The so-called “dark web” has garnered a considerable amount of negative press. It’s where hackers deposited the stolen data from Medibank, and where the Silk Road marketplace facilitated the sale of illegal narcotics. These capabilities are facilitated by cryptocurrencies and the onion router, a series of encrypted traffic layers that conceal your IP address, network entry, and departure.
There are valid and legitimate reasons why an individual might wish to conduct themselves anonymously online or circumvent web browsing restrictions. Those living in oppressive regimes, for instance, can use the dark web to communicate with the outside world about the realities of their lives despite government propaganda, protected by the encryption and anonymity of the dark web. Another is for corporate misconduct whistleblowers.
If you want to experience the dark web for yourself, the Hidden Wiki, which has a brand new version 3 domain, is the ideal place to begin. Its URL is https://zqktlwiuavvqqt4ybvgvi7tyo4hjl5xgfuvpdf6otjiycgwqbym2qad.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page, which may not resemble any web address you’ve ever seen. It is an Onion address, which is only accessible through TOR, also known as The Onion Router.
On its project page, where you can also obtain the TOR browser, you can learn more about TOR. This is a web browser similar to Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, and the others; however, it provides access to.onion sites in addition to regular websites and isolates each web session so that no organisation can trace you from site to site. It makes all users appear identical to prevent fingerprinting based on location, browser type, or other factors, automatically deletes cookies, and encrypts your traffic three times.
Therefore, launch the TOR browser and navigate to the Hidden Wiki to get a taste of what the dark web has to offer. In most countries, the use of the dark web is not unlawful, but it is in Iran, China, Russia, Armenia, Egypt, Mongolia, and South Africa. However, it is still unlawful everywhere to use it for illicit activities, and iTWire strongly recommends you only use it for legitimate purposes, such as privacy and secure communications on sensitive topics.
On the Hidden Wiki, you can find a guide to anonymity, privacy-focused search engines, privacy-focused email providers, essays, domain services, BitCoin services, whistleblowing resources, and Dark Web versions of prominent news sites.
Yes, you will also find links to purveyors of purported unlawful activities, so be forewarned and view them with caution. After all, can you truly rely on a completely clandestine exchange in which you’re asked to transmit real money and hope you receive what you’re after? The opinion of iTWire is to stay away, not only for the apparent reason of illegality, but also because these sites are likely frauds and traps, and the only certainty is that you will lose money.
With TOR deprecating its previous address format (version 2), the Hidden Wiki announced its “version 3” domain. The primary motivation is increased privacy, with Onion URLs comprising additional features to help resolve a host address from a domain name. It is analogous to the conventional Internet’s DNS system, and will require anyone with references to v2 Onion sites to update them to v3 versions.
Thus, TOR, the Dark Web, and the Hidden Wiki are defined. Check it out and see what it’s like for yourself, but always use good judgement and be aware that TOR sites may have unreliable uptimes, which is the nature of sites hosted in a distributed manner without the clearweb’s regular infrastructure.