand how they affect website traffic. With a passive traffic analysis, the intruder gets information and matches it to the opposite side of the network.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
While learning how to use the Darknet, you’ll need to understand that a virtual private network is a technology used to secure communication from your device to the internet. It achieves secure connections through the process of encryption. This makes your digital data unreadable and beyond access to your internet service provider, third parties, or hackers.
A VPN uses the process of tunneling to create an encrypted internet connection. Your activity is shared in data packets whenever you browse the Dark Web. Normally, third parties use a process known as deep packet inspection to read data packets and monitor all your online movement. However, tunneling encrypts each data packet before putting it into another one, ensuring it can’t be tracked or read.
There are multiple benefits to using a VPN, including:
- Switching your online location: Your IP address and physical location affect your internet use. For instance, marketers use geo-targeting to pinpoint your exact location and share targeted ads, while repressive governments censor you from important information. Using a VPN, you can easily change your IP address and browse the Dark Web.
- Improve your network speed: At certain times of the day, your internet slows down because your Internet Service Provider limits your bandwidth. However, a VPN lets you route your connection through a private server rather than your ISP’s local node, and this will stop them from reducing your bandwidth when you access the Dark Web.
- Protect your identity: Seeing as this is a Dark Web guide, it is obvious that staying anonymous while you browse the Dark Web is a priority. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do that with your current IP address, as any stranger who understands technology can combine it with other key details and get your personal information. This can be used to impersonate you online or steal your identity. With a VPN, you can mask your IP address while you browse the dark web without worrying about any online activity being tracked back to you.
Steps to access the Dark Web
To teach you how to access the Dark Web with ease, you can follow this step-by-step process:
- Start by downloading the Tor browser. The software is free, so you don’t have to worry about being charged before it can be used to browse the Dark Web.
- Connect to a reliable VPN which can give you browsing access from anywhere. In this case, we recommend using ExpressVPN, which has multiple servers in 94+ countries.
- Open the Tor site and navigate to the a.onion site to start browsing
How to get the Dark Web on iPhone
To understand how to get Dark Web on iPhone, we recommend using these tools:
- Install Onion browser: On your iPhone, you have to download the Onion browser, which works like Tor for Android. The software is completely legal and endorsed by the Tor project team.
- Install ExpressVPN: To be on the safe side, you need to change your IP address before launching the Onion browser. ExpressVPN is the perfect option, as its VPN protocols and military-grade encryption will keep your identity hidden.
How to Access the Dark Web on an Android device
If you want to know how to access Dark Web on an Android device, you can use this process:
- Download and install the Tor browser: You can get it free online.
- Install a good VPN: Many VPN services are on the market, but we recommend using ExpressVPN with its smooth interface and effective connection speed.
Risks and Precautions
In this guide to the Dark Web, we’ve also covered the various online risks and protective measures you need to take when browsing the Darknet:
The Dark Web is a hub for criminal activity, with many shady and criminal activities happening. If you make certain comments or get involved in a suspicious business deal, there is a chance you get flagged by security officials leading to possible arrest and prosecution.
Once you access the Dark Web, you get exposed to security risks. For instance, browsing without the right tools could leave you vulnerable to trojans, ransomware, and other malicious files.
Malware and viruses
The Dark Web is home to various viruses, including worms, keyloggers, rootkits, and spyware.
Scams and fraud
Different types of fraud happen on the Dark Web involving your personal and financial data.
Precautions to take
To learn how to access Dark Web using tor, you need to do the following:
Use a reputable VPN
If you’re going to browse the Dark Web, we advise using only the best VPN. This service should offer quick connection speed ad 256-bit encryption military-grade encryption, which is why we recommend ExpressVPN as it ticks all the boxes.
In addition, if you would like to test another VPN rather than ExpressVPN we suggest you try one of the VPNs that allow you to access the Dark Web without problems:
Use a reputable search engine.
Among the best resources used to browse the Dark Web, you can never go wrong with any of these search engines:
- Torch: Torch is the oldest search engine on the Tor network and indexes many dark websites and links. The platform takes speed, anonymity, and digital identity very seriously, offering effective uncensored web search results.
- DuckDuckGo: The DuckDuckGo search engine functions like Google for the Dark Web. It is seen as the best private search engine and the default Tor browser search engine.
- The Hidden Wiki: Hidden Wiki is the Dark Web equivalent of Wikipedia. It might not function like other deep web search engines, but it makes navigating the Tor browser much easier. This is done by offering a categorized directory with indexed links to “.onion” websites and surface web links.
- Ahmia: Ahmia is a surface search engine that works well with Tor’s onion services. Onion sites are commonly linked to illegal activity, but Ahmia aims to make them mainstream. This is done by filtering Tor search results and removing fake or unsafe websites which can contain malware.
- Haystack: Haystack has the most indexed sites of any other search engine, with over 1.5 billion indexed pages. It doesn’t break your privacy or track your data when you access the Dark Web, but the free version occasionally shows you ads. If you choose the premium option, you’ll get rid of ads, more data insights, and access to historical versions of dark websites.
Be aware of phishing attempts.
Phishing happens when hackers on the Dark Web try to get your sensitive data by sending emails or other messages from legitimate sites. You can safeguard your information by verifying if the company owns the email address contacting you or if the offer they are making is legitimate.
FAQ about the Dark Web
To make your browsing journey easy, this guide to the Dark Web has provided answers to the most common questions you might have:
What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web is a section of the World Wide Web hidden from regular users and can only be accessed using special software tools.
What is Deep vs. Dark Web?
The Deep Web is a part of the net which is not indexed. Alternatively, the Dark Web is a hidden and encrypted part of the internet.
What is the Darknet?
The Dark Net is a part of the internet you can only use certain software and authorization.
When did the Dark Web exist?
The Dark Web started existing in 2000 with the launch of Freenet.
Why was the Dark Web started?
The Dark Web resulted from University of Edinburgh student Ian Clarke trying to create a new way to anonymously communicate and share files on the internet.
Is Dark Web still around?
Yes, the Dark Web is still functioning in 2023.
Is Deep Web deeper than Dark Web?
The Dark Web is just a small fraction (0.01%) of the deep web, which has internet content you can’t reach with regular search engines.
What does the Dark Web look like?
Websites on the Dark Web look similar to others with few feature differences like the naming structure. For instance, they end with “.onion” instead of “.com”
Who runs the Dark Web?
The popular networks on the Dark Web, like Tor and Freenet, are run by public organizations and individuals.
Can the Dark Web hurt you?
On the Dark Web, getting caught up in illegal activity or having your data stolen is possible.
What is the deepest Dark Web?
Beyond the Dark Web, there are a range of layers that you cannot access easily, such as
What can you find on the Dark Web?
You can find passwords and stolen identities, weapons, and illegal drugs.
What can you not do on the Dark Web?
You can’t legally buy passwords and weapons.
Is the Dark Web illegal?
Despite the activities that happen on it, the Dark Web is perfectly legal.
Why is it illegal to go on the Dark Web?
Visiting the Dark Web isn’t illegal; however, it is illegal to carry out certain illegal activities anonymously.
Can you go to jail for looking at the Dark Web?
No, you can’t go to jail for accessing the Dark Web.
Can police track you on the Dark Web?
Yes, security officials can track you on the Dark Web, so we advise you to hide your IP address and browse it anonymously.
What crimes are in Dark Web?
Illegal activities on the Dark Web include selling drugs and weapons.
How big is Dark Web?
The Dark Web is responsible for approximately 5% of the content on the internet.
Am I on the DarkWeb?
You can confirm if you are on the Dark Web by checking the “Have I Been Pwned” (HIBP) website for free. All you have to do is provide your email address and phone number, which will confirm your browsing status.
What is Onion website?
An Onion website is a site on the Dark Web that uses Tor’s hidden services to hide its location and owner’s identities. You can only access these sites through the Tor browser.
What is Mariana Web?
This is the deepest part of the internet.
What is the difference between VPN and Tor?
A VPN encrypts your connection and routes it through an intermediary server of your choosing. However, Tor encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a random sequence of servers that volunteers run.
You can read more about the differences between VPN and Tor to have the best information before browsing the Dark Web.
The Dark Web is a hub of good and bad internet communication. While browsing the Dark Web, having the best set of tools to keep your information safe is important.
Considering this, you can use ExpressVPN to secure your Dark Web communication. The service has the best encryption and connection speed on the market, so you are safe.
Register now, and you can use the 30-day free trial to explore the Dark Web. If you experience issues or get fed up with the service, a money-back guarantee gives you a full refund.
Happy Dark Web browsing!!