You can hear a lot of stories about the dark web or at least the tales of the infamous website, The Silk Road. For years, the Silk Road had operated as a marketplace for drugs, weapons, mercenaries, and more, until the authorities shut it down.
Although places like this still exist on the internet, it doesn’t paint the full picture. That’s why this article is here to bust five of the most common myths people believe about the dark web.
Dark vs. Deep Web
Before getting started on these myths, it’s necessary to clarify the difference between two commonly confused terms—the deep web and the dark web.
It’s best to think of the internet as an iceberg. The surface or the World Wide Web is everything that Google and other search engines index. Although it is what you interact with most frequently, in truth, it’s less than 1% of the entire internet.
The deep web is right under the surface and makes up the bulk of the internet. While search engines don’t index this content, you can access it if you type in a web address directly or have access permissions for the site.
The deep web isn’t mysterious. It has a little more secrecy because it includes sensitive information like social media, emails, sites that require a subscription, and other things you wouldn’t want everyone to find.
Finally, you have the dark web. The dark web is a part of the deep web but needs specialized software for access, usually a Tor browser. However, there aren’t that many sites on it, and most of them last only 200-300 days on average.
Now here are some misconceptions people have about the dark web:
1. The Dark Web is Huge
Nope. It’s much smaller than the surface web and consists of about 250,000-400,000 sites in total. While that may sound like a lot, remember that there are over 1.5 billion websites on the World Wide Web.
2. It’s a Crime to Access The Dark Web
Wrong again. In fact, the US government helped to develop the Tor project. The original goal was to create a place to encourage free speech for people who lived in countries with heavy censorship.
But strong encryption may be illegal, depending on where you live. Since the Tor browser relies on encryption, using it could be unlawful in some countries. Check your local laws to know for sure.
3. The Dark Web is All For Crime
While criminals do use the dark web, many people use the dark web for a variety of other reasons. For example, journalists use the dark web to publish articles in censorship-heavy countries. There’s also social media, doomsday forums, and more!
4. You are Anonymous on The Dark Web
Using Tor does make it more challenging to track your identity, but it isn’t impossible. Law enforcement agencies have a variety of techniques to follow people on the dark web.
That’s why many people use a virtual private network alongside Tor. What is a VPN? It encrypts your internet connection and hides your IP address before you even connect to the Tor browser. Nobody can see or easily track what you do online. Click here for more: https://nordvpn.com/what-is-a-vpn/
5. You Have to Be an IT Expert to Access It
Again, not true! Thanks to the media and movies, people think the dark web is a hidden place accessible only to skilled hackers. Anybody can find the dark web by using the Tor browser. You can download it at any time, and for free, from their web page.
But using the dark web isn’t as fluid as the surface web. Since search engines don’t index it, you can’t just google the sites. Still, it doesn’t take much to find your way around it. Many indexed sites and forums share links to the dark web. But be sure to avoid anything that can get you in trouble.
After you’ve had a little time on the dark web, you’ll find it’s not as exciting as you thought. Yet, it’s a necessary tool. It gives people the freedom to share their ideas and communicate in situations where they wouldn’t usually be able to.
You, too, can use it for that or one of its other handy non-criminal purposes.