The dark web provides its users with a level of privacy and anonymity that the surface web can’t provide. However, using it is also dangerous, unless you are well-prepared for the online dangers that lurk in its crevices. Read on to learn what the dark web is, what its advantages and disadvantages are, and the things that you can do to stay safe, including using a malware protection VPN.
What the dark web is
Not all information on the World Wide Web is indexed by search engines. In fact, information that can be accessed using search engines only make up four percent of all information available on the Internet; this is called the surface web. The rest — the part that isn’t searchable on Google or Bing — is called the deep web.
The dark web is part of the deep web. What makes the deep web different from the dark web is that the former is made up of pages that are not indexed but are still accessible if you visit them directly. The dark web, on the other hand, is made up of pages and files that have been intentionally hidden, and accessing it requires specific software and protocols, such as the Tor network and the peer-to-peer platform Freenet.
Advantages and disadvantages of using the dark web
Anonymity is the main reason why people use the dark web. When you use the dark web, your information is protected from surface web spies and you can browse without the worry of being traced or censored by the authorities. Content found on the dark web also cannot be found on the surface web, which opens up a whole new world of content consumption for users.
Because of its anonymous nature, however, the dark web is also a haven for the most villainous characters on the Internet. Hacking and malware attacks lurk in every corner, and it’s common to find content and activities that are malicious, ranging from sites accommodate the illegal trading of drugs and weapons to child pornography, human trafficking and recipes involving prohibited meat.
How to stay safe on the dark web
Surfing the dark web is dangerous and leaving your device unprotected can lead to serious consequences if you’re not careful. Follow these simple tips for better security when using the dark web.
- Keep Tor’s privacy and security settings to high – Doing so protects you from malicious scripts and payloads that leave your device vulnerable to attacks.
- Install the Tails software – The Tails software has a number of features that work well with the Tor browser. You can learn more about the Tails software here.
- Use a different machine – If you can use a different machine for your dark web excursions, do so. Using a device exclusively for browsing the dark web ensures that your main device is safe from attacks and rebooting the dedicated device is easier in case of an attack.
- Be careful with what you click – Because threats are commonplace on the dark web, it’s still pays to be alert when it comes to clicking links.
- Install a VPN – A malware protection VPN such as Hotspot Shield protects your device from threats when browsing the dark web. It uses encryption and IP address masking to keep your sessions secure and anonymous, while also providing added malware protection by blocking infected sites.
Download the best malware protection VPN today
Hotspot Shield is a malware protection VPN for Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS devices. Hotspot Shield can also be downloaded as extensions for Chrome and Firefox. To learn more about it and its numerous features, please visit the Hotspot Shield website. You can download the free version here.
Read our blog for more online privacy, security, and anonymity tips!