More than 57% of the content on the dark web from more than 2700 sites was found to contain illicit material. Things have only gotten worse since then, with more than 60% of dark web listings holding the potential to harm enterprises.
On the dark web, you can buy drugs, guns, stolen subscription credentials, hacked accounts and stolen software codes. On the other hand, the dark web has a positive side that includes exclusive social clubs and groups like the BlackBook or Chess club.
The Deep Web vs. the Dark Web
Most people use the term deep web to refer to the dark web though they are two different entities.
Estimated to make up at least 90% of the internet, the deep web refers to any content available behind a paywall that requires credentials to access. It also refers to any content blocked from indexing by crawlers. This can include fee-based content, medical records, confidential corporate pages and membership websites.
The dark web is part of the deep web that is purposely hidden and can only be accessed through particular browsers or using a premium VPN service. The percentage the dark web constitutes is unknown, with most estimated putting it around 5%. While it is widely known for its illegal and unconventional dealings, not all its content is illicit.
The dark web has enabled whistleblowers, activists, and journalists to share confidential information while remaining anonymous, thus avoiding prosecution by world governments. You can also get access to restricted goods like medication that are not legal in your country.
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Dangers of the dark web
The dark web does not use censorship or safety standards common with the clear web. This makes websites on the dark web more harmful and more likely to infect a computer or device as soon as you log onto the web.
Criminal sites – you are likely to come across websites operated by criminals that sell illegal services or goods. These criminals may seek to exploit you, which may make you an accomplice to criminal activity. It is possible to be prosecuted for activities you did on the dark web. Law enforcement also operates on the dark web to catch criminals.
Viruses and malware – you are more susceptible to malware, viruses and any other form of cyber threat on the dark web. Clicking on links can take you to content you do not want to view or allow harmful files into your machine.
Webcam hijacking and hacking are also common occurrences on the dark web.
Ways to increase protection against malware from the dark web
Use a safe browser
Tor is the best browser to use to access the dark web. When using Tor, ensure you adjust the safety settings to the maximum to ensure your browser and computer are very well protected from hacks.
Use a VPN
The best way to ensure you remain secure on the dark web is to secure your traffic with a VPN on top of using a secure browser. A VPN will hide your actual IP address, making it difficult for hackers to tell your actual location. In addition, the VPN will channel all your activity on the dark web through an encrypted channel, making it unreadable to anyone spying on your activity.
Use antivirus and antimalware programs
These are crucial programs to have before visiting the dark web. With the right antivirus and antimalware programs, you can remain protected from keyloggers used by hackers to access user data by gaining access to your system. Antivirus programs have endpoint security programs that offer comprehensive cover against identity monitoring, malware and viruses.
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Whether you are a whistleblower interested in leaking important information to the public or someone looking for exclusive fun groups to be part of, learning about how the dark web works makes it easier for you to remain protected.