For the average person, the name alone brings to mind the drug market, weapons trading and trafficking — but Hancock said this perception isn’t entirely accurate. Simply clicking on an unfamiliar link can infect your device, leading to spyware, ransomware, and other forms of cyber attacks. Without a VPN, you can’t prevent hackers from accessing your information and may even notify your ISP that you’re using the Dark Web, which can lead to blocks and a slower internet connection.
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Nicole Levine, MFA. Nicole Levine is a Technology Writer and Editor for wikiHow. She has more than 20 years of experience creating technical documentation and leading support teams at major web hosting and software companies. Nicole also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University and teaches composition, fiction-writing, and zine-making at various institutions.
Haystak is one of the dark web search engines designed for the Tor network. The search engine claims to have indexed over 1.5 billion pages which includes more than 260,000 websites, Haystak indeed would stand out to be a resourceful engine on the list. Users of the dark web should also realize that although their activity is technically anonymous, associating with people who are conducting illegal activities can have legal implications. Everything you can find with a Google search is part of the surface web. In other words, every part of the web you can see and access by browsing normally. However, this part of the web is just the tip of the iceberg.
Malicious software, also known as malware, is a critical concern and can affect unsuspecting users. Even simply browsing the dark web out of curiosity can expose you to such threats, like phishing malware or keyloggers. While an endpoint security program can identify such threats if they end up on your computer, it’s ideal to avoid them altogether. The short answer is no, it’s not illegal to browse the dark web.
Take Action Against Identity Theft
Neither DuckDuckGo’s dark or normal versions keep a log of your web activity. The best dark web sites provide access to educational materials, host secure services, or bypass government censorship. Dark websites are hidden under layers of encryption that cloak user activity, which can be a boon to whistleblowers, activists, and others who don’t want anyone tracking their activity.
- WebHostingSecretRevealed provides informative articles and free tools for bloggers and small business owners who need help in growing their presence online.
- Dark Web Search Engines exist – but they are not as efficient as search engines you found on the Surface Web.
- That means many of the existing Dark Web Websites will no longer be accessible unless you know their new v3 .onion address.
- When someone is searching on the Internet, they are only accessing 0.03% — or one in 3,000 — of the pages available to them.
- Your email inbox, online banking and Google Drive folders are undiscoverable via a web browser.
While premium VPNs offer anonymity and encryption, free VPNs may pose a risk to your security — some providers intentionally violate your privacy by selling your data to make money. Please note that my team and I don’t condone participation in any illegal activities. You should check the rules and regulations in your country to make sure you don’t break the law. To ensure my private data was hidden with PIA, I connected to a server in France and ran a DNS leak test to check if my real IP address leaked on PIA’s servers. I was glad that my DNS test only detected the IP address for PIA’s encrypted VPN server, confirming I was anonymous on the Dark Web.
Monitor The Dark Web
If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form. Let’s say you want to go on the dark web to see what information of yours, if any, is floating around. You can install the TOR browser on your system by using a virtual private network. A VPN allows people to use a public network as if they were transmitting information on a private one. The system, which is still available today, allows users to express themselves freely without being tracked online. That said, anonymity comes with a dark side since criminals and malicious hackers also prefer to operate in the shadows.
And unlike Silk Road, newer marketplaces are decentralized and better hidden. Because dark web activity bounces signals off nodes or relay sites located in multiple nations all over the globe, investigations are costly and time consuming. Silk Road was perhaps the most notorious dark web black marketplace. Users shopped for anything from drugs to guns, hitman services, and hacked computer programs and accounts.
The Hidden Wallet
For example, cyberattacks and trafficking are activities that the participants know will be incriminating. They take these actions to the dark web to hide for this reason. However, you can still take illegal actions within Tor that could incriminate you regardless of the browser’s legality.
When you connect to the internet using Tor, your data goes through multiple phases of encryption before it’s directed through a random series of servers called ‘nodes’. Weak passwords are one of the easiest ways that a hacker can break into your network and install ransomware. Consider strengthening your passwords and protecting where they’re stored to better leverage your cyber security infrastructure. Stealing private information can also harm your company’s bottom line, seeing as it can be used for a host of nefarious tactics. By gaining access to employee social security numbers, hackers can steal employee identities. Hackers looking to tarnish your business’ reputation canpost on your social media accounts or publish damaging information.