A collection of websites that exist on an encrypted network and cannot be found by using traditional search engines are called The Dark Web. It is visited by using traditional browsers.
By using the Tor encryption tool, almost all sites on the so-called Dark Web hide their identity. To hide your identity and activity, you may know Tor for its ability. So it appears you’re in a different country to where you’re really located, you can use Tor to spoof your location. It makes it much like using a VPN service.
It has much the same effect when a website is run through Tor.
Indeed, it multiplies the effect. The web user needs to be using Tor Just to visit a site on the Dark Web. It is the website because it is using Tor encryption as the end user’s IP address which is bounced through several layers of encryption to appear to be at another IP address on the Tor network.
To visit a website on the open internet – for both parties, there are several layers of magnitude more secrecy than the already secret act of using Tor.
Thus, it is very difficult to work out who is behind the sites because sites on the Dark Web can be visited by anyone. And if you slip up and your identity is discovered, it can be dangerous.
If you want to know more about using the web anonymously and sending messages securely, you can also read our in-depth guide to using Tor.
Why would I want to use the Dark Web?
Tor is not used by all Dark Web sites. For example, some use similar services such as I2P, the Silk Road Reloaded. But it always the principle remains. The visitor has to know where to find the site, in order to type in the URL and visit, use the same encryption tool as the site and – crucially.
The Silk Road and its offspring are infamous examples of Dark Web sites. For the buying and selling of recreational drugs, the Silk Road was (and maybe still is) a good website and a lot more scary things besides. However, for the Dark Web, there are also legitimate uses.
Totalitarian societies can use the Dark Web to communicate with the outside world for people operating within close. And you may feel it is sensible to take your communication on to the Dark Web with given recent revelations about the US- and UK government snooping on web use.
After The Dark Web was reported 10GB of data stolen from Ashley Madison, the Dark Web hit the headlines in August 2015 (and many times since). On their partners, it is a site designed to enable bored spouses to cheat. It was dumped on to the Dark Web.
If the site did not close down, Hackers stole the data and threatened to upload it to the web. And finally, they acted on that threat. Now blackmail letters have been received to the spouses of Ashley Madison users for demanding they pay $2500 in Bitcoin or have the infidelity exposed.
With a particular focus on cracking down on serious crime rings and child pornography, the UK government launched a dedicated cybercrime unit to tackle the Dark Web in March 2015. Together creating the Joint Operations Cell (JOC) is The National Crime Agency (NCA) and UK intelligence outfit GCHQ.
How to get on the Dark Web
This is not a difficult process technically. To install and use Tor, you simply need. Click to www.torproject.org and then download the Tor Browser Bundle. It contains all the required tools. You must run the downloaded file and choose an extraction location. Then you open the folder and click Start Tor Browser.
When Tor is ready, the Vidalia Control Panel will automatically handle the randomized network setup. And the browser will open; to disconnect from the network, you have just close it again.
To prevent prying eyes watching you, some users recommend placing tape over your laptop’s webcam depending on what you intend to do on the Dark Web. Check out our separate guide on how to use torrent sites in the UK if you’re reading this to find out about torrent files.
Also, stay out of the dark if you want good customer service. Although Dark Web sites do go down from time to time, due to their dark nature.