When most people talk about the internet, they actually mean the ‘Clearnet.’ This is just a fraction of the whole system that is based on an internet protocol-based system. Think about an iceberg in the middle of the ocean. It looks very big, but in reality, the iceberg you see floating above the water is just one percent of the whole iceberg. The rest 99 percent of the iceberg is hidden underwater. Similarly, the part of the internet that most people use is Clearnet, a fraction of the whole thing.
If the tip of the iceberg can be used to describe the Clearnet, then what is it that is beneath the surface? Well, it is called Deep Web. It is the part of the World Wide Web (www), whose contents are not indexed by the traditional search engines available on the Clearnet. In simple words, the deep Web consists of the databases and services such as online banking and webmail that are not indexed by the standard search engines. The contents of the deep Web can only be accessed by a direct URL that is not common knowledge. You would have to know the direct URL in order to access a page or IP address. Sometimes, if you even know the direct URL, you cannot get past the public page without a password or other security access. The deep Webcasts netwide and encompasses Dark Web services.
The infamous Dark Web is the part of World Wide Web that consists of different networks. Special software, authorization, and configuration are required to access the information on the dark web. These networks are operated discreetly by individuals and local organizations. The dark web that can be accessed using the Tor browser is also called ‘Onionland.’ This is so because the URLs that are used to access websites using Tor browser always end with .onion, instead of the traditional .com in the Clearnet.
People use Tor browser to access dark web because it ensures security and anonymity for the user. Tor stands for The Onion Router. It uses voluntary overlay networks to direct the traffic of the internet. It helps with concealing the activities and the location of the user from anyone conducting traffic analysis and network surveillance. Using the Tor browser, it becomes difficult for anyone to track the internet activity of any user. They are unable to record the web pages they visit, the clicks they make, the instant messages they send, and the online posts they publish. Anyone can join the Tor network and provide more relays to make the information about themselves anonymous. An easy way is to use a separate VPN, apart from the Tor browser, such as ‘Cyber Ghost.’ In this way, anyone trying to see your activity will not be able to tell if you are using Tor browser or not.
Interestingly, you may not know this, but the government partially funds the Tor network. The main reason for the government to fund the Tor network is to provide an anonymous channel of communications for dissidents and our spies in unfriendly countries. Some people believe the government funds it to view the traffic and information going through it. The dark web, however, is dangerous enough that it should be a deterrent to any novice user. Criminals selling and buying the worst evil can locate you or infect your computer if you are not careful. The best way to stay safe on the dark web is by using as many relays and staying as much off the record as possible.
The dark web is mostly and primarily used for everything illegal. It is used by vendors to sell all types of recreational drugs including hashish, cocaine, marijuana, crystal meth, LSD (acid), mushrooms, heroin, etc. The market on the dark web is not limited to only such drugs, but there are also people on the dark web that anyone can contact and give the assignment to kill someone. Yes, these are hit men who kill other people for money. Some people believe the site offering those services was just a “honeypot” run by the FBI. Talking about the dark web, these things do not even cover the surface of the services provided by the whole market. It is also used for the buying and selling of child porn, rape videos, and videos made while killing other people. So, if you have ever wondered about how you would get there, forget about it. Spend your time on the Clearnet and enjoy you unsafe Internet experience above digital ground.