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The dark web is a hidden part of the internet that requires the use of a special browser called Tor to be accessed.  The dark web is often talked about as being a dark place full of criminals, which it is for the most part.  You can buy stolen credit card information, passwords, drugs, counterfeit money, as well as services such as hacking.

Because the dark web is largely unstructured and unregulated, navigating it can be difficult.  Sites and their owners like to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.  So normal search engines like Google have no ability to access and index the dark web.  This makes the dark web a very dynamic and unpredictable place.


Tor Browser
Tor Browser

Access to the dark web is via a web browser call Tor (The Onion Router).  On the surface, Tor works in a similar way to Google Chrome.  It is an application you can download and install on your PC.  However under the surface, it works completely different.  To try and protect everyones identity, Tor connects to the dark web through a series of proxy servers, which makes your IP address untraceable.



Because normal search engines such as Google can not index the dark web, other ways of navigating the dark web are required.  The dark web has its own search engines, the more popular being DuckDuckGo, Onion URL Repository, and Torch.  These alternatives tend to work in the same way as Google, but because of the unstructured nature of the dark web, searching and accessing websites is less reliable and prone to errors.



Dark Web Website
Dark Web Website

Websites on the Dark Web look quite similar to normal websites.  However, one of the big differences is that the web address doesn’t end with .com or .net.  Instead, dark web websites end with .onion 

Dark web websites also use a different naming structure which makes them difficult to access and remember.  URLs are often a scrambled combination of numbers and letters.  For example http://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion 



The majority of the dark web is a dark place full of illegal sites and goods to buy.  To protect buyers and sellers, transactions are made using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.  In fact, the dark web is one of the main reasons that cryptocurrencies such as the bitcoin continue to remain popular.  While using bitcoin may offer some protection from the authorities, it does not mean that it is safe to use.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  The anonymity of using cryptocurrencies attracts thieves and scammers.  After all, it is not as if you can go to the police and complain someone has ripped you off when buying drugs on the dark web.

The range of goods and services for sale on the dark web is astounding.  However, delivery of prohibited items is still a problem, with authorities ramping up efforts to detect and weed out packages containing prohibited items sent through the mail system.