The dark web is a reclusive portion of the internet, mostly visited by different entities. A big chunk of individuals using the World Wide Web has no idea about the existence of the dark web.
Some that know about it frequently confuse it with the deep web. The deep web is a section of the internet that hasn’t been indexed by search engines like Google or Bing. Content that you can find on the deep web includes private social media profiles, court records, and other stuff that search engines are blocked from indexing.
Although some internet surfers associate the dark web with shady dealings, it is so much more than that. Websites on the darknet house a very big amount of data that is inaccessible on the surface web. Dark web users enjoy the anonymity that it provides. Some also use it for freedom fighting and expression of views.
This is why a certain amount of its visitors comprise of journalists and whistleblowers. Highly classified information can also be shared on the dark web. Accessing the dark web, however, can prove to be dangerous because of its high level of anonymity. In short, it means people are emboldened to carry out illegal acts since they have little to no chances of getting identified.
Security Lapses you can Experience on the Dark Web
Getting Infected with Malicious Software
Malware or malicious software are programs used by hackers to steal information from a victim. A lot of adverse websites hosted on the darknet can easily infect your computer with malware. When you visit the dark web, you can get exposed to malware that can get your online banking login credentials.
Other kinds of malware that can infect your system can add your computer to a botnet, or monitor keystrokes from your PC.
Loss of Anonymity
As earlier stated, entities that visit the dark web apart from government officials love the secrecy of identity that the dark web provides. As secure as the dark web is, a visitor can get exposed.
This poses a serious problem because, in certain countries, individuals can get killed or jailed for speaking their minds. If it comes to the government’s attention that a person frequently surfs the dark internet, a trace begins on the individual.
Cybersecurity Steps to take before visiting the Dark Web
Download the Official Tor Browser
The safest way to access the darknet is through Tor Browser. This type of browser uses its specific network which bounces traffic through thousands of volunteer nodes, thereby masking your internet history. Tor Browser’s code is also open-source and security updates are released at least once every 3 weeks, making it super-private.
Ensure you download the Tor browser from its official source so you don’t risk installing a Trojan. Tor Browser can be downloaded on operating systems like Windows, Android, Mac, and Linux.
Subscribe to a VPN Service
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it serves users by encrypting internet traffic. In layman’s terms, it means no entity including hackers, the government, and your very own internet service provider (ISP), will be able to track your internet activity.
VPNs provide added anonymity when accessing the dark web by spoofing your IP address. If you use Tor Browser without a VPN, although your ISP may not be able to track your activity, they’ll detect you’re using Tor. This is because Tor Browser node IPs are open to everyone.
Once you’re flagged as a frequent visitor to the dark web, you’ll raise attention to yourself. On the other hand, using a VPN will protect you from being spied on. Your ISP will never detect that you’re connected to a Tor node.
Avoid Downloading Files from the Dark Web
To protect your device from getting infected by malware, avoid getting files from the dark web. If you have to download a file, run it through an anti-malware scan before opening it on your computer. Also, refrain from clicking random links you see on the dark web.