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Preparations to explore the dark web safely

Browse the Dark Web in the safest way (step by step)

Guarantee your security and anonymity when accessing the Dark Web. We give you the best recommendations for safe navigation.

Martial Triguero
By Martial Triguero
Fast answer

Accessing the dark web safely requires the use of the Tor browser and a reliable VPN to protect your identity and data. First, install Tor from its official site and activate a VPN to hide your real location. The dark web is a fraction of the Internet not indexed by conventional search engines, known for both its legal and illegal content. Before exploring, it is crucial to understand the risks and take appropriate safety measures. Remember, keeping your device up to date and following safe browsing practices is essential for safe browsing.

La Dark web It is that corner of the Internet that arouses both fascination and suspicion. Often confused with deep web, the dark web is a fraction of the Internet that cannot be accessed through conventional browsers and is not indexed by standard search engines. Is everything that is said about her true? Well, between myths and realities, one thing is certain: if you decide to venture into its deep waters, do so with safety and legality It's essential.

And, although not everything that happens on the dark web is illegal, it is true that since it is a less regulated virtual space, the risks are inherent. Therefore, if you consider exploring it, I recommend taking precautionary measures and arming yourself with layers of security that protect your identity and data. Among these measures, the use of a VPN and the browser Tor They are essential, but we will talk about them later. Ready to enter the hidden world of the Internet, but safely? Come with me, I'm going to explain how to do it step by step.

Understanding the structure of the Internet

Illustration of iceberg representing the Surface Web, Deep Web and Dark Web with size percentages.
Iceberg from the Surface Web to the Dark Web

To start sailing with knowledge, it is important to understand the internet layers: the surface web, the deep web and the dark web. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds:

  • Surface web: It's what you use every day. Google, Facebook, YouTube and any page that you can access simply by typing its address in the browser.
  • deep web: Here are resources that are not available to the average searcher, such as academic databases, government archives and anything that requires authentication to access, such as your emails.
  • Dark web: The most hidden and enigmatic layer. To access it you need specific tools, and this is where websites are hosted that, in many cases, you would not want to visit by accident.

Hen/Stag key differences between the deep web and the dark web are:

  • Visibility: While the deep web is simply unindexed, the dark web is intentionally hidden.
  • Log in: The deep web is accessed through logins and subscriptions, but for the dark web you need specific tools such as the Tor browser.
  • Contents: In the deep web you will find generally restricted but legal information, while in the dark web there is a mix of legal and illegal content.

It is crucial to differentiate them to understand that not everything occult is necessarily dangerous or illegal. Many of us use the deep web daily, probably without realizing it, when we check our email or access corporate documents.

Warning

Although it is legal to access the dark web, it is essential to do so with caution and be aware of local laws. Not all activities carried out there are legal, and dark web privacy can be a double-edged sword. Remember, being informed is protecting yourself.

Importance of security when accessing the dark web

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I'm going to be honest with you, delve into the Dark web It's not like taking a walk through your favorite social network. Here, privacy and anonymity are the departure and arrival of a path that must be followed with great care. The potential risks They are not a myth: from malware to the possibility of our personal information falling into the wrong hands, to finding ourselves in situations that compromise our legal security.

La legality of the dark web It is a topic that could take us hours to debate. Yes, it is legal to access it, but as in life itself, not everything that glitters is gold. There are activities in that hidden world that can cross the line of legality in our country, and believe me, you do not want to be on that side of the board. Therefore, I urge you to take into account the legal aspects before diving into these waters.

Therefore, it is worth emphasizing that before clicking on that link that will take us to the unknown, we must be prepared and protected. This is not just advice, it is an imperative need to avoid major problems. I assure you that with the appropriate tools and knowledge, you can mitigate much of the risk associated with these places on the network.

Now, let's move on to discover those essential tools that will accompany us on the adventure.

Essential tools to access the dark web

If you have already made the decision to delve into the depths of the dark web, it is essential to equip yourself with the adequate tools to maintain the course of your navigation under a blanket of anonymity and security. Let's think of it as the equipment we would take on an expedition to the heart of the Amazon. We wouldn't embark on an adventure without a compass, right? Here, our digital compasses are the VPN and the browser Tor.

Let's start talking about the VPN, an essential tool that acts as a private tunnel through which your Internet connection will travel. It is not just a matter of accessing geographically restricted content, but of protecting your identity by encrypting all the data you send and receive. And believe me, on the dark web, discretion is as important as curiosity.

  • Why is a VPN crucial? A good VPN hides your real IP address and connects you to the network through a secure and encrypted server. This way, even if someone was spying, they would only see the VPN server's IP, not yours.
  • How to choose a suitable VPN? Look for one with a strict no-logs policy, strong encryption, and that offers a high connection speed. I would suggest you take a look at NordVPN and similar renowned (including the one that comes included with Google One), which more than meet these requirements.

About the browser Tor, short for The Onion Router, is the gateway to the dark web. This browser is designed to bounce your connection through a network of servers distributed around the world, making it difficult for your online activity to be tracked.

  • What is Tor? It is a free browser that allows you to access both the surface web and the dark web, keeping your identity and activity anonymous.
  • How It Works Tor uses a network of volunteer servers to encrypt and redirect your connection several times before reaching its destination, making tracing extremely difficult.
  • How to install it? Always download the latest version from your Official website to avoid fake or compromised versions.

These tools, used together, maximize your security. But, like any expedition worth its salt, it doesn't hurt to bring an extra survival kit. In our case, this kit consists of proper browser configuration and responsible use during our digital exploration.

Recommendation

Before accessing the dark web, make sure your VPN is active and working properly. Protect your steps online and avoid exposing your true identity.

Steps to access the dark web safely

To delve into the depths of the Dark web as safely as possible, there are a series of measures that we cannot ignore. Let's think of them as the essential warm-up before a marathon; Only in this case, we are talking about preserving our privacy and digital security.

Previous preparations: security and privacy on your device

Before jumping into the void of the dark web, you should make sure that your equipment is in top condition to protect your privacy:

  • Update your operating system and software: It is vital to have the latest security updates.
  • Install a good antivirus and antimalware: And make sure they are updated and active.
  • Disable unnecessary services: Turn off any apps or services that may leak personal information.
  • set up your vpn: Connect through a VPN server before starting Tor. This adds an extra layer of security.
Note

Perform these steps every time you decide to explore the dark web. Don't underestimate the importance of preparing your device for safe browsing.

Tor Browser Installation and Configuration

The Tor browser is the vehicle that will allow us to reach our destination. So pay attention to how it is installed and configured:

  • Download Tor exclusively from your Official website (you can also do it in Google Play Store if you are going to use an Android device).
  • When starting Tor, set the security level to “most secure” to limit certain web features that could compromise you.
  • Avoid installing or using additional plugins that could leak your identity.

These initial steps are essential to keep curious people and cybercriminals at bay. Do not skimp on precautions; Remember that prevention is better than cure.

Connect through a VPN to protect your identity

We have already mentioned the VPN, but let's emphasize: the VPN is your shield, your invisibility from prying eyes. Always connect to one before opening the Tor browser. Choose a server that offers you stability and trust. Remember that NordVPN or the one offered by Google One They are recommended options for their no-logs policy and robust encryption.

Recommended Tor Browser Settings to Maximize Security

Selected 'Safest Ever' security settings in a Tor browser app on a mobile device.
Maximum security in Tor to explore the dark web

Adjusting Tor settings can make the difference between safe browsing and unnecessary risk. Whenever you can:

  • Disable JavaScript for all .onion sites.
  • Avoid altering the size of the browser window to avoid leaving “footprints” of your screen resolution.
  • Consider using a bridge mode navigation interface to bypass blocking or surveillance.

After these steps, you will be more equipped to delve into the dark web in a safer way. But don't let your guard down, following these recommendations to the letter will make your experience not only fascinating, but also safer.

Note

In the Thor version for Android, 'NoScript' is already pre-installed, a plugin that prevents dynamic content from being executed on unsafe sites, preventing Clickjacking, 'Spectre', 'Meltdown' attacks and other JavaScript-based exploits.

Plugins screen in Tor browser showing NoScript enabled.
NoScript active in Tor for extra protection

Using portable and secure operating systems (recommended)

Option of portable operating systems that load in real time for greater anonymity: Tails, Whonix, among others

If you're looking for an extra level of anonymity, consider using live mobile operating systems. These OSs were designed with privacy and anonymity in mind:

  • Tails: Load a portable operating system directly from your USB and forget about leaving traces on your device.
  • Whonix: Allows you to use Windows or MacOS at the same time, running from a virtual machine.

The use of these operating systems can be a little more complex for non-advanced users, but if you really value your anonymity, it is worth the effort, since this way, your data (used on a daily basis on your main device ) are completely disconnected from access to the dark web.

Recommendation

If you decide to use Tails or Whonix, make sure you have read and understand how they work. Sometimes security and anonymity require prior learning.

Once you are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to immerse yourself in the dark web, it is time to talk about the navigation itself. In this very special terrain of the Internet, common sense and caution should be your best allies.

How to avoid scams and protect your personal information

The dark web can be a minefield for the most unwary. To avoid them:

  • Do not share personal information: As simple and basic as it sounds, you should never share your personal data.
  • Pay attention to the links: Many links can lead to malicious downloads or compromised sites. If a link does not inspire confidence in you, it is better not to click.
  • Be wary of offers that are too good: If you come across offers that seem unbeatable, there is surely a cat in the bag. Caution is paramount.

Remember, it is always better to err on the side of caution than to have to regret an unfortunate click.

Importance of not logging into regular services and avoiding financial transactions

When browsing the dark web, you should avoid the temptation to log into services you normally use (such as your personal email), as this can expose your identity and location. Likewise, financial transactions should be carried out with extreme caution and preferably using anonymous cryptocurrencies.

Using cryptocurrencies for anonymous transactions: recommendations and precautions

Cryptocurrencies are the currency of the dark web, but even these require careful handling:

  • Use secure wallets: Look for wallets known for their security and privacy (Monero could be a).
  • Do not reuse wallets: For each transaction or series of related transactions, it is ideal to use a new address.
  • Do your research before using a cryptocurrency: Make sure the cryptocurrency you choose offers you the level of privacy you need.

And don't forget, whenever you operate with cryptocurrencies, do so with the certainty that you fully understand the process and the implications of your actions.

Useful Resources and How to Find Them

Screenshots of dark web web directories with .onion links.
.onion link directories to explore the dark web

Finding useful resources on the dark web can seem daunting, given its anarchic nature. However, there are directories and search engines that can serve as a lighthouse in this dark ocean:

At access The Hidden Wiki on the dark web, enter this address in the Tor browser:

http://paavlaytlfsqyvkg3yqj7hflfg5jw2jdg2fgkza5ruf6lplwseeqtvyd.onion/

In the case of TorLeft, you can do it through this address:

http://torlinksge6enmcyyuxjpjkoouw4oorgdgeo7ftnq3zodj7g2zxi3kyd.onion/
  • The Hidden Wiki: It is a good starting point for those who are entering the dark web for the first time. Contains links to categorized resources and services.
  • TorLinks: Secondary directory backed by the one we just named right up here.
  • DuckDuckGo on the dark web: This well-known search engine also has its .onion version, which respects your privacy.

On your journey through the dark web, remember that curiosity must go hand in hand with prudence.

Important

If you are looking for specific resources on the dark web, try to verify the reliability of the sources and read opinions from other users before using any service. If you want more content, check out this list with .onion links made by our colleagues at ExpressVPN.

Maintaining security after browsing

Exploring the dark web can be an intriguing experience, but it's vital not to let your guard down once you're logged out. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Safe disconnection: Close all Tor browser windows and safely disconnect the VPN.
  • Trace cleaning: Delete any temporary files or history that may have been stored on your computer.
  • Restart: Consider restarting your device to ensure that all applications related to dark web browsing have been closed completely.

And, as always, I insist, keeping your operating system and security software updated is the last layer of protection for your foray into the network of networks.

So, is it worth taking a 'walk' through the dark web?

The dark web is a vast and complex territory, full of opportunities, curiosities and dangers. Remember that security and anonymity should be your top priorities. Although it is possible to navigate this network safely, it never hurts to remember the responsibility and ethics that come with its use. Privacy is a right, but it is also a responsibility.

Ultimately, the dark web is not for everyone. It is up to each person to decide if it is worth exploring it and, if you decide to do so, always with the necessary knowledge and precautions.

FAQ about the dark web

How is the dark web and deep web different?

The deep web includes all non-indexed online content accessible through authentication, such as emails or banking details. The dark web is intentionally hidden and accessible only with specific tools, hosting both legal and illegal content.

Is it illegal to access the dark web?

Accessing the dark web itself is not illegal, but many of the activities carried out there can be. It is essential to navigate with caution and be aware of local laws.

What precautions should I take before accessing the dark web?

It's crucial use a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, as well as the Tor browser to access. Keep your operating system and antivirus updated to protect your device.

How can I safely access the dark web?

For secure access, use a trusted VPN and the Tor browser. Set Tor security settings to the highest level, avoid sharing personal information, and stay alert for potential scams or malicious content.

Should I worry about my safety after browsing the dark web?

Yes, after browsing, it is advisable to disconnect the VPN and close Tor, delete temporary files or history and consider restarting your device to remove any residual traces.

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Technology veteran with more than 20 years of experience, passionate about mobile devices, home automation and artificial intelligence. In addition to my fascination with movies and series, I have solid experience in server and database administration. Committed to continuous learning, I always seek to stay up to date with the latest technological trends.
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