The dark web is gaining more users every day because of its increasing popularity. Some people join this web to see news sites, while others prefer to use social media platforms on the dark net. However, many beginners don’t know much about the dark web.
If you want to learn about things that you should keep in mind while using the dark net, you don’t have to look far. Here is all the information you need.
Always Be Cautious On The Dark Web
People may tell you that the dark web is completely safe to browse, but that is not the case. The internet may be private with high security, but there are still some risks. These are mainly because of the users that are on the dark net.
Some people may run scam sites on this part of the internet. Phishing incidents are highly common on the dark web. Even if you visit the dark net for legal reasons, it is easy to encounter a bad website that can dampen your experience.
There are some steps that you can take to be cautious while using the dark web. For example, do not reveal your personal information on any site on this net. Most platforms do not use SSL certificates on the dark web, so you will not be able to distinguish between a fake and an authentic website.
You should also do your due diligence before visiting public onion URLs. If your friends or loved ones use the dark web, ask them about the site you want to visit. Verifying its authenticity from multiple sources will save you from encountering a scam platform.
It is also ideal to avoid clicking on links that may pop up on a site you regularly use on the dark web. The platform you’re using may be genuine, but ads and links posted there may not be.
The Government May Be Watching
People have a misconception that law enforcement agencies cannot access dark websites. They also believe that the government cannot monitor their activity because their identity is kept anonymous on the dark web. However, these things are partially true.
Dark websites use security features that make it difficult for law agencies to monitor them. However, the government has been advancing its technology to crack down on illegal platforms on the web. This is why your visit to the site may be recorded.
Your anonymity also depends on the security precautions you take while using the dark web. If you’re not using a VPN while browsing the internet, your IP address may be revealed. So even with a hidden identity, the authorities may use the IP tracing method to find your exact location.
The best way to keep yourself secure on the dark web is by avoiding things that you avoid in real life. For instance, do not engage in criminal activity on this web. Avoid purchasing illegal items such as weapons and drugs.
You can also enhance your security by downloading a paid VPN service such as ExpressVPN when using the dark net. Such apps work better than free versions, so your connection will not be disrupted.
Dark Web Sites With Invite-Only Options Usually Engage In Criminal Activities
All websites on the dark net are not available for all users. Some platforms are designed with additional security features to offer a safer experience. Such platforms only allow people to join their forum or sales through an invite.
This means you will need an invitation link from an insider to join the platform. The main purpose of such a feature is to prevent law enforcement officers from monitoring their activity easily. They will not be able to see the site content unless their entry has been approved by the platform’s admin.
Remember, most sites with an invite-only feature operate illegally and engage in risky actions. For example, Genesis Market, which the government cracked down on for selling stolen data on the dark net, allowed only invited members.
If you encounter such a site on the dark net, avoid finding someone who can send you the invitation. Instead, steer clear of it in the future to keep yourself secure. Visiting a site that the government is watching can put you on their radar.
You can also research the platform’s purpose if you believe it is safe to join through an invitation. Some discussion forums may have this option to offer more safety to people who want to exercise their right to freedom of speech.
You Must Know What You Are Searching For
The dark net has a wide variety of platforms, some of which are illegal and risky to use. This is why browsing things on the internet can get you in trouble. This trouble may come in the form of phishing scams, police investigations, and malware.
There is one basic but important way to avoid these risks on the dark net. You should always know what you are searching for. If you want to view international news without censorship restrictions, you can visit the legitimate BBC Tor version.
This site is a better option than news websites that are run by dark internet users instead of a proper company. ProPublica is another official investigative journalism platform that is on the normal internet and the dark net.
You can find many other sites that are available on the regular internet and has a Tor version for ease of use. Avoid clicking on onion links that you find on search engines on the dark internet. They may not offer updated news or may be monitored by the government.
Some platforms may also be designed like authentic news websites, but they may publish articles spreading false rumors. Always understand your needs and the type of platforms you want to visit. Then, perform thorough research to find legitimate sites that offer you what you want without compromising your security.
One Website Has Many Versions
On the normal internet, you would only find one URL for a website. However, that is not the case on the dark net. A single platform can have many mirror versions run by different people. Some of these are genuine sites that try to gain visitors to an already launched site.
Others may create a fake platform with a similar name to get traffic and earn through ads. They may also try to scam you by encouraging you to reveal your information. The prime example of a site that has multiple mirror versions is The Hidden Wiki.
This directory offers users URLs of multiple dark websites to make navigating this internet easier. You may encounter fake versions of the directory, which may call them “The Official Hidden Wiki” or “The Original Hidden Wiki,” to attract visitors to the authentic directory. Many links on these false platforms may be illegal, taken down, or scam.
This is why you will have to research a website thoroughly to find its authentic onion link. Because of mirror platforms, many original sites have been discredited on the dark web, causing them to lose a lot of their daily visitors.
Bitcoin Is The Primary Currency On The Dark Web
Some users believe that personal credit or debit cards cannot be used. This is because the dark web is mainly associated with cryptocurrency. While you can use your personal cards on the internet, you are advised not to do that because it will make your anonymity futile.
Using personal cards means that your personal information will be revealed. The government will also be able to track your purchase through card activity. This is why Bitcoin is the primary currency that one should use on the dark web.
Other cryptocurrencies are also accepted during transactions, but Bitcoin is readily available. The main purpose of using this coin is that you will not have to reveal your personal information. Digital crypto wallets are also at low risk of hacking.
So you will not have to worry about unknown people getting access to your funds. A mixer can also help you participate in transactions while keeping your and the other party’s identities hidden. Purchasing things is also easier with Bitcoin because most sites may not accept real money from credit cards.
The best thing is that you can also find a dark wallet to store your cryptocurrency for enhanced security. If you don’t want to engage in crypto activities, avoid purchasing things on the dark net.
The Dark Web Is Home To Many Drug Markets
You may find online drug markets on the regular internet, but the dark net is said to be the home of such platforms. Some people also give credit to this net for giving rise to online drug marketplaces. The Silk Road was the first and most extensive drug market of the dark net.
It paved the path for other illegal markets on the dark net. These platforms can vary from selling marijuana to hardcore drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Some marketplaces also sell accessories for smoking and taking drugs.
Always avoid such markets on the dark web because they are at higher risk of government monitoring. You may have to pay a hefty fine for simply visiting such a site. If it engages in extreme illegal activities, you may even get jail time regardless of whether you purchased anything or not.
Many markets, such as Silk Road and Hydra Market, have been taken down by the government, but other platforms are bouncing back. Some people have also created mirror versions of the old sites. Drug markets on this net are shifting towards wholesale for more profitability.
A site that may be selling drugs may have an invite-only access feature. If you see such a popup, close the link immediately for your safety.
The Dark Web Is Legal
Your friends and family members may discourage you from using the dark net by deeming it illegal. This is not true because this part of the net has been created by the US government. Opening the Tor browser to view the dark internet is completely legal.
No trouble will follow you for downloading Tor or using the dark web’s search engine. Things will only become risky if you visit illegal sites or engage in sensitive discussions on public platforms. Mindful usage of the dark net will allow you to use it without intervention by law enforcement agencies.
The best way to be mindful is by avoiding search engines on the dark net. You should use an authentic directory to find links for a safer experience. It is also better not to tell people that you use the dark web so that they do not report you to authorities.
A report to the authorities will not get you into trouble if you use the dark net to browse legal sites that are on the regular internet. However, you may face issues if your activity is checked and it shows you’ve engaged in illegal transactions.
So while the dark net is legal, platforms on it may not be. You have to choose carefully which site to visit and which to avoid for the best user experience.
Dark Web Sites Disappear Suddenly
Creating social network ID’s on the dark internet is risky because the sites may disappear without any warning. This can happen if the government takes the platform due to illegal sales or discussions. All your data on the site will be deleted during a takedown.
Some sites also disappear because their admin no longer wants to manage the platform. People who run discussion forums or chatting platforms on this web get bored easily. This is why whenever you close the dark net, be prepared that the next time you visit the same site, it may not be available.
This is why avoid storing data on your chatting platforms or other sites. If you received an address or number from someone on a messaging website, note these things immediately. Avoid using platforms that let you make a backup of your photos and videos.
If such a platform disappears, you will lose the pictures and videos forever. The dark net is mainly suitable for temporary activities. Creating personal connections on this web is not ideal because if a site is removed, you will not have any other method to contact that person.
You should also write authentic onion links elsewhere because every time you close the Tor browser, all its history will be erased.
Webcam Hijacking Is Easily Possible On The Dark Web
Trusting sites on the surface web is easier because you can see their SSL certificates and other information to confirm their authenticity. Dark sites do not have such things, so you cannot know if a scammer is behind it. One of the most common things that can happen on this net is webcam hijacking.
Some websites that look legitimate may put a remote administration tool (RAT) on your device. This gives them access to your webcam, allowing them to see you through the device. Remember, the person does not have to be within your vicinity to put an RAT on your computer.
They can use the webcam to illegally record your activities in your room. Some may even sell the clip on different marketplaces on the dark internet. Hackers may also use your webcam recording to blackmail you for giving access to personal funds.
The best way to avoid being a victim of webcam hijacking is to cover the camera of your device whenever you use the dark net. A black tape will cover the webcam perfectly so that even if someone gets access to it, they cannot see what you are doing or identify you. It is also good to turn off mic access for better security.
Malware Attacks Are Prevalent On The Dark Web
Another to keep in mind when using the dark web is that a site can add malware to your device without you knowing. Opening a link can infect your computer with a malicious link, allowing people to steal data from your laptop.
If you have sensitive office data on your laptop, avoid using the same device for dark net browsing. You should also ensure there are no personal documents or pictures on the device. Another way to avoid malware attacks is by installing antivirus software.
Using apps such as Avast while browsing the dark net will notify you before opening a suspicious link. You can avoid the blacklisted sites to keep your data safe.
Some programs may also tell you whether the site has a virus or other ransomware.
These are the top eleven things you must remember when using the dark web. Browsing sites on the internet can be risky if you are not mindful and don’t have the correct security apps. A VPN and antivirus software are must-have things when using the dark net.
You should also download the Tor browser from its official site instead of using third-party links. These precautions will keep you safe from scammers on the dark net.