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A Beginner's Guide to Exploring the Darknet

Updated on August 29, 2016

A hidden Internet exists underneath the 'surface web,' hidden from the view of ordinary web users. It always aroused my curiosity, but I never really followed up to see whether I could access it. The dark web is intimidating. I assumed it was full of criminals and would have little to offer a law-abiding citizen such as myself. I also thought it would be difficult to access and that it would require some kind of advanced technical skill, or perhaps a special invitation from a shadowy figure on seedy bulletin boards. I decided to investigate these assumptions.

One of the things that really struck me was how easy it is to access and start exploring the darknet—it requires no technical skills, no special invitation, and takes just a few minutes to get started.

In this article I will share information on how to access and navigate the dark web, as well as my personal experiences and thoughts.

What Are the Surface, Deep, & Dark Webs?

surface web
deep web
dark web
anything that can be found via a typical search engine (Google Chrome, Safari, etc.)
things your typical search engine can't find (government databases, libraries, etc.)
a small portion of the deep web that is intentionally hidden and made inaccessible via search engines (the Tor network, only accessible via Tor browser)

What Is the Darknet?

Most people are confused about what exactly the darknet is. Firstly, it is sometimes confused with the deep web, a term that refers to all parts of the Internet which cannot be indexed by search engines and so can't be found through Google, Bing, Yahoo, and so forth. Experts believe that the deep web is hundreds of times larger than the surface web (i.e., the Internet you get to via browsers and search engines).

In fact, most of the deep web contains nothing sinister whatsoever. It includes large databases, libraries, and members-only websites that are not available to the general public. Mostly, it is composed of academic resources maintained by universities. If you've ever used the computer catalog at a public library, you've scratched its surface. It uses alternative search engines for access though. Being unindexed, it cannot be comprehensively searched in its entirety, and many deep web index projects fail and disappear. Some of its search engines include Ahmia.fi, Deep Web Technologies, TorSearch, and Freenet.

The dark web (or dark net) is a small part of the deep web. Its contents are not accessible through search engines, but it's something more: it is the anonymous Internet. Within the dark net, both web surfers and website publishers are entirely anonymous. Whilst large government agencies are theoretically able to track some people within this anonymous space, it is very difficult, requires a huge amount of resources, and isn't always successful.

Onion Networks and Anonymity

Onion networks keep you anonymous online.
Onion networks keep you anonymous online.

Anonymous Communication

Darknet anonymity is usually achieved using an onion network. Normally, when accessing the pedestrian Internet, your computer directly accesses the server hosting the website you are visiting. In an onion network, this direct link is broken, and the data is instead bounced around a number of intermediaries before reaching its destination. The communication registers on the network, but the transport medium is prevented from knowing who is doing the communication. Tor makes a popular onion router that is fairly user-friendly for anonymous communication and accessible to most operating systems.

Who Uses the Darknet?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the onion network architecture of the darknet was originally developed by the military—the US Navy to be precise. Military, government, and law enforcement organisations are still amongst the main users of the hidden Internet. This is because ordinary internet browsing can reveal your location, and even if the content of your communications is well-encrypted, people can still easily see who is talking to whom and potentially where they are located. For soldiers and agents in the field, politicians conducting secret negotiations, and in many other circumstances, this presents an unacceptable security risk.

The darknet is also popular amongst journalists and political bloggers, especially those living in countries where censorship and political imprisonment are commonplace. Online anonymity allows these people, as well as whistleblowers and information-leakers, to communicate with sources and publish information freely without fear of retribution. The same anonymity can also be used by news readers to access information on the surface web which is normally blocked by national firewalls, such as the 'great firewall of China' which restricts which websites Chinese Internet users are able to visit.

Activists and revolutionaries also use the darknet so that they can organise themselves without fear of giving away their position to the governments they oppose. Of course, this means that terrorists also use it for the same reasons, and so do the darknet's most publicized users—criminals.

Accessing the Darknet

As I said in the introduction, accessing the hidden internet is surprisingly easy. The most popular way to do it is using a service called Tor (or TOR), which stands for The Onion Router. Although technically-savvy users can find a multitude of different ways to configure and use Tor, it can also be as simple as installing a new browser. Two clicks from the Tor website and you are done, and ready to access the darknet. The browser itself is built on top of the Firefox browser's open-source code, so anybody who has ever used Firefox will find the Tor browser familiar and easy to use.

The Tor browser can be used to surf the surface web anonymously, giving the user added protection against everything from hackers to government spying to corporate data collection. It also lets you visit websites published anonymously on the Tor network, which are inaccessible to people not using Tor. This is one of the largest and most popular sections of the darknet.

Tor website addresses don't look like ordinary URLs. They are composed of a random-looking strings of characters followed by .onion. Here is an example of a hidden website address: http://dppmfxaacucguzpc.onion/. That link will take you to a directory of darknet websites if you have Tor installed; if you don't, then it is completely inaccessible to you. Using Tor, you can find directories, wikis, and free-for-all link dumps which will help you to find anything you are looking for.

Another onion network is The Freenet Project, which offers similar functionality but also allows for the creation of private networks, which means that resources located on a given machine can only be accessed by people who have been manually placed on a 'friends list.'

Another privacy network called I2P (the Invisible Internet Project) is growing in popularity. Although Tor still has many users, there seems to be a shift towards I2P, which offers a range of improvements such as integrated secure email, file storage and file sharing plug-ins, and integrated social features such as blogging and chat.

Using a VPN for Added Protection

Many Tor users also like to add an extra layer of protection by connecting to Tor using a virtual private network, or VPN. Although no one can see what you are doing online when you use an onion router, surveillance entities can see that you are using Tor to do something. In 2014, Wired UK reported widespread substantiated speculation that the NSA was tagging Tor users as extremists or persons of interest ("Use privacy services? The NSA is probably tracking you"). Although that is likely a very long tag list and there is no concrete evidence about what is done with it, it is understandably something people want to avoid. Using a VPN to connect to Tor means that nobody will be able to see that you are using it, and is therefore seen as a good solution to this problem.

Here is an interesting read if you want to learn more about VPNs and using these two systems together: Combining TOR with a VPN.

My Meanderings on the Darknet

I should make it clear from the very start that I am a beginner—a n00b, if you like, far from being a seasoned veteran. Having said that, here is my beginner's perspective on what I've found.

Diversity and Strange Contradictions

One of the things which immediately struck me about the darknet was the unusual juxtaposition of different users on the websites I found. In some ways, the dark web is a very idealistic place. You will find a lot of political writing (particularly of the libertarian, anarchist, and conspiracy-theory varieties), but also some mainstream liberal and conservative stuff.

I found it very strange that one of the main themes of the writing I saw was 'freedom of information'. The idea that information should be free and available to all seems to be very dear to the netizens of the dark web, as does the idea that governments and big business are threatening this. I found this very strange coming from a group of people for whom hiding and encrypting their own information seems to be such a major obsession. I also found it common for websites to have one section preaching high ideals and filled with moralistic exhortations, and then another filled with links to criminal enterprises. The publishers of these websites seemed either unaware of or unwilling to confront these contradictions.

The fact that so many of the dark web's users are enemies also leads to a strange dynamic. Governments, terrorists, law enforcement, and criminals are amongst the biggest users of darknet communications. I was tickled to see website security experts and criminal hackers sharing the same forums to discuss their common interests in computer security whilst hardly recognising that they are nemeses.

You Can Buy Anything With Bitcoin

The darknet's large criminal marketplaces are well known. Here, you can buy everything from drugs to assassinations. One of the first sites I came across purported to be run by a hit man offering his services to anyone willing to pay. Personally, I don't believe it. This site was probably set up as either a police sting or by a conman who will just take your money and run (there are many, many times more scammers pretending to sell illegal items than there are people genuinely selling illegal stuff in places like this).

The famous criminal marketplace Silk Road was recently taken down by a major police operation which made it into the international press. Last night it took me five minutes to find links to Silk Road 2.0, as well as other similar marketplaces. The most commonly traded illegal items appeared to be hacked PayPal accounts, drugs, fake passports, and other IDs.

All of these businesses accept only bitcoins because they can be used to conduct entirely anonymous transactions.

The future of the anonymous internet lies in cryptocurrency markets.
The future of the anonymous internet lies in cryptocurrency markets.

It Looks Like the 1990s in There!

There are very few professional-looking websites in the darknet (other than those run by a criminal enterprises, of course). Most sites are created by amateurs, and many are self hosted by people running the site on their own computer. Also, some web technologies do not work when you are using Tor. Flash, which, among other things, is used to play videos on YouTube is a glaring example. Also, accessing websites using Tor takes longer than on other browsers, and accessing sites hosted on Tor is even slower.

All of this means that using the darknet is very much like time-traveling back to the internet of the 1990s. The sites you visit have basic designs, no advanced modern features, and are slow to load. When they load at all, that is. Many sites just fail to load, possibly because they are hosted by some kid in his bedroom who has turned the computer off, or it could be because they have additional security to only allow certain people in. In any case, it's all very retro.

Cryptocurrencies and the Dark Net

Just as the darknet played a big role in the early development of the increasingly popular digital currency bitcoin, it seems that cryptocurrencies will play a major role in the future development of the darknet.

There are now several projects seeking to use the power of digital currencies to build new 'privacy networks' (which I think is the proper name for things like Tor) as well as other privacy-centric and censorship-resistant web services. Cryptocurrency and privacy networks share a lot in common already—they are both so-called 'distributed computing' projects which require a network of computers owned by private individuals to operate rather than a single, powerful web server owned by a company. In the case of privacy networks, these computers are called nodes, and are usually maintained by volunteers.

These privacy networks are extremely slow and unreliable because there are much greater incentives to use the network's resources than to provide resources to the network. Finding enough volunteers is difficult, and if they were run in a centralized way by a single company, they would not be able to provide the same privacy and anti-censorship effects.

One solution to this is to monetize people's involvement with providing darknet services by integrating them with a digital currency. These digital currencies operate using a distributed accounting ledger, and people are rewarded for helping to maintain this system, using newly created coins. Combining the two would allow the new coins to go to people whose computers are not only providing accounting services for the currency, but also privacy services to the darknet system.

Namecoin

The first attempt at this was a project called Namecoin, which is a digital currency a little bit like bitcoin, which you can use to buy and sell things or to transfer money to people anywhere in the world with minimal fees. It can also be used to create website addresses ending in .bit. These websites cannot be censored the way a government or internet service provider can censor a regular website by blocking access to it, because the location is not a static address on a single computer, but instead is distributed across the network. Namecoin also has the potential to be used for personal identity management, which could lead to email and other communication apps. The easiest way to start visiting .bit websites is by installing the Free Speech Me browser plug-in.

Safecoin

Another interesting project which is still in its testing phase but has already generated a lot of interest (and investment) is the SAFE Network and Safecoin. The SAFE Network is a fledgling privacy network integrated with cloud services and its own cryptocurrency, Safecoin. SAFE stands for 'secure access for everyone'.

Safecoin 'farmers' would run a network node on their computer, and would be rewarded for all of the resources they provide to the network, including disk space, processor power, bandwidth, and so on. In addition to building up a privacy network, other users would then be able to use Safecoins to use these resources for anything from cloud-storing files to hosting websites and apps. The SAFE Network is being developed by a company called MaidSafe, which has already sold off their ownership of the network to early adopters through a 'pre-sale' of Safecoins.

A Final Word of Advice

Anyone can access this hidden internet very easily, but if you decide to go exploring please be very careful. There is a lot of unsavoury content as well as a large number of criminals. Don't just click links without thinking about where you might end up, what you might see, or whom you might meet.

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Have You Ever Visited the Darknet?

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    • profile image

      wesley 12 days ago

      thanks friends

    • profile image

      aldrian024 2 weeks ago

      how to this absulutely darknet info web computer server

    • profile image

      Rick Martinez 2 weeks ago

      It is far easier to solicit assassins through drug cartel channels. For instance, when you "cross" South American drug lords, some of them army generals, they just have to grab a telephone and contact their liaisons in Los Angeles or the like. There are always "foot soldiers" ready to kill for money.

    • profile image

      rico 2 weeks ago

      im interested

    • profile image

      Jay Walker 4 weeks ago

      sounds interesting

    • profile image

      Geeq 6 weeks ago

      Just read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Dark Net on geeqguide.com Jaw still on the floor. Scary.

    • profile image

      Diakov 6 weeks ago

      I havent visited darknet yet. but are they open for source code sharing? stuff like making a virus and creating its own antivirus? I am really interested about darknet please msg me Mr. Walsh! diakovkorzlov@gmail.com

    • profile image

      Shinylane 6 weeks ago

      Thanks for this awesome read, I was able to play around on my Ubuntu box in just a few minutes and of course enjoy the insights here as well!

    • profile image

      Oh is me 2 months ago

      Also what I was told when I went the first time was that you build a usb os called tails which has the tor browser embedded into it. When you start it up it runs live off the USB and then it spoofs your mac and ip then you use a vpn hopefully at the router level and the hubs as you visit the deeper you get. As mentioned though it is very well populated by the good guys also so be very careful and for just visiting it is not a bad adventure I hope everyone at least go and see what it is all about. Can and will learn alot about all things that are not reported on. Thanks for all the input.

    • profile image

      Scott Richard Kulina... birthdate 6/4/66 2 months ago

      My SS number is 071 66 8436

    • profile image

      Xas 2 months ago

      Thanks Dean for the awesome darknet intro, please I would like to know if it's legal to sell my art collections via darknet.

      O'noble one

    • profile image

      Liam 2 months ago

      interesting....as a librarian I've heard about the deep net and the dark net but never had the opportunity to explore (or the need i guess) the dark net. A little curious about it from a sociological point of view - about how subcultures work. Seems a little sinister when you use that phrase but is really no different than the "secondary" or black market

    • profile image

      amrita sarkar 3 months ago

      Is it a punishable offense to visit the darknet???

    • profile image

      Lord J4 3 months ago

      I just figured it out last night. My eyes are tired and I'm sick of being up all night. People dont get what they want until I help them.. it hurts to tell the truth... lol it's fine. Let's help the collective human experience grow. It's a sacrifice. And, the greater good of our species on earth depends on our collaboration and vision. We NEED NOW to see what is. Listen friends. Give it to me. I want it ALL NOW.

    • profile image

      cpuvirtual 4 months ago

      Excellent introductory article!

      I remembered the movie Blade Runner, in the near future, you could accomplish things that can not be imagined today!

      We will definitely leave the cave era, and enter the world of digital caves!

    • profile image

      Luke 5 months ago

      Well stated! You're awesome :)

    • profile image

      Jerry Kingut 5 months ago

      Interesting and facinating

    • profile image

      John Greene 6 months ago

      Email me:

      greenej633@gmail.com

    • profile image

      IrsThatDankBoi 7 months ago

      I was always fascinated and wanting to go beyond what was allowed for people cause of all the censorship and stuff i really like reading stuff people using a normal browser cant access like conspiracy theory's and all that

    • profile image

      Bruno 11 months ago

      I'm very curious and excited what the darknet is all about even though I am sceptical about what it can provide for me as an everyday regular internet user.I have to adimit that its exhilirating to finally know about the darknet.....I am just glad I will be exposed to a world of a whole new information and facts that surround my life.The one thing I'm most looking forward to is the people who are using the darknet even though it might not be such a good idea concerning the matter of privacy but it would be rather helpful know what information does the world have to provide.One thing I can say is that I am scared of what might happen if I'm not careful but that emotion alone will guide me to be a safe and regular user of the darknet.........I'm sorry if I am being too redundent and for a Malapropism typer...tumbs up for information provided by the darknet

    • profile image

      Lilly 11 months ago

      A poll to know what kind of activities people plan with Darknet would be interesting to see!

    • profile image

      Juan Mendoza 12 months ago

      Absolutely smashing article! Best guide to the darknet and to privacy protection on the internet, thanks!

    • profile image

      blanco 12 months ago

      hi there,

      am interested in getting into the dark net. I have downloaded the Tor browser but don't know how to proceed

    • profile image

      janet 13 months ago

      A very good and informative piece, thank you

    • profile image

      Pratyush 14 months ago

      Is darknet or tor free? Or do u have to pay for it?

    • profile image

      saleem 15 months ago

      the darknet is a bad place to go im telling you to not not not to go there it creepy scary and bad dont go to the darknet

    • profile image

      mr,M 15 months ago

      i've heard about this topic before not not precised..but now i do

      now i've got games to paly with!

      thank you

    • profile image

      RCU 15 months ago

      Wow! I've wondered about all of the info that you've just covered in depth for many a moon. You have made it very easy to get on and carefully snoop around (curiosity did kill that darn cat!). I can't wait to get home and launch. Thanks

    • profile image

      MaxS 15 months ago

      Good read. Being a conspiracy buff, I'm thinking of taking he plunge and see what's there.

    • profile image

      Danny 16 months ago

      I'm only interested in it to smash paedophile rings but having read your article it seems a bit of a gamble without police authority

    • profile image

      marewa 16 months ago

      i like comes to the dark net

    • profile image

      Nikki 16 months ago

      Ouff..my head spinning. What a great reading, I am going for sure by curiosity ..I went as far as Tor...so far..Thanks.

    • profile image

      Cristin 17 months ago

      I was wondering can you acess darknet from a phone ?

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 17 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting. Was always fascinated by what lies on the other side sort of!

    • Arun1177kumar profile image

      Arun Kumar 18 months ago from Delhi

      I have listened about Darknet the first time. Interesting stuff.

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 18 months ago

      It is 'scary' in one way, sort of like a back street at night. But it has its benefits. All give you an example.

      I think my neighbour's daughter is autistic. I do a google. I get a number of sites. I do a little reading, (I'm not doing a thesis, I just think maybe I saw the 'symptoms?' 'signs?') and that is IT.

      However, every single site I go to, from facebook to cracked is showing me advertisements for Autism.

      Why?

      Google SELLS searches. It sells searches to those who sell products...Autism Speaks...PAYS Google to give it a list of all those who search for Autism so that they can contact the user.

      If you did the search using the Dark Web...i.e. Tors...you wouldn't see those Ads. In fact, you see very few ads...because those who post ads can't find out where you live...so as to pin point.

      For example, I'm in Jamaica...so ads, i.e. the banner on this site, is telling me about a Sale at a local store. You are seeing about something in your neighbourhood.

    • Bob Schroeder profile image

      Bob Schroeder 19 months ago

      Interesting stuff, kind of scarey. Thanks for the info.

    • Rota profile image

      Rota 21 months ago

      A hitman site? Wow..haha. Cool article

    • PoggyDobby profile image

      PoggyDobby 21 months ago from Probably Earth

      Wow. That's fantastic. It's quite sad that I've never heard of it. Until now, thanks to you. A certainly interesting, mind-blowing Hub. I'll definitely go and explore the Darknet, because my curiosity overpowers fear of doing something wrong. Of course, I'll take some safe precautions to avoid any unfortunate consequences. Thumbs up!

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 21 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Well, I have learnt something new here, I have to admit. But I am not sure if I am ready to explore the Dark Net, perhaps I would prefer to explore deep space. Thanks for sharing.

    • Emma Johnson1 profile image

      Emma Johnson 21 months ago from Denver, Colorado

      Wow, great information!

    • profile image

      Vladrasputin 22 months ago

      I'm looking to find a documentary that is suddenly unavailable due to its expose , would the darknet be a good place to try and find it ?

    • profile image

      Bazel 23 months ago

      Wasn't this created before we ever got the corporate websites ie: google/bing slash everything else. The internet was designed for solely communication purposes in the first place and then a bigger corporate conglomerate stepped in and basically stole the idea and now your all sheep. Have a look around and TOR the experience.

    • MicahI profile image

      Micah 23 months ago from Central Florida

      Great information! I've known about the Darknet for awhile, but I've never taken the time to visit. Now I know I'm not missing much!

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 23 months ago from Austin, Texas

      Haven't even learned how to harness the power of the Internet and there's a Darknet? It figures. I'm still using a donkey for transportation while everybody else is using a teleporter. :)

    • profile image

      23 months ago

      Very good tutorial for people who want to go to deep web really helped me and the link of that tutorial is: http://null-byte.wonderhowto.com/how-to/access-dee... and I promise you it will also really help you too.

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 23 months ago

      drug lord, I think that point is a side issue. I think not wanting to have everything you post subject to scrutiny by advertisers is the reality

    • profile image

      drug lord 23 months ago

      its real good to buy guns and drugs on and really easy to sell kids on what more could you want ! :)

    • qeyler profile image

      qeyler 23 months ago

      I got into the Dark Web to avoid the scams, the spam, the gmail man, and tracking. If I am doing a search, I'm using Tor. Paying a bill, using Tor.

    • profile image

      WIZARD 2 years ago

      I have visited it several times and it is really amazingly. If you want , just join us.

    • profile image

      Wouter 2 years ago

      Dude you are John Malkovich!!!

    • profile image

      Liamm 2 years ago

      Im intreaged but leary.im sure i will be checking it soon.i used hushmail for years,& lòved it.

    • profile image

      desmond stephan rolle 2 years ago

      Im so going to the dark net

    • profile image

      Maya 2 years ago

      I'm so going to the darknet.

    • profile image

      Bill Shickler 2 years ago

      tHE REASON THAT THE PEOPLE USING dARKNETS ARE SO PRO public INFORMATION, IS THAT THEY (MYSELF INCLUDED), ARE BEING HARRASSED, ATTEMPTED INTIMADATED, POLITICALLY DEMONIZED(LIKE Planned parenthood, ACORN, etc.). So, we have to move our truth to somewhere where it can't be blocked, manipulated, altered, tracked and used in a censored-edited version that might be used in secret-no evidence allowed to-be-seen trials, ala Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Whistle-Blower. In fact, whistle blowers should be the main recipients of this gift. Their safety and effectiveness would blossom with TOR. Just realize, the SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAD SECTIONS OF IT'S OWN FILES DELETED BY THE CIA-THEY AREBEING SURVEILLED BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT!!! THANK YOU DIANE FEINSTEIN!!

    • Alessio Ganci profile image

      Alessio Ganci 2 years ago from Italy

      On the deep web there are also lots of legal sites, that for some reasons want to remain anonymous... well I think nothing you cannot already find on the normal web, but one can always go surfing the deep web by curiosity. At the end, everyone says that the deep web is much bigger than the "known web", so probably a lot of people are fascinated by this fact, and are more and more curious to take a look at the deep web. As one simply surfs the deep web without watching pedopornography, buying illegal things and doing other illegal things, he can satisfy his curiosity... however yes, I agree to the fact that we shoud not do anything of particular on the deep we: if someone is curious, after he has satisfied his curiosity, I think he can forget about the deep web and not go there anymore!

    • profile image

      Madge 2 years ago

      Ok... All this info is very interesting - but, I do not want to see any kind of porn that is not allowed to be shared in normal websites, I do not want to by drugs, weapons, people, human organs, hackers, hookers or practice anything that is illegal at all... so what would I do on the deep web?

    • profile image

      atomiclights 2 years ago

      "I found it very strange that one of the main themes of the writing I saw was 'freedom of information'. The idea that information should be free and available to all seems to be very dear to the netizens of the dark Web, as does the idea that governments and big business are threatening this. I found this very strange coming from a group of people for whom hiding and encrypting their own information seems to be such a major obsession. I also found it common for websites to have one section preaching high ideals and filled with moralistic exhortations, and then another filled with links to criminal enterprises. The publishers of these websites seemed either unaware of or unwilling to confront these strange contradictions."

      Okay, gotta say something here. Speaking from an anarchist's pov to help offer some clarity on why this is not contradictory. I believe that information should be free, but recognize that the state does not (always). Libertarians and anarchists oppose the state to varying degrees. I fear and oppose the state and have an interest in the Darknet as a way to circumvent tracking of my online activities. The Darknet offers protection for people who are awake and realize they have everything to lose to the state and need to protect themselves. I have an interest in hiding my information/protecting myself from the state, not necessarily other individuals who don't want to harm me/abide by the non-aggression principle (the state is by definition a violent institution).

      Regarding the author's perceived contradiction between Darknet users' "moralistic exhortations" and "criminal enterprises" - consider this from the pov of someone who opposes the state. What society considers criminal enterprises are largely only thought of as so because the state outlaws something (drugs, for instance), deems any activity in that field/industry to be criminal, and conditions citizens over years to believe the same. An industry or activity that exists outside of the state can definitely still be moral - the state and its laws/activities do not equal or set a bar for morality.

      Just wanted to point out a different pov to give provide understanding on what may seem like contradictions to some. Thank you for the article - lots of great information and I have shared it with others who are interested.

    • profile image

      GameNut 2 years ago

      Don't be afraid to experience the darknet. It's not as scary as it is odd due to the weirdos you will meet. Nazi's are alive and well living in the shadows. Racists, sexists, and the self-righteous paranoids all live together in someone's grandmother's basement. Frustrating, since I'm used to streaming, I only go there for a little shock therapy when all else fails to entertain. My introduction came when accessing science libraries then took a wrong turn along the way.

      What you must remember are some of the rules:

      1. Don't give out any of your details,

      2. Don't look up and don't hook up,

      3. Don't buy anything, and

      4. The most interesting sites are stings.

      Use caution cowboys!

    • profile image

      thatoldchick 2 years ago

      Good article. The deep and darkwebs are not all that is out there. Back in the day, one could only access sites if you knew the IP addy, and many of those old sites remain. Usenet and IRC as well as binary-only sites were part of this loose collective, and still exist for those who look. Like you said, many are just sites of general interest or expression, not criminal enterprises. In a totally free world, one must look out for their own safety, as there are no helpful warning stickers there.

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      Akumawraith 2 years ago

      I have known about the darknet for years, though I didn't frequent it often that changed in 2008 when Things changed radically, from the television screenwriters strike, to Blizzard selling out to Vivendi and then the biggest crime of all... Obama got elected President... 2008 was a really crappy year and ever since i pop in just to get away from the trolls, kids, and just plain old A-holes.

    • profile image

      A-713 2 years ago

      Anyone had negative experiences upon entering darknet? or is that something that would occur only after visiting specific links? just want to be cautious stepping into the darknet for the first time. any and all feed back appreciated!

    • profile image

      bb 2 years ago

      thank you very much

    • Wissam LM profile image

      TOXIGON 2 years ago from Everywhere

      Thanks for great article.

    • profile image

      CM 2 years ago

      Great article, nicely explained without the usual FUD. Yes, it you can find some scary stuff, you can also find some very thought provoking stuff. If you do happen to land on a site that you find morally corrupt (illegal, pornographic or both) don't hang around there! Close your browser or navigate away.

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      Veritas 2 years ago

      If your not using a VPI or Tor, when you go onto certain websites. Be sure to say hi to the FBI

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      wannagotherelol 2 years ago

      Can I access darknet from my mobile & stay anonymous

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      Martin 2 years ago

      I need help to enter darknet,so please some kind soul can U give mee a few minutes of time to get in to IT. "Fire71".

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      Tommy 2 years ago

      Very interesting ,somewhat intrigued to browse ,but too worried of being hacked ,or being put on a no fly list ,worst ,being on the watch list,,,,Thx ,,Very informative and so interesting ,most likely ,read more on this dark topic

    • electronician profile image
      Author

      Dean Walsh 2 years ago from Birmingham, England

      If you ever have a problem with TOR directories - they do tend to disappear and reappear sometimes - just Google 'Hidden Wiki' and you will find a website with lots of links to explore. It has a lot of 'mirrors' (copies of the site) so you will always be able to find at least one hidden wiki site that is working.

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      Chuck 2 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time to put this together very well done.

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      Anonymous 2 years ago

      The biggest problem I have is loading that directory to TOR. I have always wanted to explore the darknet, butI never really knew how. You're research is awesome and i have slowly started to understand what this darknet is all about, but i still don't know really how to work it. maybe i need to research some more

    • strategylab profile image

      Jeph Maystruck 2 years ago from Regina, SK

      This was such a cool article on he Darknet, amazing! I never knew a lot of it, and it doesn't surprise me to know people are buying passports drugs but hacked Paypal accounts didn't make sense but I guess they're open to many varieties of hacks.

      Pretty crazy place if you ask me, one day I'll venture over to the dark side!

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      Rotax20 2 years ago

      Thank you for taking your personal time to explain about Dark net and had no idea how to follow thru.

      Very much appreciated and this just whet my appetite for more knowledge.

    • Terry Slaton Jr profile image

      Terry Slaton Jr 2 years ago from North Richland Hills, Texas

      Thank you, I found this article to very interesting and informative. Like some others I have heard things about the dark net but had no real knowledge of it. Your article has pulled back the covers and given a nice introductory overview. This will allow me to be able make an educated decision to look into the underbelly or not.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Voted up. For a "newblette" you explain things very well for others to be able to follow you to the "Darknet". I am glad that you caution others as to the unsavory elements and to procede with caution. I will be following, great work!

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      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      Interesting article. I think I'll stay on the bright side net.

    • mcrawford76 profile image

      Matthew I Crawford 2 years ago from Greeley, Colorado

      very interesting and informative hub. Definitely never realized that there was an "underworld" on the internet, though now that I've read this article it makes perfect sense. Thank you.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain

      No, thank you for enlightening me :D

    • electronician profile image
      Author

      Dean Walsh 2 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain

      A very interesting and informative hub about something that until recently I didn't know existed. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us :D

      Voting up and hitting relevant buttons on my way out

    • TTGReviews profile image

      TTGReviews 2 years ago

      This is a very interesting topic. I would be interested to learn more about it in the future, but I don't know if I would personally use it.

    • amazaving profile image

      Amazaving 2 years ago

      Good informative hub, but no thanks. The normal net will do for me!

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      JimpuSqd. 2 years ago

      Interesting stuff..heard about but always felt that my ciding chops were not sharp enough thnx for clarifying some things..do I need any specific system specs??

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 2 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Very interesting article. There will always be seedy goings on so why should the net be any different.

    • Raceme profile image

      Raceme 2 years ago

      I'm glad to read an article about the Darknet written by someone who's actually been there; most articles I read about it are usually myths and falsities perpetuated by those looking for views.

      This article is a veritable wealth of information; thanks a ton for writing it!

    • FreakFran profile image

      Francine Oliveira 2 years ago from Minas Gerais, Brasil

      That's such an enlightening text! Usually we only find sensationalist articles and myths concerning deep web...

      I've been using the deep web as a resource for e-books and tutorials for awhile now and most of my knowledge about TI comes from there. Unfortunately, it is, sometimes, as if you're walking through a very dangerous neighbourhood and curiosity (specially morbid curiosity) can be a problem! Because of the whole fear of hacking attacks and illegal activities (such as pedophile groups or murderers-for-hire) there are some forensic experts looking for "suspect online behavior" and watching the deep web constantly... and just by using a VPN shield you are not in fact protected and can be tracked - it's more difficult, but some people can do it. One thing that we learn after some time using the deep web is that you are never safe and people (and government) can be really nasty!

    • Niko Linni profile image

      Niko Linni 2 years ago from Long Beach, California

      I've never really read up much on the darknet,but this was a very informative and interesting hub - nice work!

    • GuitarGear profile image

      Walter Holokai 2 years ago from Youngstown, Ohio

      Awesome hub! I've heard about the darknet but didn't know how to access it. I'm always looking for something different on the internet. Thanks so much! I'm going to pass this info along to others. Great hub!

    • livewirez profile image

      Romel Tarroza 2 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Sea

      I am always curious as what darknet is... As much as I want to surf on that page there is always a hesitation on my part because i'm afraid that most of the user of darknet are hackers and I might get hack by them.

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      Vena5 2 years ago

      Fascinating and scary! Thank you for the greatly needed guidance. I'm burning with curiosity but there is really more than I can contend with on the regular internet. The mere possibility of encountering unsavory characters or disturbing images is enough of a deterrent for me. =-)

    • Gary Pick profile image

      Gary Pick 2 years ago from North Kingstown, Rhode Island

      Great subject and information. I had heard a little about this, but never realized what it entailed. Great job.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting! I probably wouldn't ever need to visit, but it is very enticing knowing that there is an underworld!

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Although I've heard of the darknet, I've never visited it. Not sure if there's anything I want there anyway.

      Interesting article though, and one day I may even try the darknet.

    • azci profile image

      Anthony Tatowicz 2 years ago from Arlington

      Very informative! I didn't know the details of TOR's features until reading this.

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      stefano 2 years ago

      Seriously,If i can read all your coments and I know shag..all,on how these systems work,then it can't be all that private can it???? Come on guys wheres the real justification for all the big who ha about the so called dark web

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      Pete 2 years ago

      Like so many other people in here I too had no idea that there was A world called Darknet.

      It would not be of any benefit to me to even go there as i find the regular net troublesom enough.

      However I do thank you for the article on this matter and it did make interesting read.

    • Andrew Bing profile image

      Dragos 2 years ago from Romania

      Nicely written and very informative. I never paid much attention to the darknet but you really opened my eyes to it. Nice job! Upvoted.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 2 years ago from Japan

      Very interesting topic there. I'd heard about the darknet but never really though about looking into it.

    • Eleanor Broderick profile image

      Sarah Eller 2 years ago from Eastern Shore, USA

      Thanks! After reading this, I have realized that I had a few pieces of information, and this just put it all together. Will I choose to search the Darknet? Probably not. It's that thing, you know you probably should not do, but take great pleasure peeking through thr blinds at. Bravo.