How to Access the Dark Web Safely
How to Access the Dark Web Safely
You’ve likely heard about the dark web by now, and what you’ve heard is likely full of horror stories about drug dealing and hitmen for hire. However, the dark web also contains plenty of legitimate resources, as well. Today, we’re going to take a look at how you can safely access the dark web.
Is it Legal to Access the Dark Web?
Before even trying to access the dark web, it’s important to know where you legally stand if you’re going to do it. Many people are under the false impression that it’s illegal to even access the dark web in the first place. The dark web is just as legal to use as the regular internet that you access every day.
At the end of the day, the internet is a tool that human beings use to communicate with each other, and exchanging ideas and communicating isn’t a crime. However, there are certain sites on the dark web that deal in illegal materials, so if you buy something from them, you may be committing a crime.
For example, there are markets on the dark web that sell drugs, or even get you in touch with hitmen. This is due to the relative difficulty of law enforcement and police accessing the dark web, though that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for them to catch people committing crimes over the dark web.
This means that you’ll be relatively safe when you’re using the dark web, but if you don’t want to end up in hot water, you should avoid doing a few things. We’d recommend not downloading any files that you find on the dark web, and you certainly shouldn’t purchase anything over it.
Using a VPN When Accessing the Dark Web
Using a VPN will ensure that nobody knows that you’re accessing the dark web whenever you do so. However, the first thing you’ll need to do is ensure that you have the right VPN. Who better to ask than us here at PinpointVPN? We’re your resident VPN experts, after all.
Avoid using free VPNs because they tend to keep logs about what you’re doing and this means that your browsing isn’t quite as private as you think it is. Another issue with using a free VPN on the dark web is that many free VPNs feature data limits that will keep you from browsing as much as you’d like.
- Start by signing into your VPN of choice and ensuring that you have an active subscription.
- Select the closest server to you to ensure that you don’t end up losing too much speed because of its distance from you.
- Start your VPN.
- Head over to the Tor site or the site of another overlay network and download your chosen client.
- Before you start using your client, adjust the security slider so that it’s at the “high” setting.
- Use a dark web wiki or website aggregator so that you can find the urls to the sites you’d like to browse.
- You’re ready to go!
Using Tor to Access the Dark Web
You may have heard of Tor, but if you’re just getting started on the dark web, you may not know exactly what Tor is or what it does. To put it simply, Tor is to the dark web what Chrome is to the surface web. Tor stands for “The Onion Router,” which may remind you of the .onion domains you’ll find on the dark web.
Tor is free to use and it’s open-source. This browser connects to the dark web using servers that are distributed worldwide to ensure that you can always have a consistent connection. These servers are known as nodes and your traffic is moved through them randomly so that it can’t be traced.
While your traffic is being directed through these nodes, it’s also being encrypted, making it a lot harder for observers to parse out where the info is going and where it’s coming from. The nodes are also responsible for decrypting the data as your data is passed through them, and this is where the “onion” analogy comes from.
Since there are several layers of encryption on your traffic, it’s almost like the nodes are peeling back every layer of an onion. This also means that each node only knows the previous node that your data came from and the next one that it’s going to, though the nodes won’t be able to register anything else.
This means that observers won’t be able to track where your traffic is going because the nodes won’t paint a complete picture for them. Keep in mind that this applies to people visiting sites on the dark web but it also applies to the sites themselves, keeping them safe from prying eyes.
While it’s true that many criminals take advantage of this additional layer of privacy, don’t forget that there are plenty of legitimate reasons why someone would want to keep things private on the internet. For example, the dark web is a haven for whistleblowers trying to speak out against the wrongs they’ve witnessed.
Other Tips for Safely Accessing the Dark Web
There are a few things that you can do aside from using a VPN to ensure that your time on the dark web is spent safely. For example, you’ll want to be sure that you’re putting in the right domain names when you’re looking for a particular site.
If you make a mistake while inputting a domain, you may be led down some dark paths and potentially see some content that you don’t want to be associated with. This is why it’s important to always use reliable site aggregators and to review domain names before you input them.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have an effective antivirus program active whenever you access the dark web. Since sites are far less regulated on the dark web, there’s a higher chance that you may end up getting your computer infected if you stray into the wrong area of the dark web.
Also, if you want to stay as safe as possible on the dark web, never share any personal information. You never know who’s reading what you’re saying and you don’t want to find yourself wrapped up in a potentially threatening situation just because you made the mistake of revealing who you are.
While this may sound like common sense, you should also avoid downloading any files or making any purchases when you’re on the dark web. This will ensure that you don’t end up getting caught up in an illegal transaction without even knowing it.