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The dark web is not the dimly lit cousin of the internet, it's actually the part of the modern internet that isn't indexed by search engines. You probably think that the dark web is a hotbed of criminal activity. It definitely, definitely is. According to recent studies that classified the contents of the dark web, 57% of the sites houses illicit material.
What can you do on the Dark Web?
On the dark web, you can buy all sorts of things that you can't get at your local grocery store, like credit card numbers, drugs, guns, counterfeit money, even hacking software. Notably, you can buy things like $3000 of counterfeit bills for $600, or what about a lifetime Netflix account? That goes for cheaper than the real thing, at $6.
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The dark web is the internet for illegal activity, but it also houses legitimate sites. Sites on the dark web don't have to be illegal... it just happens that most of them are.
So, then, how do you access the dark web? Well, you need a dark web browser. These browsers are known as an anonymizing browser.
The most common is something called Tor.
How to access the Dark Web
The Tor browser routes your internet usage through a series of proxy servers that are run by users across the globe. This process makes your IP address unrecognizable as well as untraceable. It's basically internet black magic, but it's also very very slow.
But once you get into the dark web, how do you find anything if after all the dark web isn't indexed by standard search engines? Well, you'd need a dark web search engine of course! One of the biggest and best dark web search engines is called Grams, but you can also use sites like "The Hidden Wiki" that provide lists of useful links for the dark web.
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Once you've successfully found websites on the dark web, you might be curious about what they look like. They basically look like any other site on the web, but instead of ending in .com, they end in .onion. Because, just like Shrek said, "Onions have layers" and so does the dark web, so that makes sense.
No, in reality, this suffix is a top-level domain that designates a hidden service reachable by the Tor network. Maybe the person who created the suffix did really like onions, though.
After you've logged onto the dark web, found a site, and figured out what you wanted to do, how do you buy something then? Chances are you don't have a credit card you want to input, so you'll probably need some cryptocurrency.
This form of currency that you've probably heard of allows for secure transfer of money on dark web sites with basically no tracing back to the original sender. You can buy pretty much anything on the dark web with Bitcoin.
As for aspects of the dark web that you might be surprised about? Commerce sites hosted here still have things like ratings and reviews, forums. However, most of that doesn't really matter because everything is anonymous and even the most seemingly trustworthy sellers could just run off with your money.
All of this equates to some pretty illicit things happening on the dark web each day, but the dark web itself isn't actually illegal. In fact, the government has had a large hand in funding the creation of the dark web. If you'd like to learn a little more about why and how that works, take a look at the video below.