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Best Dark Web, Darknet and Deep Web Books in 2020

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

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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


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


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?

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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.


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.  



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.



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


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


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


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


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


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.

VICE Motherboard: ‘Buying Guns and Drugs on the Deep Web’ Documentary

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In this documentary, VICE Motherboard shows how shockingly easy it is to buy drugs, guns, and other contraband on the deep web.

The 20-minute long documentary highlights how dark web marketplaces function and how anyone with an Internet connection can easily gain access to almost anything on the deep web.

Buying firearms or illegal narcotics on dark web marketplaces are almost as easy to order online as purchasing a book on Amazon, which is one of the reasons why the term ‘dark web’ has become synonymous with crime.

What Are the Dark Web, Darknet, and Deep Web?

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what is the dark web

The internet is enormous, yet a large part of it remains untouched by most web users. This vast and often overlooked portion of the web is referred to by the names such as the dark web, darknet, and deep web. These terms are used to describe parts of the internet that cannot be accessible to users with standard web browsers.

In this guide, you will find a detailed answer to the question: “What is the dark web, the darknet, and the deep web.”

What is the Deep Web?

what is the deep web

The deep web can simply be described as any web page that is not indexed by a traditional search engine such as Google.

A useful analogy to describe the deep web would be the exploration of the world’s oceans. Humans have over the years built machines like submarines to enable us to explore the vast expanse of the world’s oceans. While we have succeeded in discovering new things in our oceans, we have only managed to scratch the surface. A majority of our oceans cannot be accessed by submarines or people unless specialized hardware is used and the conditions are right.

For many individuals, their web activity is limited to about twenty to fifty websites, with most of it being Google-related sites and services. Similar to the explorer submarines, the search engines scour the internet and display what they find to users.

However, there are servers and sites that standard search engines like Google and Bing are unable to access. This hidden part of the web is known as the deep web.

Experts estimate that the deep web is a hundred times larger than the surface web.

The deep web comprises of mostly legal content that is not listed on search engines and requires special permissions to access such as bank records, password protected pages, encrypted chat records, email correspondence, paid streaming services, and many more.

It is important to note, there are parts of the deep web that you can access through inventive online searches. Also, some sites may opt not to be included in a search engine’s listing, but if you are aware of their IP address or direct URL, you can still access them.

What is the Darknet?

what is the darknet

The darknet is an encrypted network built over the internet which requires specific software and tools to access the network. Rarely do conventional protocols used in the internet work on the darknet.

The darknet provides privacy to its users. An example of a darknet is Tor or sometimes referred to as the ‘Onion router’. To access a darknet you need a special type of darknet browser, such as Tor.

Tor utilizes the hidden service protocol to enter everyday internet websites, but also access many hidden sites that cannot be accessed via conventional browsers. Each site limited to the Tor network has an identifiable .onion address, and thus the Tor network is also known as Onionland.

Another type of darknet is a friend to friend (F2F) network. In this scenario, two people who are familiar communicate directly over the internet. These type of darknet can facilitate the sharing of files via the peer-to-peer (P2P) network. The network can be encrypted and only accessible by the concerned parties.  

What is the Dark Web?

what is the dark web

The dark web is a subset of the deep web. To decipher the dark web you need to understand the distinction between the deep web and darknet, and how these correlate to the regular internet, which in itself is different from the World Wide Web (www).

While the deep web is a part of the World Wide Web that cannot be accessed by search engines, and with darknets being encrypted networks, the dark web can be compared to a World Wide Web of darknets like Freenet, Tor, etc. Essentially, sites and services running on the darknet constitute the dark web.

Scope of the Dark Web

The dark web is often referred to as the seedy underbelly of the internet, with shady dealings and criminal activity running unchecked. According to research by Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid of King’s College in London, up to fifty-seven percent of dark websites sampled in a five-week period, host illicit material.

The reality is that you can purchase a host of illegal items and services on the dark web since it is mostly uncensored. For instance, you can obtain credit card information, stolen subscriptions, drugs, counterfeit products, and hacking software, just to name a few.

You can even buy credentials for a bank account containing thousands of dollars for only a few hundred dollars. You can obtain usernames and passwords to loaded debit cards, Netflix accounts and even buy counterfeit dollar bills.

However, despite the illegal activity on the dark web, there are also a number of legitimate sites and services.

The dark web has become a haven for journalists and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, or even activists protesting against authoritarian regimes.

How Do I Access the Dark Web?

With all the described activities in the dark web, you can easily mistake it for a bustling marketplace, that is easy to navigate. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Navigating the dark web is a messy and chaotic process, which can be attributed to the fact that participants are mostly anonymous and dubious services being offered.

To visit the dark web you need to install a specialized browser that anonymizes your network connections, such as Tor or I2P. The Tor browsers allow you to route your web page requests via a series of proxy servers, hiding your IP address and making your connection untraceable. However, while Tor serves to mask your identity, using it to access the dark web can be slow, unpredictable and at times unreliable.

Search Engines on the Dark Web

Searching the dark web is reminiscent to navigating the internet in the mid-90s.

While dark web search engines exist, the dark web landscape is constantly evolving making it hard for these engines to index sites and services. Search engines like Not Evil, often return results that are repetitive and unrelated to the query.

Nature of Dark Web Websites

As referenced earlier, dark websites have a different naming structure to those of regular sites. While regular sites end with .com or .co, dark websites end with .onion. The special suffix designates an anonymous hidden service, accessible through the Tor network. Only dark web browsers with the appropriate proxy can reach these sites.

Dark web website
Example of a dark web websites: SoylentNews

Moreover, dark web websites use a scrambled naming structure that produces URLs that are almost impossible to recall. Consequently, coming across an unintelligible address such as ‘eajwlvm3z2lcca76.onion’ is normal.

It is important to remember, most dark websites are fronts for scammers who are always on the move to avoid retribution from their victims. Therefore, sites shutting down after a year or so, after fleecing users is common.

In addition, law enforcement agencies have become adept at tracking and prosecuting owners of illegal dark web websites dealing in illicit goods and services.

In May 2019, German police shut down one of the largest dark websites, accused of facilitating the sale of drugs, contraband, stolen data, and malicious software. Still, even with the extra scrutiny from law enforcement, some owners still manage to migrate to new addresses, and therefore users may expect to wake up and find a site has shut down only to reappear days later elsewhere.

Commerce on the Dark Web


Commerce on the dark web has flourished since the rise of digital currencies. The cryptocurrency bitcoin has been instrumental in the growth of dark web marketplaces as it enables pseudonymous decentralized peer-to-peer payments.

However, bitcoin’s pseudonymity and the inherent number of bad actors in the dark web makes it hard to foster a semblance of trust when transacting in the place. Hence, even if you intend to purchase legal items, there is a good chance that you will lose your funds or that you will not receive your purchased goods.

Enforcing any type of quality control such as ratings, reviews; in retail sites is difficult when both buyers and sellers are anonymous. The credibility of any rating system is dubious and can be easily manipulated. Cases of sellers with long track records of delivery, suddenly disappearing with their customers’ digital coins only to resurface under a different identity, are numerous.

Some e-commerce sites have in-built escrows to hold customer funds until there is confirmation of product delivery. However, in case of a dispute do not expect some third-party arbitration. Instead, transacting parties will have to sort it out among themselves. All communication is encrypted, and thus you need a PGP key for the simplest transactions.

Having said that, more and more legitimate websites are starting to have a presence on the dark web. The dark web has practical value for activists, whistleblowers, and journalists who need to communicate in a secure, encrypted manner to avoid potential persecution.

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