Here are a few tips and tools to help stay safe when using Tor and other browsers. There’s a lot more to consider, but this should give you an idea of some of the issues — good and bad — to consider. There are many legitimate uses for dark web services and communication. Drugs, weapons, and stolen IP and data are all hot businesses in the dark web, with hundreds of terabytes of information on offer. Traders cash in on stolen credit card data dumps, initial access points to vulnerable systems, credentials, and intellectual property belonging to companies comprised during cyberattacks. No longer restricted to dial-up, many of us now consider access to a stable internet connection as a critical aspect of our daily lives — and a right.
People use the dark web for both legal and illegal purposes. It uses a technology called “onion routing,” which protects users from surveillance and tracking through a random path of encrypted servers. When users access a site through Tor, their information is routed through thousands of relay points that cover the user’s tracks and make their browsing virtually impossible to trace. That groundwork was the basis for the Tor Project, which was released in 2002 and launched a browser in 2008. With the creation of Tor, users could now browse the internet completely anonymously and explore sites that were deemed part of the “dark web.” You can conduct discussions about current events anonymously on Intel Exchange.
The Hoodle dark web search engine uses a crawler to automatically index pages from the dark web. The site admins claim that they keep growing the Hoodle database on a daily basis. They also offer users the ability to add links to its database. The search engine mission is “to create tools for those looking for onion sites and for onion sites to be found.” The site started under the previously mentioned Ahmia search engine.
The rankings we publish may take into consideration the affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. Type in a .onion address just like you would a regular web address and you’re set. The most common way to access the dark web or deep web is by using the Tor network, and doing so is not nearly as complicated as you might think. First, you need a web browser that’s capable of utilizing the Tor protocol. Serving is the final step of the process for search engines like Google.
However, such sites can be hotspots for all kinds of criminal and illegal activity. You can’t use a conventional search engine like Google to look for sites on the dark web to visit. There are dedicated indexing platforms that you can use, however. If you’re on a tight budget, you can choose PrivadoVPN, one of the best free dark web VPNs. As we discussed in our PrivadoVPN review, it offers obfuscation features and 10GB of data monthly.
A VPN — A VPN changes your IP address and encrypts your traffic. I recommend using a VPN that supports Tor traffic to get more privacy. While the Tor network is generally secure, it can experience IP leaks. What’s more, anyone can run Tor servers, including malicious actors who want to log your IP address and traffic. I always use ExpressVPN (our #1 pick for the best VPNs in 2023). The Tor browser — To access the dark web, you’ll need to use the Tor network.
What is the Dark Web and How to Legally Access it?
As search engine crawlers do not catalog these pages, you would need to know the exact link to access a website in this area of the internet. This could include government services to access your records, health care services, members-only areas, intranets, or corporate resources. Torch is not censored, and contains all existing onion sites, including malicious links. The platform describes its approach as “non-compliant” with legal requirements to block specific searches. Another way to find dark web sites is by using dark web search engines. We have carried out extensive research to find valid and updated search engines that are active.
- The dark web lives on the Tor ecosystem and can only be accessed through the Tor browser.
- The dark web not only attracts some of the most dangerous cybercriminals, it also attracts authorities looking to catch those cybercriminals.
- While there might be an element of truth, these stories are often exaggerated and overhyped.
- It offers all the same services, contacts, and information that you’ll come across on the CIA’s normal site.
To further reduce your exposure to dark web dangers, you can run a dark web scan to see if any of your data has leaked onto the black market. If you think you’ve fallen victim to identity theft or fraud, be sure to report the internet scam just like you would any other crime. Tor Links is a backup directory of “.onion” sites in case other directories go offline. The best Tor sites are under constant threat of closure, including Tor directories like the Hidden Wiki, so having a backup in case one goes down is handy. Tap Connect and wait a few seconds until the app connects to the Tor network.
Legal Uses of the Dark Web
Users run the risk of betraying their DNS and IP information when they create a bridge between the surface web and Tor, giving away plenty of data about the sites they are visiting. Not to mention, the creators of this search engine take your privacy and security seriously, as they don’t track your data. Torch is one of the oldest and most-known dark web search engines. With an archive of over 400,000 pages, Torch does a pretty good job of sifting through the Dark Web’s content and returns a batch of relevant results for almost any search query. The Hidden Wiki – It is the version of Wikipedia with the biggest directory of onion links to help you explore the dark web.
That’s why many companies back up their websites on the Dark Web. To find these sites, you need to install a layered proxy network like Tor Browser. All you need to know is that this browser encrypts your data and runs it through several servers in different locations. It focuses on your privacy; it’s all about making you hard to trace. That’s content that website creators deliberately choose to conceal from search engine spiders. You might not know this, but the Dark Web has a lot to offer.
Similar to the Imperial Library, in the sense that it provides copyrighted content, you should always be vigilant to make sure you don’t break any laws. If you’re worried about reading books without permission, you can use its online forum to participate in discussions about books you’ve read with people with similar interests. Plus, if the book has been published for over 70 years (after the author’s death), it is no longer protected by copyright in the UK and can be downloaded without breaking any laws. In some countries, you can overcome copyright in less than 50 years, making it safe to download older manuscripts and participate in research. Using a VPN and Tor to access Facebook improves your privacy and security compared to using the Surface Web, as you’re no longer susceptible to cyber attacks. If you’re looking for information on political upheaval, war, oppressive government crackdowns, and secure communication with your family and friends, Facebook’s onion site is a good option.
Nevertheless, you can try and access it with the link below. Ahmia’s biggest advantage is its servers, unlike other competitors, are always up. Thus, if you want to take it for a spin, use the link below.
Full profiles, or fullz, may come with a name, Social Security number, date of birth and account numbers and could cost around $8 to $30 each. Complete medical records can be particularly valuable to identity thieves, and may go for up to $1,000. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are the preferred means of payments as these also help keep buyers and sellers anonymous. The Tor network is one of the largest and most well-known darknets, and it’s what most people are referring to when they discuss the dark web.