Noble Sapien does not condone illegal or unethical activity. Browse the dark web websites at your own risk for legal purposes only.
What Is the Dark Web?
In the mid-90s, the US government was exploring ways to help spies communicate without being traced. The “Dark Web” was the result – a clandestine digital domain, where users could operate in total anonymity. Inadvertently, they’d also created the perfect hiding place for digital delinquents. Three decades later, the Dark Web is a haven for criminals of all stripes. Likewise, it’s home to the illicit stuff no amount of Google searching will bring up.
The Blackest of Markets
If you know how to browse the Dark Web, you can find everything from:
- Hacked Netflix accounts
- Stolen credit card numbers
- Banking login credentials
- Counterfeit money
- Human trafficking
- Hitmen for hire
- Illegal narcotics
- State secrets for sale
- Untraceable firearms
- Loose nukes (allegedly) that fell from the back of a Russian lorry during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
So, why would any sane person wish to visit the Dark Web?
The Dark Web is also A Refuge for Free Thinkers
Originally, the dark web was used as a tool for anyone wishing to surf the Internet without revealing:
- Who they were.
- With whom they were communicating.
- Where they were going.
- What they were up to.
The dark web’s earliest adopters weren’t criminals. They were dissidents and protest organizers using the platform to mobilize against oppressive regimes.
The Dark Web is an Escape from Government Surveillance
Across the world, people are growing increasingly and legitimately worried about corporate or government monitoring. In response to censorship of free speech on all major social networks, as well as whistleblower revelations concerning deep-reaching domestic surveillance programs, the dark web has experienced a surge in visitors. Ironically, the only reason we’re aware of shady government surveillance is that whistle-blowers use dark web encrypted email services to relay the leaks to outside channels.
The Dark Web is A Lifeline to The Outside World
Whistleblowers are a rare breed. However, many dark web websites also serve as a safe communications channel for those who live in closed, bigoted, or totalitarian societies. For political dissidents, homosexuals, transsexuals, religious outcasts, minorities, or anyone in need of a safe space to talk without fear of persecution, the dark web is a lifeline and a vital link to others with the same interests or problems.
For political dissidents, activists, and bloggers in parts of the world where such activities are rewarded with punishments ranging from lashes, imprisonment, and being public beheadings, the dark web is a vital communications channel to spread news, draw attention, and even organize entire revolutions, as witnessed during the Arab Spring. Additionally, it has helped domestic-violence victims hide from online stalkers, and allowed ordinary citizens to surf without advertisers tracking them.
How To Browse the Dark Web Safely
The dark web contains the most illegal things out there. However, accessing the is entirely legal, and simply requires you to install a specialized, freely available web browser on your computer. There are a few browser options, but the most popular and simple is the ‘TOR browser’.
What is the TOR Browser?
The TOR browser was originally developed in the mid-1990s by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to encrypt military communications and protect intelligence operatives relaying field data.
“TOR” is an acronym for The Onion Router, which refers to the many layers you’ll need to pass to disguise your identity. In this case, those layers are a long series of other computers. Much like a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when you try to access a site through TOR, your request bounces back and forth off randomly selected computers and proxy servers around the world, each of which adds a layer of encryption before sending it on.
If everything’s working correctly, by the time you reach your destination (which may take a while) it’s theoretically impossible to match any web traffics destination with its origin. If you’re browsing from the US, and your signal pinged off computers in the UK, Azerbaijan, Russia, Sweden, or elsewhere, anyone trying to locate your IP address would only see your last digital location. Your surfing history is lost in the webospheres infinite sea of data.
The dark web’s reputation as a hotbed of heinous activity is entirely justified. Cyber surfers are entering the Wild West of the internet – a deep, digital bandit country where predators lurk and a wrong click can land you in the most depraved hinterlands of the human experience.
Dark Web Searching – Keep it Specific
To avoid straying down a dark path, maybe don’t log on until you know precisely what you’re searching for and how to get there.
For general safe searches, use the following engines.
- The Hidden Wiki
Physically, from wherever you’re using your computer. As far as prying eyes may be concerned, anywhere in the world
- Although, the TOR encryption capacity is something to behold, so are the skills of those on the hunt for internet criminals. Innocent looking links can open sites that are far from innocent. Pleading with authorities that you clicked it accidentally won’t hold much water.
- Be aware that some dark web websites are a breeding ground for military-grade malware and computer viruses. Tread carefully, and never download anything, especially digital goods or services.
- Obviously, there are plenty of reasons to stay away from the Dark Web. However, it’s not all dark. If you know where and how to tread you’ll find a lighter, brighter side as well as some handy, informative, and even fun stuff.
- Primarily, the dark web is the last remaining place where internet users can conduct their online affairs with genuine privacy. And in the modern world, isn’t that pretty much everybody?