Many of you have likely heard the terms dark web, deep web, deepnet, hidden web, invisible web, or undernet in some of your discussions, books, or even movies. This is another layer of World Wide Web (WWW) content that exists on these darknets which is overlayed using the public Internet however you require specific software and configurations to access. This hidden content is not considered part of the surface web we all use on a daily basis. Big search engines like Google or Bing do not crawl and index this darknet content.

One of the most well-known underground sites was the anonymous narcotics bazaar called the Silk Road. It had been running for 2.5 years until the FBI shut it down in the fall of 2013. When they seized the website, they also got $4 million in bitcoins which was the cryptocurrency being used to buy drugs on the Silk Road. The Silk Road generated an estimated $1.2 billion in revenues since its creation.

How do you access the dark web?

There are many different ways to access. A common and easy to get started method is by installing the Tor anonymous web browser. Behind the scenes when browsing the Internet using Tor, there are a series of virtual tunnels that connect you to the actual website. You are not making a direct connection. The idea is that they cannot trace back to the IP address of your network but rather it appears as though you are located somewhere else in the world. As such, Tor connections are a lot slower and not good for large files (images, videos, etc).

There are ways to search privately using your favorite search engine such as google by going to https://search.disconnect.me/

To further ensure your privacy, follow these tips to remain anonymous and not compromise your connection using other programs.

Also be aware that the NSA surveillance program called X-Keyscore might automatically add you to their watchlist based on your curiosity of trying out Tor. This might not concern most, however if you like wearing your tinfoil hats then maybe you shouldn’t try it out.

What are some dark web sites?

Hidden service Tor sites make use of a special top level domain: .onion

These are not actual DNS names but require special software to view them such as the Tor web browser. An example address looks like this: duskgytldkxiuqc6.onion (note that you can actually visit this page in Tor, it is an example page).

In addition to web pages with content, you could create an SSH server, IRC server, or any other type of server and offer it as a hidden service on Tor. It is possible to view .onion pages without the Tor browser by going through https://tor2web.org/ however this is strongly advised against as your connection is not anonymous.

10 Comments
  1. I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t read the article. I haven’t been to the Deep Web, and don’t look to go there anytime soon, but I’ve heard many stories. The government needs to do something about it to be honest. I wanna say, “How hard can it be?” but I mean, you’re the government. Do something, or anything for that matter, because you probably can. Make it harder to access the deep web, not saying it isn’t already hard.

  2. I’ve heard about Dark Web, even paid a visit to the “easier” parts of it, to be more specific, I’ve visited drug dealing sites such as the old Silkroad. It’s a very nasty place to be and whatever you thought couldn’t be done over the internet may actually be found there. However, the Deep Web is not equal to the Dark Web. The nasty things are on the Dark Web, meanwhile the Deep Web is just an encrypted side of the Web. Stuff like your credit card info is stored by banks on the Deep Web.

  3. I was always intimidated by the idea of the deep web, but this is quite informative. Now it seems a bit less spooky, but I am still not taking any chances and going on it! I am just fine with the regular web haha.

  4. I haven’t been on any actual dark web site. Or maybe I have. I used some software called Freenet to download files. There were some risks involved though. Someone could easily install malware on my computer.

    If I wanted to I could have accessed a few sites but wasn’t all that interested because I didn’t expect I’d be finding anything there that I wouldn’t find on any other website that’s on the net [we know].

    Good to know that visiting the dark net gets you in the NSA’s radar. I won’t be visiting any darknet site. I don’t want to be tracked all over the web.

  5. This was an incredibly informative and interesting read, I’m not joking! I had no idea such a thing even existed, I will definitely try this right now. I’m downloading Tor browser as we speak! This is like a whole new world being opened to me! I really had no idea there was an even deeper layer of web surfing! I wonder what kind of sites one can find (not taking into account the ones with illegal stuff). This is going to be a really interesting night! I had always had the feeling there was more beyond Google 🙂

  6. The deep web always fascinated me, it’s so intriguing that an anonymous business generated $1.2 billion dollars in revenue over the span of a couple of years.
    I’ve heard stories about people ordering hitmans on one of those deep web sites, I guess you can find anything you want there. I’m curious, what are some of the “good” websites on the hidden web? The internet is fascinating, man, I’m telling you!

  7. Scary! I don’t know if I’m brave enough to delve into the world of the Deep Web, sounds ominous. I am intrigued though, especially reading these comments….Hitmen? Drug dealers? Goodness me, I’m not sure my innocent eyes could cope!

  8. I have heard a lot of the deep web and as a consequence of that I’m pretty curious about it, there’s a lot of information there that makes me want to go there but in the other hand I’m extremely paranoid when it comes to legal issues, imagine getting arrested or something like that just by looking into the deep web… I wouldn’t like that.
    Buy anyway, thanks for sharing this information with us, I’ll do my research about it.

  9. A couple days ago KickAss Torrents announced they where going to be available on the deep web through an .onion URL. I read the news on Slashdot and there where a few comments saying that the deep web wasn’t so deep now because a lot of people know about it and it has got a lot of media coverage in the last few months.

    But I don’t think it’s a bad thing that people know about this. The more people know the easier it will be for them to protect their privacy. In the case of torrent users downloading torrents through TOR is a more secure way of protecting their identities, just to name one example.

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