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How to Access Dark Web Safely (Step-by-step Instruction)

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ByHarper Stewart

Jul 21, 2023
How to Access Dark Web Safely
Harper Stewart
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How to Access the Dark Web

The dark web is a decentralized web, which means that the data is stored on many different servers around the world. Here’s the full instruction on how to access the dark web with maximum safety.

Use Trustworthy VPN

When visiting the dark web, using a trustworthy VPN (Virtual Private Network) is essential for preserving privacy and anonymity. It’s critical to take proactive steps to safeguard your privacy, especially if you’re curiously researching dark web marketplaces (avoid engaging in criminal activity).

ISPs and government enforcement organizations like the FBI keep an eye on Tor users, albeit not all of them are specifically targeted. Your internet service provider (ISP) can examine your internet usage patterns and possibly infer that you use Tor, but they are unable to identify the individual websites you visit or the material you access on the dark web using Tor.

Your dark web activities are concealed from your ISP and prospective snoops when you use Tor and a VPN together. A VPN provides additional security on top of the Tor network’s security. The VPN maintains your anonymity and prohibits linking you to your real IP address, even if Tor is compromised or a vulnerability is exploited.

Additionally, VPNs offer security against cybercriminals who can target your personal information or payment information, which is crucial on dark web websites. Prioritize features like a rigorous no-logs policy, Tor compatibility, and a quick connection speed when choosing a VPN for a seamless surfing experience.

Download the Tor Browser

The dark web cannot be accessed using a standard browser like Chrome or Safari. To access the dark web, you must download the Tor browser. Make sure to get the Tor file from their official website when doing so. Ensure to turn on your VPN before downloading the Tor browser!

So once your VPN is active and your privacy is protected, go to Tor’s official download page. You may then download the file by simply clicking the operating system you are using. Downloads are available for macOS, Windows, Linux, and Android on the website. Although there isn’t an official Tor browser for iOS, there are browsers that work with Tor that are offered on the App Store.

Enter the Dark Web

To stop malicious scripts from assaulting your browser sessions, disable Javascript in your Tor browser. By selecting “Preferences” in the macOS program or “Settings” in the Windows app, you may turn off Javascript. Then, in the browser window that displays, click “Privacy & Security”.Continue by clicking and then scrolling down to “Security. “Select “Safest.” You’ll notice that all sites will automatically deactivate JavaScript and a few other features. 

Be advised that certain websites may not function correctly as a result of this. The final thing you need to do is to start looking into potential sellers and figuring out which marketplace could have one. It is obvious that finding these websites might be challenging as they don’t appear in the Google search results. To identify appropriate markets, you may utilize a number of “.onion” search engines including “onion.city”, “onion.to”, and “notevil”.

Learn the Basics

Visit the helpful thread on Reddit to locate and browse additional regions of the dark web or markets. Search for information on /r/deepweb, /r/TOR, or /r/onions; the latter is helpful for discovering hidden wikis and other things. You probably won’t discover anything illegal on many of these Reddits since connecting to unlawful sites and services is against the rules. Keep in mind that you must take all required and crucial security precautions before visiting such dark web sites. 

Your ISP and governmental organizations cannot see the websites you view on the Tor network, as was previously established, but they can undoubtedly tell that you use Tor.  Even just that could prompt suspicion and put you under more scrutiny. According to some accounts, the FBI will only classify you as a “criminal” if they learn that you use the Tor browser. 

Additionally, the FBI will be able to search and seize any machine that is running the Tor browser or VPN according to a recently adopted law by the U.S. Supreme Court. A federal court may obtain a search and seizure warrant under Rule No. 41 for anyone who is utilizing an anonymizing program like Tor.

Use Safe Search Engines

Don’t use public search engines as they can secretly gather information about  your identity. Here is the list of safe portals and search engines:

Although the FBI chose not to disclose the source code it used to break into the TOR system, authorities all around the world undoubtedly track and operate on the Deep Web. Employees of the TOR project vowed to patch network flaws and strengthen the protocol after the FBI discovered and exploited vulnerabilities in the network.

Alternative Anonymous Networks

The “.onion” websites have substitutes, however these substitutes are only options for users who want to keep their online activity as secure as possible.

I2P

I2P is an alternative to Tor that only allows access to sites within the I2P network. It cannot access “.com” or “.onion” websites. Instead, I2P has its own domain structure called “eepsites.” It offers a faster and more reliable network compared to Tor and is independent of the resources used by “.onion” domains. Setting up I2P can be challenging, involving manual configuration through the router interface and browser proxy settings. The I2P website provides setup packages for various platforms.

Freenet

Freenet and I2P are similar networks that only allow connections within their own network. Freenet has two modes: darknet and opennet. In darknet mode, users can connect and share dark web content with selected friends, forming anonymous groups. Opennet mode automatically assigns users to others on the Freenet network. Opennet is easier to use, while darknet provides more security. 

Additional Layer of Safety

It’s advisable to utilize a different computer if you can for your dark web activities.

The benefit of having a separate computer specifically for browsing the dark web is that your primary computer is shielded from any dangers or hazards associated with doing so. 

You can be confident that any data or information kept on your main computer will be secure in the event of an attack. You do, however, have several choices if you don’t have access to a second PC.

TAILS

The Amnesic Incognito Live System, also known as TAILS, is a portable, open-source operating system created for safe and anonymous surfing. It makes dark web news, forums, and other content accessible with ease. It doesn’t need to be installed on a hard disk because it can be run from a USB stick. 

It increases anonymity and leaves no traces by running in RAM rather than a hard disk. TAILS immediately deletes all inputted information, including passwords and browsing history, when you shut down your computer to protect your privacy.  Tor adds an additional degree of protection by requiring that all internet and app requests go through it. 

Darknet utilities including the Tor browser, the uBlock Tor add-on for ad blocking, LibreOffice (a program similar to Microsoft Office), OnionShare for file sharing, Pidgin for chat, and others are already installed on TAILS. The software ensures your confidentiality and guards against unwanted backdoors because it is free and open-source.

What to Be Cautious About?

Accessing the tor browser comes with a great responsibility for your safety. There are millions of threats waiting for you to make a mistake. We`ve compiled the main points that can jeopardize your cyber security.

Be Aware of Malware

Users of the dark web have a serious risk of contracting infections from malware (malicious software). On the dark web, hackers commonly employ a number of applications. Avoid clicking on pointless links and downloading anything. In addition, get advanced antivirus software.

Don’t Provide Personal Information

Although this is sound advice for any kind of online browsing, you should take extra caution not to divulge any sensitive information, including your email address or credit card number. Buy anything using cryptocurrency, and communicate on the dark web with a throwaway email account.

Is It Illegal to Enter the Dark Web?

To use the dark web is not against the law. Yet, you must take care to stay away from the illicit activities that are offered on the dark web, such as pornographic content with minors as the subjects and the selling of illicit goods and substances, such as illegal narcotics, stolen goods and data, and firearms, to mention a few.

Summary

  1. Download Tor browser or Tails OS
  2. Always start VPN before starting the browser
  3. Block webcam and mic in the settings of your device (Pro-tip: put a tape on your camera)
  4. Disable JavaScript when entering dark web
  5. Never reveal any of your personal information (address, name, interests)
  6. Dark web is not a place to make friends, don’t chat with strangers
  7. Never click on unnecessary links and dont download anything
  8. Always close the external application while you are accessing the dark web
 
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Harper Stewart

With a deep understanding of the complexities of the Dark Web, Harper curates informative and thought-provoking content for our readers. Her knowledge of the hidden corners of the internet and cybersecurity helps shed light on the often mysterious and illicit activities that take place in this realm.