What is the dark web? Is it really that dangerous? The sites that we can visit through a simple search on a search engine (for example Google) are only a part of the Internet: there are many others hidden, in some cases accessible only under certain conditions. These are portals that often contain illegal content, or in any case pitfalls that need to be handled with great care. In this in-depth analysis we will see what is the dark webwhat’s inside it, what the possible risks are and how to access it with the necessary protections.
- What is the dark web: meaning and definition
- Dark web, how to access and navigate
- What happens if you enter the dark web?
- Is browsing the dark web illegal?
- Dark web: all the risks and dangers to consider
- How to browse the dark web safely
What is the dark web: meaning and definition
The dark web, by definition, is an intentionally hidden part of the web, accessible only through browser and specific connections to browse and publish content in an easy way anonymous. It is not possible to visit the pages of the dark web via traditional search engines, such as Google, because the contents do not lend themselves to indexing and are therefore hidden. The idea of the dark web was born in 1999 as a project by Ian Clarke, American student at the University of Edinburgh, who created a free Internet platform, the “Freenet”, with two underlying needs: anonymity and free publication.
So what is the dark web? It’s about a overlapping network to the one usually used that exists on encrypted layers of the webaccess to which requires specific tools, unlike the “surface web”: that space of the Internet that can be consulted via search engines.
Three years later it sees the light TOR (The Onion Routing project), i.e. the dark web network and at the same time the browser that allows access to it. From that moment on, the project has developed more and more and is used by users who require browsing in a completely anonymous way. The dark web is often associated with illegal activities, such as:
- the sale of drugs;
- stolen data;
- hacking services;
- pornographywith greater emphasis on those categories prosecuted by law;
However, answering the question “what is the dark web” with “the place of criminal activities” could be simplistic. There are also many networks and websites dedicated to freedom of expressionat the protection of journalists in high-risk areas and to communities living under repressive regimes and seeking a safe way to communicate or access censored information.
It remains established that, due to its underground nature and the potential anonymity it offers, the dark web can easily become a haven for illegal and dangerous activities. Therefore, it is essential to approach with caution and awareness.
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The difference between dark web and deep web
The dark web and the deep web are terms that are often used synonymously, but in reality they indicate distinct sets of resources on the Internet. Let’s see first what is the deep web, this term refers to all parts of the Internet that are not indexed by search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. This includes databases, private archives, password-protected forums and any other type of online resource that is not accessible to the public. Other examples of what the deep web includes are academic databases, digital archives, private email accounts, online bank account information, and any other service that requires authentication. Most of what can be found inside is legal.
In contrast, the dark web is a part of the internet that is intentionally hidden and made inaccessible. We have seen that not all the material available here is illegal, but most of it is. So the difference between deep web and dark web is mainly this: while the former includes all online resources not indexed by search engines (both harmless and otherwise), the latter is just a hidden section of the Internet that requires specialized software to access.
What is the surface web
For completeness, given what the dark web is, we dedicate a paragraph to the definition of its opposite. The surface web is the portion of the Internet that is easily accessible to the general public and indexed by standard search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The term refers to all web resources that can be found through a standard search with traditional search engines.
It is the “visible” part of the Internet, which includes websites such as those of companies, blogs, news, video portals, social media platforms and any other sites that can be openly accessible without the use of software specific. Anyone with an Internet connection and a browser can access it.
Dark web, how to access and navigate
As anticipated by the definition of dark web, this section of the network cannot be reached as in the case of a common Internet page. The next step is therefore to ask yourself “how to access the dark web”. The most common way is to do it through the browser Tor. The latter redirects traffic through a series of voluntary nodes, making it difficult for anyone monitoring online activity to identify it who is accessing what.
To use it you need to go to the official Tor project website (torproject.org) and download the program. It is best to ensure that you download it only from the official website to avoid modified versions that could compromise security.
Once downloaded, you need to follow the instructions to install the browser on your PC. After the installation process is finished, you will be able to access the dark web. However, it is good to take some precautions, including avoiding downloading files from the dark web and clicking on suspicious links.
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What happens if you enter the dark web?
Many users are curious to know what happens if you enter the dark web. First of all, if you decide to explore it, it is essential to do so with caution, awareness and responsibility. It is important to have a clear understanding of the risks involved and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself. Entering this part of the Internet itself does not immediately cause problems or negative consequences. However, what you do there, as well as the tricks used during access, can determine the outcome of the experience, positive or negative.
The dark web hosts a variety of content, much of which is illegal or objectionable. You may come across markets for drugs, weapons, hacker services and other criminal material. There are also sites that show extremely questionable or sensitive activities. Exposure to disturbing, traumatic or violent content can also have negative effects on mental health.
In this “dark” part of the web there are numerous scams, it is in fact fertile ground for scammers, hackers and criminals. Choosing to shop there means you risk losing your money, becoming a victim of fraud, or receiving illegal or counterfeit goods.
Is browsing the dark web illegal?
While merely browsing the dark web is not illegal in most countries, the activities within it can be. This includes the sale and purchase of drugs, weapons, stolen data, child pornography and more. Engaging in such activities or downloading illegal materials can have serious legal consequences.
In this sense, it is essential to be aware of the laws and regulations in your country and act accordingly. So, one can certainly say that in itself Browsing the dark web is legal, but certainly dangerous.
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Dark web: all the risks and dangers to consider