Ever since the internet's inception in the '80s, there have been many game-changing developments and innovations. Among these, some of the most exciting changes have been the existence of various web spheres. One of these has been particularly controversial, and it is the dark web.
Various web spheres exist, including the deep web, dark web, and clear web. Here are some ways in which these three differ from each other.
The clear web, also known as the surface, normal or open web, is the internet that you usually use on a day-to-day basis. These are websites that have been made available to the general public and are indexed by search engines. You can also access them using regular browsers, for example, Chrome.
In contrast to the open web, the deep web is not available to the general public, nor is it indexed by search engines. However, unlike the dark web, deep web pages exist to keep various things operational. You can access the deep web using standard browsers. Examples of entities that use the deep web include banks, hotels, and libraries.
Thirdly, you have the dark web. It is inaccessible via regular browsers, and it is not available on sites that are indexed by search engines. To access the dark web, you will require software that is compatible with the Tor network.
The dark web uses complex systems to turn user IP addresses anonymous. That makes it extremely difficult for your online activity to be tracked or traced back to a particular address.
Tor stands for The Onion Router, and millions of people use it each day to access the dark web. It works by wrapping itself around your message, thus forming layers of encryption to achieve anonymity. Subsequently, searches and messages don't directly arrive at the destination you intended, keeping your identity anonymous.
You could choose to use the dark web to gain access to services and pages that you cannot access using your standard browsers.
Another reason for using the dark web is to maintain anonymity, and there are many reasons you might wish to keep your online identity private. One of them may be because you want to exercise your right to free speech, and your government doesn't allow it. Political censorships and media gag orders are among the reasons why people seek to use the dark web.
Lastly, the dark web could be used for illegal dealings such as peddling prescription drugs, prohibited drugs such as cocaine, and toxic chemicals. Criminals also use the dark web to sell illegal arms and weapons.
Much like the other web spheres using the dark web can be dangerous. For instance, when checking your bank statements and email online, your information could be intercepted and sold to fraudsters online. Your passwords could be cracked when you connect to public Wi-Fi and decide to access the deep web.
Five ways to protect yourself when using the dark web
1. Use a Virtual Private Network
If you want to have maximum online protection when using the dark web, you need to use a Virtual Private Network. According to ExpressVPN's guide to what is a VPN, it is a network that helps in protecting your data and keeping your online information confidential. When you are using the Tor browser, it is still possible to track your online traffic. As long as the other party has enough time on their hands, sufficient resources, and the right skills, they can easily trace your online activity back to you.
They can even leak your IP address if they want, which can be very damaging. By having your VPN working in the background while still using your Tor browser, these problems are avoidable. As your VPN encrypts your traffic, it also keeps your IP address safely hidden from government surveillance and hackers even when there is a leak in your Tor network.
2. Beware of malware
Malicious software is found in the three web spheres, including the dark web. An excellent way to ensure your safety while browsing online is to install your malware program as well as your antivirus.
You should also continuously renew the two as hackers rely on your forgetfulness. Overlooking your malware and antivirus will allow the hackers to exploit this vulnerability. Once they back up your computer system on the dark web, all your services and apps will be open to attacks.
3. Use a dedicated browser
You need to have a dedicated browser if you intend to use the dark web. Using a dedicated browser is much like using the standard browser, but the difference is that it indexes websites existing on the dark web. While using your browser, the best way to remain safe is to divulge the least possible information about yourself.
Refrain from random searches while online and avoid giving personal information even when the website requires it. When you notice suspicious links, please do not click on them. These measures will ensure that there are very few traces of your presence on the online web.
4. Stay anonymous
Ensure that you keep your private information private at all times. You can never be too careful. Taking the relevant precautions before and after you open your Tor browser will make you less vulnerable to hackers. Before you go into the dark web, close all your non-essential apps, for example, your password managers.
Also, stop unnecessary services on your device from running and cover your webcam using a piece of tape or paper. It is prevalent for hackers to access users' webcams without the individuals even noticing. Remember also to turn off your location, as it can be used to obtain your IP address.
5. Familiarize yourself with the governing laws
Accessing the dark web is not categorized as illegal in most states. However, having possession of certain items and being part of specific actions is. Different states have different laws governing dark web activity, and you should be familiar with state and federal laws governing dark web activity. Familiarizing yourself with the law will allow you to avoid activities that are branded as illegal.
The internet is a great resource and offers solutions to various problems and queries. Like everything else, the internet comes with some issues you can easily avoid and shield yourself from. Having the above knowledge will help you to browse the internet safely.
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