The dark web consists of websites that aren’t indexed by search engines. It can only be accessed with the use of the anonymous Tor browser. It is known for many things (some of them shady), including illicit sales and whistleblowing activity. In this article, we will explore the dark web a little more deeply to see why and how the dark web actually came into existence.
The Origins of the Dark Web
Believe it or not, the dark web was a project that was born out of work done by the U.S. Navy. It was meant to provide an anonymous line of communication for field agents. The work is done by the Navy eventually trickled its way down to the public and the rest is history. This project is now known as Tor (The Onion Router). Sites hosted on the dark web all end in .onion and are characterized by URLs made up of random arrangements of letters instead of clearly-defined names. It is also quite slow because of the heavy encryption that is applied to the network. The dark web can only be accessed by a special browser called the Tor browser. The dark web is also unregulated which means that there is no organization that can define how it is run.
Nature of the Dark Web
Because of its unregulated nature, the dark web is often associated with the negative activity. There is certainly a negative activity that happens on the dark web but that’s not the full story. It’s true that things like malware and child abuse sites exist on the dark web. In addition, things like the trading of hacked banked accounts and credit cards take place. These activities are illegal and should be frowned upon and prosecuted.
However, you should bear in mind that the dark web itself is not illegal and that legal activity takes place on the network. For example, Facebook has a Tor version of their website that is intended to make connections to Facebook more secure. The dark web is also used by journalists to communicate sensitive information safely. The BBC also has a Tor mirror site which is can be accessed by anyone who knows how to access the dark web. This is useful for people who live in countries with oppressive regimes. Moreover, there are email services that use the Tor protocol to provide anonymous email communication. The dark web also provides spaces for persons who live in oppressive regimes to express their honest opinions without being prosecuted for doing so.
Dark Web Risks
The dark web isn’t illegal but some people choose to carry out illegal activities on the platform. While it isn’t illegal, because of some of the illicit activity that occurs on the network, you could appear as suspicious to law enforcement agencies if you are found to be using the dark web. However, the anonymity benefits of using the dark web are undeniable. In most cases, it might be a good idea to stay away from the dark web and if you must use it, you should double up on your protection by using a VPN with the Tor browser. Accessing the dark web doesn’t make you completely undiscoverable so using Tor with a VPN is a great idea since it further obfuscates the origin of your connection.
The dark web is often shrouded in mystery and assumed to be all about the bad stuff. However, this isn’t true. There are illegal activities that occur on the dark web. However, the dark web can also be used for legitimate activities like email services. If you must use the dark web, consider the risks, and consider using the Tor browser with a VPN.