Dark Web Sites: What You Should Know Before Visiting

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Yes, technically, dark web sites are known to be illegal – but that doesn’t stop webmasters to start one every day in the next minute. Contrary to popular belief, not all dark web sites are illegal. In this article, we dive deeper into the other side of the world, or in this sense, the other side of the world wide web (WWW). 

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What is the dark web exactly? 

In simple terms, the dark web is a part of the World Wide Web that is hidden from the public’s eye. Most of these websites don’t even get indexed by any search engine. This is why if you are planning to start your own dark web site, it is best to go for a normal web hosting server rather than an SEO web hosting server. Dark web sites would disable the robots.txt file, which is an index file that allows web pages to be shown on search engines. Hence, though websites are encouraged to be SEO-friendly, this is not the case for dark web sites. The whole idea of dark websites is to maintain anonymity within its own encrypted network. When it comes to payments or transactions, most of the time you will be using cryptocurrency, which is also called Bitcoin, as the main method of payment since it is anonymous. Ever since the birth of Bitcoin, the dark web has seen significant growth, and vice versa. 

How to access the dark web? 

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Unlike other websites, you can access it through any web browser such as Bing, Google or Yahoo. For dark web, however, you are only allowed to access it through a special browser called The Onion Routing (Tor) or Invisible Internet Project (I2R). The URLs that exist on the dark web have special links with a ‘.onion’ suffix at the end of it. This is also why onion is chosen as the official logo of Tor. Most of these web browsers ensure every user’s IP addresses are randomized to avoid it being traceable. Those who are looking to maintain an anonymous identity online such as journalists reporting about war zones or military personnel would visit the dark web daily. 

What kind of information is being shared on the dark web? 

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Instead of standalone web pages, most of the dark web sites consist of forums and users illegally selling products, primarily drugs and fake driver’s licenses.  There are several chat rooms where several information is being shared and exchanged among each other. Scammers often set up commerce websites selling illicit services and goods such as ATM card readers to steal a person’s bank account data or manual sheets for ATM models. 

Are there any benefits of the dark web? 

Despite the illegal activities and information being shared around on the dark web, there are particularly certain situations whereby the dark web would be extremely useful. For example, when the recent COVID-19 pandemic happened in Wuhan, China, most doctors were banned from sharing information related to the national disease. Chinese netizens turned to the dark web to update the public about the potential spread of the virus. The Chinese government wouldn’t be able to trace the leaked information. 

Examples of what could happen when you enter the dark web

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The dark web is well-known for drugs, child pornography as well as credit card details that can be sold or bought. Some of the stories shared from users on Reddit could be quite scary. One of the sites found on the dark web was a disturbing complete guide on how to cook women. Yes, a guide on how to literally cook women and their body parts. Pretty crazy right? Another bizarre experience a user shared was when they joined a reality game called ‘No Love Deep Web Alternate Reality Game’ where everybody would have to take part in a deep web scavenger hunt. One of his tasks was to answer a payphone during the wee hours at 3.00 am. The user even had to drive all the way to New York just to complete the task. Some of the funny experiences include a person selling purely just pretzels and carrots, in exchange for Bitcoin. Perhaps the dark web isn’t so scary after all. 

In short, the dark web is a world full of scammers and hackers, literally. If you’re looking for something in particular, take a chance and enter the hidden network. Just so long you are aware that once you enter the dark web, your device could potentially be infected with viruses and malware.