How Anonymity Works on Darknet Websites
And the darknet is popular: it does $300,000 to $500,000 of business every day. But you don't have to be a hacker to access or enjoy it... and you don't have to be found out, either.
Accessing Darknet Websites Anonymously
You can access the darknet right now, but you'll need to prepare in order to protect your anonymity -- and you'll need to understand what darknet websites are and what they aren't.
Surface web, Deep web, Dark web
There are essentially three components of the modern internet:
The Surface Web, which is the web you use every day.
The Deep Web, which isn't sinister at all: merely the sum total of all the web pages that aren't indexed by the major search engines.
The Dark Web or Darknet, which preserves the anonymity of the old internet from the mid-to-late 90s.
If all you're looking for is a deeper info search, use the deep web. Most of what you'll find there are public records, legal and academic documents, library databases, and if you're lucky, members-only websites.
The darknet is another matter entirely.
Anonymity on the Darknet
Keeping your anonymity on darknet websites isn't difficult. For a long time, it was mostly accessible through a browser called TOR.
TOR, which anyone can safely download, stands for The Onion Router, the theory being that the darknet requires layers to be peeled away, like an onion, before you reach a user's true identity.
It's slower than the surface web we've come to know. In fact, it looks a lot like the internet of the 90s. But it will protect your identity.
Only trouble is, your internet service provider (ISP) will know you're using it, which may raise a few eyebrows.
While TOR hides your identity from outside entities by "tunneling" you through another IP address, a VPN is an entire private network that you can access without even your ISP being aware.
You can use TOR to get on the VPN, but your ISP will still know about it. It's best to get on the VPN first and then open your TOR browser; again, this is a slower method of surfing the internet, but it's completely private.
A good VPN is logless, which means it doesn't store records of web traffic or internet sessions. No one will know what you're looking for, or where you went to get it.
P2P networks replicate the style of old '90s services such as Napster in bypassing networks entirely.
I2P and Freenet are two good examples of P2P you can use -- but they won't bring you to TOR websites, which all have a .onion suffix. You still may be able to search for what you want and find it, however.
Darknet Websites: The Old Internet Is the New Internet
Whether you're trying to browse the black market or spread information in a totalitarian country, the darknet is the internet as it was originally intended.
Get TOR, a VPN, encrypted email and some Bitcoin and start exploring below the tip of the iceberg today. You'll be shocked at what you find!
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