An ideal dark web definition is the world wide web content which is relayed on the internet, that only exists on overlay networks (computer network built on another network) and darknets. Quite often, the terms dark web and the deep web have created a bit of confusion for most, with many people mistakenly assuming that they are one and the same thing. You should note that the deep web is a portion of routed, allocated IP and statistically makes up 96% of the internet. It is regarded as an invisible web, or a hidden web and confidential information such as that of a government or university can be found here.

To access the deep web, you require specific URL addresses. The dark web, on the other hand, is considered a peer to peer network where you can involve yourself in file sharing on private networks. Such sites are not indexed by normal search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. The authorities in any jurisdiction tend to pay particular attention to anyone who accesses the dark web because it is considered unsafe, and they do so, regardless of the purpose of your visit.

Why access the dark web?

The dark web is often regarded as a marketplace where you can find everything. Yes, by everything, it means you can buy good things or involve yourself in purchasing bad things that can make you end up on the wrong side of the law. All in all, as the dark web definition suggests, it is illegal to involve yourself in any form of business here mostly because it is not regulated.

The dark web is considered a place where people trade drugs, guns, jewels, gold, counterfeit items, as well as digital hacking services.

Over 90% of everything associated with the dark web is considered illegal and authorities such as the FBI are always investigating and monitoring the situation in a bid to nab drug dealers, traffickers, hackers, fraudsters, and people who deal in illegal sex trades and pornography.

Prominent activities on the dark web

  • Gambling
  • Guns
  • Pornography
  • Hacking
  • Blackmarket trade
  • Drugs
  • Fraud
  • Extremism (terrorists recruiting people)

For this reason, the dark web is considered dangerous, and you need to take the necessary precautions to stay safe.

The foremost advice is not to trust anyone, which is why you need to access the dark web anonymously. The webcam on your computer or laptop should be masked with ducktape so that in the event someone hacks your device, they do not get to see your face or the environment where you live. You are also cautioned from downloading any files that you find here especially if you plan on using uTorrent. If you have to buy anything, you must make sure that it is from a trusted and highly rated vendor. Otherwise, you may be duped into parting with your money and not get anything in exchange. Below we discuss how to access the dark web safely.

How to access the dark web safely

To access the dark web, you need to download Tor or any other hidden service sites (onion sites) which encrypt data to allow you anonymous access. It is the first step to ensuring your safety as you traverse the dark web. However, to vamp up your security, it is also advisable to use a VPN -onion-sites/amp/before you even get to download Tor.

As you know a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is used on local sites for anonymous surfing. It encrypts data and hides the IP address making it possible for you to even bypass restrictive firewalls all while giving your false location. Once you have a VPN installed, you can then use Tor to access the dark web. A good thing about the dark web is that, by using Tor, you can easily gain access while if you are on the deep web, you need hacker skills to find what you are looking for.

In the dark web, there are fraudsters who use it as a platform to trade credit card, debit card, and bank information. Such data is used to hack unsuspecting people and rob them of their money. So it makes perfect sense that using either a credit or debit card to pay on the dark web is risky business. Thanks to the surge in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is the safest and most preferred mode of payment because it is decentralized and can be sent to other users over a peer to peer Bitcoin network without involving a central bank or any bank for that matter.

Final thoughts

It has become apparent, after years of research, that the dark web occupies a large volume of the digital universe. Approximately 5% of the digital universe can be found on the public web. This translates into only 8 billion pages which you can find on common search engines such as Yahoo and Google. The bulk of the data, however, is found in the deep web and it is estimated to be at 95% which is quantified as 7.9 zettabytes. It is worth noting that 1 zettabyte is the equivalent of 1 trillion gigabytes, which is a very large volume of data. All this data is protected by passwords and their identity is hidden using the Tor tool.

Governments have taken it upon themselves to prevent illegal activities from taking place in the dark web. The FBI, particularly, has a special task unit that focuses on the digital crimes which fall under the cyber division. This unit works hand in hand with other law enforcement agencies as they look to dismantle the illegal drug rings and fraudsters, who congregate to plan on how to execute their crimes.

So what is the dark web? For some, it is a safe place to relay information as is the case with whistleblowers who fear for their life. For others, especially those who are either buying or selling commodities and services, it is a place to operate undetected by the law. As most data, research, and analysis points out, there is more illegal activity than legal that happens on the dark web.