I always thought it would be cool to go beyond the surface web and check out the dark web, but I have never done that. Mostly because the dark web is part of the internet that isn’t visible to search engines and it requires the use of an anonymizing browser called Tor to be accessed. The Tor browser routes your web page requests through a series of proxy servers operated by thousands of volunteers around the globe, rendering your IP address unidentifiable and untraceable. The Tor Browser is able to prevent someone watching your connection from knowing what websites you visit. I don’t even know what is on the dark web, but from movies that I have watched, it is a cesspool of explicit porn, a rendezvous place for human traffickers and I guess it is the place you go to if you want to hire a hitman. I am not interested in buying credit card numbers, whatever kind of drugs are for sale, guns, explosives, counterfeit money, forged passports, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Facebook accounts, hacked Netflix accounts, bitcoin crypto-currency, or software that could help me to break into someone’s computer, so I don’t have any need to ever visit the dark web.
The dark web was invented so spies could stay anonymous and that part of it sounds cool, but espionage is not my thing. I usually try to avoid suspicious websites as I don’t want my computer to be infected by any malware or have it pick up some type of Trojan (RAT). I read that navigating the dark web is not easy, as this place is messy and chaotic being a swarm of servers and nodes and since everyone is anonymous, anyone you meet there could be out to scam you. If you really need something that is not legitimate, then this is the place for you, as this seamy underbelly of the human experience may be less of a risk for you than skulking around in a dark alley. Dark web websites end in (.onion) for their domain suffix, and they use a scrambled naming structure that creates URLs that are strings of seemingly random letters and numbers making them impossible to remember. Many dark websites are set up by scammers, who constantly move around to avoid the wrath of their victims.
Just reading about the dark web scares me and I am not about to purchase any special software to access it. I heard that people recommend using a virtual machine software instead of your locally installed Windows, because that would make it easier to contain malware. They also suggested using a disposable operating system like an 8GB thumb drive to keep your hard drive from getting corrupted. Another recommendation was to use a Linux-based live operating system which can be booted from a USB stick or DVD, and you would need software capable of burning images on your thumb drive. This article I read mentioned using a FAT32 to root out any compatibility issues and File Allocation Table32 was employed on Windows PCs prior to the more advanced NTFS New Technology File System. The FAT32 format is widely used for USB drives, flash memory cards and external hard drives for compatibility between all platforms. You are also going to need a Universal USB Installer which is an open-source live Linux USB flash drive creation software that allows users to create a bootable live USB flash drive. You are almost there now, but if you are using a desktop computer, they propose that you switch to the Ubuntu desktop and replace your current operating system, because it includes a bevy of multimedia and productivity software. All of these steps and procedures are way too complicated for me, so I will probably never access the dark web.
Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #216 which asks, “Have you ever accessed or used the dark web? (Note, I’m not asking for what purpose you used the dark web, so if you answer yes to this question, don’t feel as though you’re confessing to doing something illegal. There are legitimate and legal reasons why people may use the dark web. Are you one who has?)