Feranmi Akeredolu - page 4

Feranmi Akeredolu has 37 articles published.

Feranmi is a freelance contributor to the Dark Web Journal. He is an experienced researcher and writer in areas such as decentralization and cryptocurrencies.

Best Dark Web, Darknet and Deep Web Books in 2020

in Deep Web
dark web books

We have compiled a list of the top ten dark web books that you can read to learn more about what the dark web, the darknet and the deep web in 2020.

Top 10 Best Dark Web Books

Silk Road

darknet books

Silk Road by investigative journalist Eileen Ormsby provides detailed insight into the happenings of the pioneering marketplace on the dark web, called Silk Road. Ormsby narrates the rise, success, and fall of Silk Road founded by Ross Ulbricht.

Ormsby’s book is a thorough examination of the dark web and an excellent read for people interested in understanding darknet drug markets. 

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 4.08

Tor Browser: Secrets of the Deep Web, How to Stay Anonymous Online, and Surf the Web Like a Hacker

Tor Browser: Secrets of the Deep Web, How to Stay Anonymous Online, and Surf the Web Like a Hacker by Cooper Alvin is a guide to surfing the internet anonymously.

It is a short book with just 48 pages, written for beginners to learn about computer basics and protocols, general online safety, the Tor browser, and the deep web. The author promises that after reading the book, you will be able to recognise when you are been tracked online and know how to navigate the web like a hacker.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.86

Hacking & Tor: The Complete Beginners Guide To Hacking, Tor, & Accessing The Deep Web & Dark Web

deep web books

Hacking & Tor: The Complete Beginners Guide To Hacking, Tor, & Accessing The Deep Web & Dark Web by Jack Jones is a beginner’s guide to hacking and the Tor network. 

In his book, Jones focuses on tools and techniques used on the Tor network. It also exposes readers to how hacking works and promises to help readers grow from a hacking novice to a hacking expert within a short period.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.8

DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You

dark web book

DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You by Misha Glenny talks about the three fundamental themes he believes are the major threats facing us in the twenty-first century: cybercrime, cyber industrial espionage, and cyberwarfare.

The book explores the rise and fall of the criminal website, DarkMarket. It narrates the story of cybercriminals who operate under pseudonyms, including cops playing criminals in an attempt to arrest the bad actors. 

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.78

The Deep Dark Web: The Hidden World

The Deep Dark Web: The Hidden World was authored by Richard Gatomalo Amores and Peirluigi Paganini to explain the inner workings of the dark web.

The book provides insight into cybercrime, hacktivism, cyber warfare and other subcultures associated with the darknet. The book is useful for getting an overview of the dark web and the main players in the space.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.7

Darknet: A Beginner’s Guide to Staying Anonymous

Darknet: A Beginner’s Guide to Staying Anonymous is a book written by Lance Henderson, which introduces beginners to dark web tools like Tor, Freenet, and Tails. 

The book explains the differences between privacy and anonymity, and discusses various privacy tools and services. The author also provides a general safety guide and highlights precautions to take when on the dark web.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.7

The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld

The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld is a non-fiction book authored by Jamie Bartlett. Bartlett gives a detailed report of online communities on the Dark Web. He gives us a peep into the underground and emergent cultures of the darknet, including drug markets, trolls, pornographers, hackers, political extremists, crypto-anarchists and transhumanists.

He also explains why the dark web has been growing and elaborates on the conflicts that defined its early years. This book is good to read if you want to know the history of the darknet and its subcultures.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.66

Cybercrime and the Darknet: Revealing the Hidden Underworld of the Internet

Cybercrime and the Darknet by Cath Senker is broken down into two parts: cybercrime and the darknet. It covers the world of hackers and cybersecurity professionals; and touches on the brighter side of the darknet. 

This darknet book touches on many websites, topics and events like Wikileaks, cyberbullying, copyright issues, bitcoin, terrorism, hacktivism, and many more. It is a good introduction to cybercrimes on the darknet and the ways governments are trying to clean it up.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.63

Tor and the Dark Art of Anonymity: How to Be Invisible from NSA Spying

Tor and the Dark Art of Anonymity is a technical book written by Lance Henderson, a computer security analyst. It does a deep dive into using Tor services and browsing the dark web. 

Some of the topics discussed in the book include explaining Tor hidden servers, the differences between using Windows and Linux operating systems, using cryptocurrency on the dark web, and how to activate supercookies and encryption.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.31

The Dark Net

The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy is an imaginative techno-thriller. The book is not a hacker story but a paranormal novel that adopts technology, the dark web, to tell a horrific tale. 

The book is based on the premise of “What if demons took over our computers?” The author then goes on to weave together a plot that shows the real dangers we face – like drugs and weapons bought and sold on the dark web – and those beyond comprehension like demons using that part of the web to attack the world. Benjamin Percy shows all these through the eyes of fictional characters. If you love horror, this book would be a good read.

GoodReads.com Reader’s Rating: 3.2

If you want to learn the basics about the “hidden internet”, check out our popular guide “What is the Dark Web, Darknet and Deep Web?

Top 5 Dark Web Scams to Avoid in 2020

in Deep Web
dark web scams

While the dark web provides a platform for free speech and private communication, it is overrun by criminals who try to scam other dark web users.

In this guide, you will discover five of the most common dark web scams you need to avoid while surfing the deep web.

Murder-for-hire Scam

Some platforms on the dark web claim they can help people kill whoever they choose; however, it has been discovered that oftentimes no one ever gets murdered. Instead, these platforms take users’ money and falsely claim that they have killed the person; some platform admins leak users’ information to the police.

People have narrated their experiences about hitmen asking for money upfront, which means they could easily run away without fulfilling the job.

For example, Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, had allegedly hired a hitman while he was running the dark web drug store. But it turned out that the hitman was a DEA agent posing as a hitman. There are rumors of real hitmen sites that lurk on the dark web, but there is little evidence for it.

Gift Card Scams

Gift card fraud is big business, both on the dark web and surface web. Though there are genuine gift cards sold on the darknet, many buyers have also been ripped off.

These gift cards are often obtained fraudulently either using a stolen credit card or hacked PayPal account to purchase the gift cards. The risk of buying such gift cards, even though they sell for a ridiculously low price, is that you become an accomplice to a crime.

Also, there is just no way to verify that the gift cards you are buying from dark web marketplaces are valid. Though most platforms boast that they have a robust escrow system, nevertheless, lots of people are still sold invalid gift cards.

Exit Scams

Perhaps unsurprisingly, exit scams are prevalent on a version web where everyone is anonymous. It occurs when a site administrator shuts down a marketplace without any notice and transfers any money left in the digital wallet or escrow to a personal account.

Darknet vendors tend to disappear entirely after defrauding buyers. Of course, most buyers are not aware of this until it is too late because these stores are often highly rated.

One of the most prominent exit scams was the dark web marketplace Evolution, whose administrators made off with $12 million in bitcoin held in escrow in 2012.

The idea behind an exit scam by a darknet marketplace is to take as much money as possible and run whenever law enforcements are closing in on a store.

Fake Products

There are lots of knock off products on the dark web. From sneakers to watches, there are fake products on sale all over the dark web.

Most marketplaces on the dark web do not have a money-back policy. Whatever users buy is a gamble, and they have to bear the risk.

Of course, some people are comfortable with buying a knock-off version of an expensive brand like Louis Vuitton or Gucci but for those who want to buy the originals, there are better places to shop online than the dark web.

Typosquatting scam

A common tactic used by fraudsters on the darknet to get people’s data or money is called typosquatting.

Malicious actors register a domain and create a website that is a lookalike of a legitimate website, deceiving innocent web surfers.

Typosquatting is much more prevalent with onion sites than the surface web because of the way onion domains work. Onion domains typically have characters that are unmemorizable by an average web user. Example of an onion domain is 8snate4ro3if9v52.onion. This domain type makes it difficult for most people to distinguish between the real website and a fake.

There have been reports that many popular marketplaces on the dark web have lots of lookalikes looking to defraud users.

These slightly modified domain names are some times found in link directories. If you intend to visit a site on the darknet, ensure you get the Tor domain name from the right source and store it; you can then copy and paste into the address bar on subsequent visits.

Dark web scams are just one of many reasons to only access the dark web if you have to and you know what you are doing.

Top 3 Reasons You Should Only Access the Dark Web If You Have To

in Deep Web
Top 3 Reasons You Should Only Access the Dark Web If You Have To

Visiting the dark web is not illegal, but lots of activities and things outside the bounds of common decency can be found on this side of the internet.

For some users, the dark web provides the opportunity to circumvent local restrictions and autocratic government regimes. But then, there are those who use the anonymity of the dark web to conduct criminal activities. Unfortunately, there is a lot of that on the dark web.

In this article, you will discover three reasons why you should only access the dark web if you have to.

1. You May Catch Malware

Malware

The threats of someone hacking into your computer to steal information is much more rampant on the dark web.

Unlike on the surface web, where your browser warns you when you are visiting an unsafe site, the dark web does not provide such tools. When you visit an onion website on the dark web, you need to understand the potential consequences.

Simple things like downloading a file, playing a song or watching a video can lead to malware infecting your computer. You cannot browse the darknet without worrying about someone accessing your computer illegally even when you have antivirus and anti-malware protection.

If you can access the information you are searching for on the surface web, it is better to get it there. Especially, if you are not a sophisticated tech user.

2. You May Get Scammed

Scams

It should not surprise you that there are lots of scams on the dark web. Just like there are scammers on the surface web, it is a lot worse on the dark web. On this side of the web, most people are anonymous and can easily use ads, forums, and other techniques to take people’s money.

These scams come in several forms, which could include:

  • Selling fake products

Research has shown that some of the products sold – both legal and illegal products – are often fake. The vendor receives the money but delivers substandard products to the buyer, knowing that they would be untraceable.

  • Investment scams

Dark web investment scams promise unbelievable returns to get people to hand over their money. Why anyone would believe a stranger on the dark web is a mystery but apparently, people do fall for them.

  • Charity fraud

They play on people’s emotions and convince them to hand over donations to support fake causes or give relief to victims of a disaster.

  • Work-at-home job scams

Some scammers use ads to lure people into realistic-sounding work-at-home opportunities. Then they request that you pay some money upfront for some educational materials. This is also a common scam found on the surface web.

3. You May Stumble Upon Illegal Content

Illegal content

Be careful what you click on! What you see, cannot later be unseen.

Illegal content is one of the most common things found on the dark web. There is a lot of obscene, illegal, and immoral content available on the underbelly of the internet.

Perhaps most prominently, the dark web is cluttered with illegal pornography. Whatever inhuman sexual act you can think of, you will likely find it on the dark web. According to a report by Wired Magazine, research conducted by the University of Portsmouth found that child abuse-related sites are about two percent of Tor hidden service websites but often get the most traffic.

The dark web also plays a huge role in online piracy. Some illegal onion sites provide pirated music or leaked movies that are not even yet in theatres. Purchasing and downloading pirated movies and music on the dark web is not only illegal it is also very risky as your computer can easily be infected with malware through these type of downloads.

You can visit the dark web if you really need to, but know that there are risks.

What Can You Buy on the Dark Web?

in Deep Web
what can you buy on the dark web

Dark web does not necessarily mean dirty business, but a good chunk of what is sold on that part of the internet is illegal.

Every murky thing imaginable is sold on illicit marketplaces on the darknet, which is why the dark web has earned its reputation as being the digital equivalent of the criminal underworld.

To illustrate the sheer amount of illicit activities on darknet marketplaces, we have compiled a list of some of the weirdest, craziest and most horrendous things you can buy on the dark web.

Drugs 

what can you buy on the dark web

Hard drugs come at the top of the most popular products sold on the dark web. Prescription drugs like Xanax and Ritalin are popular while heroin, cocaine, and meth are commonplace too.

Private vendors on darknet marketplaces also sell research chemicals and any illegal substance you can imagine. Most deals on these marketplaces are completed using escrow and digital currencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, and monero are the payment methods of choice for dark web marketplace users and vendors.  

Hitmen 

hitman

Some are real while many are scams but, it is a fact, that you can hire an assassin on the darknet.

Members of the criminal underworld have set up murder-for-hire sites with many of them deploying marketing tactics to attract customers. Payments are usually made in the privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero.

Government agencies like the FBI heavily monitor these platforms and many believe that the majority of both buyers and “vendors” of these services are members of law enforcement agencies who are trying to catch the criminals behind the handful of “real” murder-for-hire networks.

Guns

guns

A wide range of guns can be purchased on darknet marketplaces without the need for necessary paperwork or authorization.

A research study in 2019 showed that over sixty-four percent of the firearms advertised were handguns, 17 percent were semi-automatic guns, and fully automatic guns were 4 percent.

Bomb-making materials

what can you buy on the dark web

Terrorists are believed to use the anonymity provided by the dark web to buy materials for making C4 explosives and other homemade bombs.

Somewhat shockingly, pretty much all types of bomb-making materials can be found on the dark web provided the buyer spends enough time looking for it. Even uranium, used in the production of atomic bombs, has allegedly been seen for sale on the darknet.

Fake documents

passport

Fugitives and people seeking to start a new life for whatever reasons are usually in need of new documents like birth certificates, ID cards, and passports. The dark web enables these individuals to get what they need.

While there are no guarantees that fake passports and other ID documents purchased on the dark web can get someone access a border, individuals who are in need of a fake ID can purchase it online for a relatively small amount of money.

Stolen identities and information

ID

Hackers who have been able to steal data from a public system usually sell this information on the dark web. After a major data breach, personal information is bought and sold to others on the dark web in hacking forums or on darknet marketplaces.

When Facebook accounts were hacked in 2018, it was reported that users information were being sold on the dark web. The data was sold for as little as $3.

Hacked credit cards

credit cards

Stolen credit cards are one of the most common items found on darknet marketplaces. Criminals will clone credit card or using phishing methods to get their hands on them and then sell them on the dark web.

Credit cards are often sold in batches of 100 at prices as low as $17. They are sold that way because there are no standard ways to know when a credit card has reached its usage limit.

Stolen cars

car

People who get involved in auto theft have a marketplace on the dark web where stolen cars can be bought and sold with complete anonymity.

In some cases, cars can even be stolen on demand. It works by first placing your order on a marketplace and then providing your mobile phone number. Then. it takes about three and seven days for a car of your chosen model (BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota or any other car model) to be stolen. It is delivered to your city in a location both buyer and seller agrees to.

Stolen Netflix Accounts

Netflix

Despite Netflix only costing $10 a month, some individuals will rather illegally buy a Netflix subscription off the dark web. These subscriptions are mostly paid for with stolen credit cards or digital currency.

Hackers are able to access Netflix users’ account names and passwords through phishing campaigns and then sell these details on darknet marketplaces for small amounts of money.

Hacked PayPal Accounts

PayPal

Just like Netflix subscription, Paypal account details can be purchased. Vendors sell PayPal login details to criminals on darknet markets who then drain the accounts of their funds.

The sheer amount of criminal activity found on the dark web should act as a warning to ensure that you adhere to basic cybersecurity principles, such as not clicking on any links in emails from unknown senders and to think twice before handing over personal information to anyone as it could easily end up being sold on the dark web.

How to Use ‘Pretty Good Privacy’ (PGP) Encryption to Communicate Privately Online

in Privacy
pretty good privacy

Communicating securely and privately online has never been more important than today where personal data is being harvested by governments and corporations to the detriment of the individual. Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption is a technology that makes it possible to send and receive information securely and privately online.

PGP is a free and open encryption technology available to the public for encrypting, decrypting, signing, and verifying files and messages. So far, the technology has proven difficult to crack.

Below, you will find a simple guide to Pretty Good Privacy, including how it works, setting it up in a few minutes, and how to send your first encrypted message.

How Does PGP Encryption Work?

PGP Encryption

PGP helps to safeguard data on email systems, computers, hard drives, removable media, files, and even cloud-based applications.

This digital data encryption software was developed by Phil Zimmermann, a cryptographer and director at Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) from 1997-2000.

A simplified process of how PGP works for sending an encrypted email:

  • Create a message as a sender
  • Encrypt your message using the public key of the recipient
  • Send your encrypted message through whichever email server
  • The recipient or receiver decrypts your encrypted message with a private key, which then enables them to read the message.

Now, the process outlined above is a general overview. The PGP software comes in several variations: OpenPGP, PGP, and GPG.

PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, the initial proprietary protocol, was released in 1991. It comes at a fee since Symantec Corp. acquired PGP Corp., the company who held the rights to the PGP code.

Symantec developed a variety of encryption products based on the PGP code including Symantec Information Centric Encryption, Endpoint Encryption, Symantec Desktop Email Encryption, File Share Encryption, and Gateway Email Encryption

OpenPGP: An open-source version which has become a universally-accepted PGP standard was developed in 1997.

GPG: GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) is an independent implementation of the OpenPGP standards. That means you can use it to send and receive encrypted messages from people using other OpenPGP applications.

However, what is standard in each of this encryption standard is the use of public and private keys. Though, the algorithm used to implement encryptions depends on the solution.

What is a Private And a Public Key?

PGP key

A private key allows you to decrypt the messages sent to you. Private keys can also be used to generate file signatures. File signatures are used to authenticate identity and prove that a message is complete. A private key must never be shared with anyone.

A public key enables you to encrypt a message. Your public key can be made public so that others can send messages to your address.

How Do You Set Up PGP?

One of the most recommended PGP encryption software is Gpg4win. Gpg4win is the official distributor of GPG for Windows operating systems.

For MacOS, you can get GPGTools. It is a paid package that has an email plugin for Apple Mail, a service to use GPG in almost any application, a key manager and an engine to use GPG with the command line. Other options include Canary Mail, Mutt, and Enigmail.

To use PGP on Linux, you can opt for Seahorse, Kleopatra, Mutt or Enigmail.

PGP

To provide an example of how to send a private message using PGP, we will use Gpg4win to explain the process of creating public and private key pairs and sending an encrypted email.

Step 1: Download Gpg4win. Then double click the executable package and begin the installation. The installation procedure is similar to other software.

Step 2: During installation, you would be asked to choose the components you want to install. Using the default options is recommended here.

Step 3: After installing GPG4win, you need to launch Kleopatra, one of the components you installed in Step 2. It is the graphical front-end for the software. You can find the Kleopatra program inside the GPG4win installation file.

Step 4: Inside Kleopatra, click on ‘New Key Pair’ to create your public and private keys. A box would show for you to enter your name and email address.

Step 5: Click “Next” after inputting the required data in Step 4; you would be taken to another window to review the information for the key pairs (public and private keys). Press the ‘Create Key’ button after review. After that, you would be prompted to create a strong passphrase that would allow you to access your messages. Ensure you keep the passphrase safe.

Once you forget the passphrase, it cannot be recovered. That means encrypted data and emails will be inaccessible.

Step 6: The application would give you the opportunity to backup your public key, send it by email or upload it to a directory email service.

Step 7: To encrypt your first message: click on ‘Clipboard’, then ‘Encrypt in Kleopatra’. An empty box would pop up where you can paste your message and also add recipients.

You would need to add the public key of the recipient of your message. You could either check for the person’s public key on a key server by going to ‘File’ then ‘Lookup Certificates on Server’ or ask the recipient to send you their public key, which you could then import into Kleopatra.

Step 8: Once you have added a recipient, click ‘Next’, and the encryption process will take place. Copy and paste your message to a word processor after encryption; you would only see a bunch of gibberish. You can then send this encrypted message through any email server to the recipient.

pretty good privacy

Only the owner of that public key can decrypt your message with their own private key. The receiver would follow almost the same process for encryption to decrypt the message.

That is how you can send a secure, private message to anyone across the globe using PGP encryption!

Best Anonymous Dark Web Browsers in 2020

in Deep Web
dark web browsers

Most people who access the internet spend their time online on the surface web – the part of the worldwide web that is reached with popular browsers and search engines. Similar to the surface web, to access the dark web, you need a browser. However, the dark web is the portion of the internet where anonymity, privacy, and security is a big deal. To navigate the dark web, you need a dark web browser that is secure, anonymous and keeps your online activities private.

We have compiled a list of the best anonymous browsers that place emphasis on privacy, security, and user-friendliness, namely:

  • Tor Browser
  • Brave
  • Orfox
  • JohnDoFox

1. The Tor Browser

best anonymous browser

The most popular privacy network on the dark web is called TOR – The Onion Router. It was developed originally for government use before it was made accessible to the public. One of the primary utility of the TOR network is that it allows users to access .onion websites, created for maximum privacy.

The main browser developed to access “.onion” site extensions is the Tor browser. It is the most popular and one of the best anonymous browsers for users who wish for anonymity on the internet.

How Does the Tor Browser Work?

The Tor browser enables connection requests to be re-routed several times on the network before reaching their destination.

For example, if a user in the United States is trying to connect to a website in South Africa, the browser would route the request through several nodes from the U.S. to London to Sydney to Brazil and, finally, to the destination, South Africa. That way, your internet privacy is kept intact.

How to Use the Tor Browser

You can download the latest version of this dark web browser on the Tor project page. The browser is available for most operating systems including Windows, Apple OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS.

The user interface is familiar, which means you do not need a manual if it is your first time. The design is similar to Firefox, with only a few changes.

The known downside to using the Tor Browser is speed. Ensure you have a good internet connection to make surfing the deep web smooth.

2. Brave

anonymous browsers

This relatively new anonymous browser added Tor routing in 2018 as a tab option for users. Brave lets you have access to the surface web and websites that are running Tor, allowing you to do all of your browsings on one platform.

Moreover, Brave enables in-browser monetization of the “attention economy” through its native digital token, BAT, which is why this browser has become very popular in the cryptocurrency community.

How to use Brave Browser

Step 1: Download the Brave browser on their website.

Step 2: After installation, open the browser.

Step 3: Navigate to the File menu, then choose “New Private Tab with Tor,” and it automatically switches to a Tor dashboard. Then, you can begin to browse the dark web.

The Brave browser Tor integration comes with the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo search engine, which means you can do a quick search for onion sites easily.

3. Orfox

dark web browser

Since 2005, this app has been the only recommended mobile application for the Tor network. This dark web browser for mobile was built using the same code as the desktop Tor browser with only a few changes. The key advantage of this application is that it provides the ability to access the darknet anonymously everywhere you are.

The Tor project has said it would phase out this app and replace it with Tor Browser for Android, which is still only in the alpha stage at the time of writing.

How to use Orfox

Step 1: Your phone has to be on the Android operating system. Go to the Google Play Store and download Orfox.

Step 2: You have to download the Orbot application from the Play store also to use Orfox. Orbot uses Tor to encrypt your internet browsing and bouncing your requests around the series of nodes on the Tor network.

Step 3: Open these applications, and start using Orfox to browse the darknet.

4. JonDoFox

dark web browser

This little-known darknet browser developed by the JonDonym group is optimized for anonymous browsing and was built based on the Tor Browser. It features lots of useful add-ons, like No-Script, AdBlock Plus, and CS Lite.

The browser is available for download on the following operating systems: Windows (64 bit), MacOS X (64 bit) and Linux.

How To Use JonDoFox

To access the dark web with this anonymous browser, you need to:

Step 1: Download JonDoFox and the Tor network.

Step 2: Install both programs.

Step 3: After installation, start the Tor software. Next, start up the JonDoFox browser.

Step 4: With the JonDoFox, you can decide to browse using a custom proxy, the default JonDo proxy or Tor (if you installed the Tor network already). Use the button in the upper left corner of the browser to switch between these different proxy options.

Generally, most people accessing the dark web default to using the Tor Browser. It incorporates everything you need to browse the web anonymously on the Tor network. Using other browsers is considered riskier and often not recommended by industry experts.

How to Access Onion Websites Using a Darknet Browser in 2020

in Deep Web/Features
darknet browser

A significant portion of the Internet is made up of the deep web. Navigating this part of the Internet requires special networks, tools, and web applications.

In this guide, you will learn how onion websites work, how to access them using a darknet browser, and some basic security measures you need to take while surfing the dark web.

Onion Websites

Onion sites offer anonymous hidden service and are only accessible with darknet browsers.

These websites are designed to allow communication only via specific means, making the information provider and the person accessing a piece of information hard to trace. You can not access these onion sites through Google or view them using a normal Internet browser. The Googlebot can neither crawl nor index them. However, you could find onion sites with deep web search engines and through websites that offer dark web links directory like The Hidden Wiki.

A lot of onion sites are not illegal like many think; there are regular forums, blogs, and websites with the onion extension. Also, activists in oppressive regimes often use the Tor network to access websites that have been blocked and exchange ideas without getting detected.

Onion addresses are generally obscure, containing 16 character alpha-semi-numeric hashes which are generated using a public key when configuring a service on the Tor network. For example, an address could look like this: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/.

The necessary tools required to access an onion website are the Tor network and a browser that can connect to this network, the most popular being the Tor Browser.

Darknet Browsers

There are several few darknet browsers that you can use to surf the deep web. They include:

The most widely used dark web browser is the TOR Browser. It actually paved the way for other darknet web browsers.

The free TOR browser makes it difficult for your Internet browsing activities and location to be traceable by serving webpages through multiple nodes. Volunteers spread across the world manage these nodes. However, to be able to mask your identity completely, you would need a VPN service alongside the TOR browser.

How to Access Onion Websites

Onion Websites

1. Download Tor

Downloading and installing Tor is straightforward. Head over to the Tor download page https://www.torproject.org/download/ to get the latest version of the Tor Browser. You would have a choice to select your preferred operating system.

Currently, Tor is available for:

– Windows

– Apple OS X

– Linux

– Android

– iOS

If you have advanced knowledge of computer programming, there is the option to download the Tor source code and compile it yourself.

Once you have downloaded the software, the procedure for installation follows the same process as any other average software: Double click on the file, choose a language, pick an install location, and start the installation.

2. Set Up a VPN

Internet Service Providers (ISP) can identify when a client is using Tor. So, it is advisable to connect to Tor via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to add another layer of protection and privacy.

VPNs allow you to access the web through private servers, which would help to mask your location.

3. Start Tor Browser

When you start the browser, it establishes a Tor circuit and connects you to the Tor network. One of the popular search engines on the darknet is DuckDuckGo. The search engine prioritizes the protection of user’s data.

You can access DuckDuckGo’s search engine on the TOR network through this URL: http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/.

Safety Measures on the Darknet

1. Always ensure that your .onion URLs are accurate.

2. Verify any URL from several sources before accessing it. If you are confident that you have the correct URL, copy and paste in an encrypted note; the Tor browser does not support caching.

3. Be careful not to click any links when you are surfing the darknet. Use only known trusted web directories to cross-check an onion website address.

4. Turn off scripts by clicking the “S!” button at the top left corner before the address bar in the Tor browser. This could prevent hackers from hijacking your PC by scripting malware.

5. It is recommended to always check for new updates to Tor and ensure you have the latest version of the software.

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