Headline:  What is the Dark Web?


Headline:  What is the Dark Web?

Body:  We’ve spoken at some length about the  difficulties you can get into when surfing the web.  You might get ensnared by a heartstring attack or fall for what becomes a “rug pull.”  So many scams and schemes, and now, we are told that there is something called the Dark Web?   What is it?  How does one avoid any emanations coming from it?  Is there, perhaps, a positive side of it, and what can we learn here?

I haven’t seen so many Webs since SpiderMan!!

Just quickly, there is a key distinction within the Web.   So, let’s start there.  First, there is the surface web.  These are all of the websites you are likely to use on a daily basis.   All of these websites are discoverable within search engines like Google.  Then, the sites that are not discoverable, are called the deep net.   The deep web contains the dark web.  (These are often used interchangeably, but the dark web seems to involve some sort of criminal activity, usually.  For instance, on the deep web, there might be a site that has TV shows that are not shown in some country.  On the dark web, there will be movies that have not been released yet.)

What is the Dark Web?

When people picture the dark web, it is usually a dark urban streetscape with a variety of drug and gun pushers pressuring them amidst a background of Porno theaters and gun shops.  This is not so.  “Dark Web” resources are encrypted online content that is not indexed in the normal way.  Give me a moment and I’ll get out my English-Geek dictionary.  “Not indexed in the normal way” means, you will not find these in a Google search.  Encrypted often means that you need a key or a token to enter the site.  Sometimes, a professional society will have a website on the dark web because they want to be able to enable use of medical or legal databases.

People often confuse the Dark Web with cryptocurrency.   And, yes, they are often used for similar reasons  Both allow for a higher degree of anonymity.   But, cryptocurrency is a form of payment, and the Dark Web often uses fiat currencies to pay for goods or services.

So, how do you access the Dark Web?

You can access the Dark Web by using special browser called Tor.  Tor stands for “The Onion Router” and came online in the early 2000s, and was funded by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.  In 2011, there was a major website (Silk Road) in 2011 that was shut down by U.S. authorities.

TOR is admittedly, a bit slower than other browsers, but it is more secure because it uses a randomly selected number of computer “nodes” to get you to the portion of the Web that you wish to see.

To be sure, TOR has some advantages and disadvantages compared to other browsers.

The browser is FREE.TOR can be very slow due to routing.
IP addresses and browsing history are masked.Activity may not be COMPLETELY anonymous.
TOR browser works on encrypted networks.TOR is illegal in some countries.
Easy access to non-indexed pagesEven if legal, the use of this browser can be suspicious.
 Not all websites work on TOR.

So, after I download TOR, I’m all protected, right?

It’s certainly a good start.  But, to be truly careful, you probably want to have coverage from a company that does identity theft monitoring.  You also want to have up to date antivirus software and  anti-malware software.

The Verdict

It’s a scary world we’ve been thrust into, and it’s really up to each individual as to how to cope.  If you take these commonsense precautions, you will likely be alright. 


What Is the Dark Web and Should You Access It? (investopedia.com)

What is Deep and Dark Web? How to Access it Safely (kaspersky.com)

What is the dark web? How to use Tor to access the dark web | WIRED

What is the Tor browser and is it safe? (kaspersky.com)

Editor’s Note: Please note that the information contained herein is meant only for general education: This should not be construed as Tax Advice.   Personal attributes could make a material difference in the advice given, so, before taking action, please consult your tax advisor or CPA.


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