Often interchanged for one another, the dark web is not the deep web. The dark web comprises of the part of the internet which is “hidden” and can only be accessed by specific software and configurations. A search engine like Google does not show results of the deep web, nor of the dark web. It should be noted that the dark web is just a part of the deep web and can be accessed via Tor, Freenet, I2P and Riffle.
Some people are curious to visit the dark web. Just so as to see exactly what goes on there. If you are one of the curious ones, before venturing into the dark web, security is the most important thing to be taken into consideration. The dark web will contain bad people, especially hackers and scammers, just to name a few. I often see freaky stories of what happens to users during and after visits to the dark web. No one can be sure how true these stories are. Either ways, just to be on the safe side, security should be prioritized:
- Use a VPN service: Some browsers like Tor come with features for privacy and security. Even so, it’ll be advisable to connect a VPN with which ever service you decide to use. It’s often advised to turn on the VPN before the browser (such as Tor), just for added anonymity.
- Cover your webcam: Call it paranoia or whatever. The dark web is rumored to be a hub for webcam spying. You never know who is watching or what could happen. Webcam hacks could later lead to extortion scams. Just to be on the safe side, use opaque tape to cover up your webcam, or consider a webcam cover such as this.
- No real details: The concept of anonymity is important, so the last thing you want to do is to use your real name or email, which may one day be traced back to you. A real name could be exploited by cyberstalkers. Stalking, whether physically or online, is creepy, so you wouldn’t want that to happen to you. Using an actual email while navigating the dark web, it could fall into the wrong hands, and could be used as a target, maybe for email scams. In cases where an email is a must, Safe-mail.net is an ideal email service for the dark web. Secure and easy to use.
- No downloads: Needless to say, nothing coming from the dark web can be fully trusted. Downloads are a no-no. That’ll be a perfect way to get all forms of malware. If a download must happen, scan the file in question. VirusTotal is a tool for analyzing all files or URLs which may be deemed as suspicious. Another added step is to ensure your computer has an up-to-date antivirus. One can never be too safe.
- Be wary about financial transactions: It wouldn’t be advisable to buy stuff on the dark web, maybe because most of what is sold there is illegal and probably banned. Submitting credit card details is the mother of all bad ideas. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency are the preferred medium of exchange on the dark web for good reasons.
- Watch out for links: Don’t go clicking everything you see. Sure, you’re curious and will really like to see what lies behind every link. Advisably, caution should be exercised. A link could lead to you something you wouldn’t like to see. A link could lead you to a phishing. Links could prompt download of malware. Be suspicious about every URL. Run the link location through a URL scanner service like VirusTotal.
Security can never be a hundred percent guaranteed but even so, security should never be a hundred percent ignored and hopefully, the above tips provide some form of protection. Those who have ventured to the dark web and back wouldn’t advise anyone to follow their footsteps and that the dark web should be avoided.
As it turns out, it’s human nature to be curious, so no one listens.
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