What is the Darknet?
The internet is very deep than the one you are able to access. Underneath the ‘Surface web’ which you can access, lies a hidden web known as the deep web. This is the part of the web which is difficult to access unless you have special authorization or special software.
The deep web comprises of over 90% of the total web in comparison to the ‘Surface Web’ which is only about 5% of the web. The Surface web is that part of the internet which is indexed by the web browsers and you can easily access via your system. There is another part of the web, which is deeply hidden inside the deep web, and is known as the dark web or Darknet.
Before proceeding to know more about Darknet, we take a quick look at the Surface Web and the Deep Web.
The Surface Web
Currently, there are over 600 million active websites on the web that you can access via your web browsers. These are the websites which are indexed by the search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing and forms the part of the ‘Surface Web’, the area of web which we can easily access.
The Deep Web – Lies below the Surface
As mentioned above, the majority of the Internet is made up of the Deep web. Usually, the deep web consists of those files or deep web links which are not directly accessible via your search engines. Most of these websites on the deep web require registration and login to get access to.
Besides websites, you can also find a number of linked databases on the deep web such as bank details, hospital records, Government databases and library catalogs. However, there is another smaller darker part of the deep web which is well hidden from the eyes of most users. This is known as the DARKNET or Dark web.
One of the biggest misunderstood terms in the web community is the Darknet. Most people often confuse it with the deep web, which it forms a part of. Unlike Darknet though, Deep web contains nothing sinister whatsoever.
The Darknet is well protected from the eyes of normal internet users as they cannot access it via the regular web browsers. In order to access the darknet, you require the use of TOR. Tor makes it impossible for anyone to track you on the dark web, making both the web surfers and the website publishers completely anonymous.
Who uses the Darknet?
The Darknet makes use of the Onion Network architecture for its privacy and anonymity. This whole architecture was originally developed by the US Navy and is still funded by the US Government, although it is run by internet volunteers across the globe now.
The Darknet is used by a number of different sets of people. Politicians and public agents make use of this space to conduct secret negotiations without having to hassle from a security risk. Also, a number of journalists and political bloggers use the darknet to provide the people with complete truth, especially in the countries where the media is heavily censored. Whistle-blowers and information-leakers also use this platform to gather and present the public with information with any fear of retribution.
However, there is also a negative side to the darknet. It is most commonly used by notorious criminals as well to propagate criminal activities also. You can easily find a number of websites on the darknet where you can trade weapons and drugs, get access to child pornography, and hire assassins and killers.
How can you access the Darknet?
The Darknet requires special software to access it. The two things you need are:
- A web browser which can access the .onion website.
- A depository from where you can find out the URLs to different websites of the darknet.
One of the best Deepnet/Darknet web browsers that you can use to access the ‘.onion’ websites is TOR Browser. The browser helps to protect your identity online and maintain your anonymity on the internet by routing your internet traffic through random relay points and exit nodes.
However, the one drawback of using the TOR Browser is that it won’t provide you with the website links to any of the deepnet/darknet websites. You will need to find that on your own. This is where you can take the help of hidden wiki directories which will provide you with the URL to every website on the deep web. Although, it is advisable to only go for those website links which have been verified by other Deep web users.
The Darknet is very easily accessible if you know the place you need to find and a way to reach there. You need to be careful when you go on exploring this space. Avoid clicking on unwanted links as it could led to spams and hackers and stay clear of any illicit activities while you are on the darknet.