Deep Web: what it is and how to enter

What is the Deep Web and how can it be accessed? Find out how to do it by reading the article, what you could find and what the risks are.

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Deep Web: what it is and how to enter

The Deep Web is often represented as an almost surreal virtual place, where it is possible to perform any action in a completely anonymous way, as if you were in a science fiction movie. In reality it is simply a part of the internet, not indexed by traditional search engines, in which different rules apply compared to the classic web. To browse the Deep Web it is necessary to use special tools such as TOR, however you need to be cautious and pay attention to the pitfalls of the deep web.

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  1. What is the Deep Web?

  2. How to surf the Deep Web?

  3. How it works and how to use TOR?

  4. What are the risks of the Deep Web?

  5. How to surf safely in the Deep Web?

We are all used to connecting the web to search engines, but they are not exactly the same thing. Browsers such as Google’s Chrome, in fact, are programs that scan the network for documents, pages, websites and platforms, organizing all this information in databases, located on physical servers. When you search with Google or Firefox, browsers show a series of relevant results, but the proposed resources represent only a small part of the web.

In reality, the internet is much larger than we can imagine, since many areas of the network are not even analyzed by browsers, as they are considered unrelated, unsafe, or because they operate with protocols different from those adopted internationally. A large part of the internet is called Deep Web, where you can find content and resources that search engines like Google don’t index, so they remain almost invisible.

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And yet, this is an enormous amount of information, which according to some estimates would be hundreds of times larger than the traditional web. Inside there are normal websites but also portals associated with illegal and illegal activities, linked for example to drug trafficking (an example was the Silk Road portal, a marketplace for the sale of illegal drugs closed by the FBI in 2013), to the sharing of child abuse images, to the sale of weapons, to computer scams, in addition to the actual international hacking actions. This part of the network is often called Dark Web, a sub-layer of the Deep Web.

How to surf the Deep Web?

To surf the Internet, just open a browser like Google Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox, by searching by entering a keyword, a question, or directly the URL address of a website to reach. However, these rules do not apply to the Deep Web, as browsers do not work in this dark area of the network, so to enter you must install a specific program on your PC or mobile device.

The most widely used browser in the world to browse the Deep Web is TOR, a modified version of the famous Firefox software, whose acronym stands for The Onion Router. It is a program that allows you not only to visit the Web deep, but above all to hide your data while browsing, like the PC’s IP address. In this way it is possible to explore the Deep Web and surf anonymously, however the use of TOR does not completely shield you from the risks of this area of the internet.

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In the Deep Web, in fact, not only curious people, but also scammers, expert hackers, criminal companies and real criminals are acting, ready to trick inexperienced users with illegal actions, such as phishing bank data, duplicating digital identity and stealing sensitive information. To enter the invisible web it is important to maintain the utmost caution, being assisted if possible by an expert in the field, or by avoiding any contact with other users present in the deep network.

How to enter the Deep Web from PC?

The most common way to navigate in the Deep Web is through TOR, a program that lets you enter anonymously, using routers made available by a series of volunteers, an operation that allows you to navigate incognito. The first thing to do then is to download TOR on the PC, a free and open source software available on the official website Torproject.org, where you can find an Italian version.

On the portal, just select your operating system, choosing between Windows, Mac OS and Linux, save the file.exe on your computer and start the installation wizard. The process takes just a few minutes, so after a few moments you can start the browser and start the adventure inside the Deep Web. Once installed you just need to click on the software icon, selecting the Connect item to finally navigate the deep Web.

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The operation of TOR is quite simple, in fact it is completely similar to that of a traditional web browsing program. To facilitate the operation it is possible to use a search engine, such as Torch or Repository, which allow Google to quickly find websites and portals, even when their digital coordinates are not known. Obviously these search engines do not show the whole of the Deep Web, but they represent an adequate solution to surf safely.

How to enter the Deep Web from Android smartphones and tablets?

To access the Deep Web you can also use a mobile device, such as a smartphone or an Android tablet, just download and install a special application. A first option is to download TOR, downloading from the official website the version of the program compatible with Android, available both on the Torproject.org platform and on the Google Play Store.

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Alternatively you can download another useful app for the purpose, Orfox, always developed by the programmers of The Tor Project. This app also allows you to surf the Deep Web anonymously, has over 10 million downloads, but the latest version was updated in July 2018. The developers announced that from mid-2019 the support service will no longer be offered , therefore it will not be possible to get assistance in case of malfunctions and bugs.

A more up-to-date application is Onion Search Engine, downloaded by more than 500 thousand users and last released in May 2019, an app that works as a search engine for the Deep Web, able to index the portals in the network dark.

How to enter the Deep Web from iPhone and iPad iOS?

Browsing in the Deep Web is also possible with iOS devices, such as iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, just download the compatible apps on the App Store or iTunes. One of the most used options is Onion Browser, the program that allows you to enter the Web deep from your mobile device, to browse anonymously and index the websites present. The app is quite heavy, about 72.7 MB, it also requires a version of iOS 11.4 to the following ones.

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Another solution for accessing the Deep Web from iOS mobile devices is through the VPN + TOR Browser Private Web app, an application with an excellent score from users, however the latest version dates back to 2018. The app has weighing 101.2 MB, it is compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch running iOS 9.3 or later, but is available only in English, Spanish, German and French.

A less complex application, always present in English, is Red Onion II, a browser for browsing the Deep Web with Apple devices, equipped with an iOS operating system starting from version 9.0. The app is not too heavy, about 93 MB, but it provides a download cost of € 1.99. The graphical interface is simple and intuitive, with a good page loading speed, a complete menu and several additional features.

How it works and how to use TOR?

TOR is an open source browser developed starting from the Mozilla Firefox program, a software that lets you surf the Deep Web anonymously. Once installed in your PC, or in a mobile device through the app for Android and iOS, the browser uses a series of routers to mask the IP, avoiding tracking. To find the sites on the Deep Web TOR, it uses advanced encryption codes, which allow access to top-level .onion domains.

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Moreover, with this software it is possible to choose the geographical navigation IP, for example pretending that the PC address is not in India but in another country, thus managing to circumvent some restrictions of the deep Web, which do not allow to visit websites from specific geographical areas. An important feature of TOR is the blocking of some JavaScript scripts, parts of code that could threaten privacy by revealing its IP to the servers.

Using TOR Browser to navigate in the Deep Web is quite simple, in fact just start the program, click on Connect and make some settings, for example configuring the country from which you want to start the tracking signal. Then you can access the network like Google does, but if you do not know the coordinates of the platforms it can be difficult to navigate the deep Web.

For this reason it is possible to use search engines that simplify this operation, including Torch, where almost 480 thousand web sites are indexed. A valid alternative is to use DuckDuckGo in the Onion version, or Not Evil, two search engines specific to the Deep Web. Another solution is to consult the directories, portals that offer lists of websites to facilitate deep web browsing, using ad example the famous Hidden Wiki, Parazite Links, TorLinks, HD Wiki or OnionDir.

What are the risks of the Deep Web?

TOR is a secure enough browser to enter and browse the Deep Web, however it does not allow you to avoid any risk, as some problems have been encountered over the last few years. First of all, it is a network run by unknown people, almost always volunteers who want to keep the Deep Web free and without rules, so in practice an anonymous third party system is used, an aspect that is not as reassuring and reliable as it might seem.

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Furthermore, the TOR network procedure allows the signal transition nodes to know some positions, including the previous one and the next one, except for the final exit node. This means that TOR operations can see their IP and geographic location while browsing, but not the point of exit from the Deep Web, unless they visit websites without HTTPS protocol, effectively limiting anonymity to external users.

Another criticality of the Deep Web and the TOR network lies in hacker attacks, in fact in the same way as with traditional systems it is possible to find infected programs, viruses and malicious scripts, able to steal sensitive information and personal data. Finally, we must consider that it is an extremely slow and heavy browser, due to the IP obscuring system through a continuous procedure of bouncing the signal between the nodes.

How to surf safely in the Deep Web?

To avoid the risks of the Deep Web it is essential to follow some practical tips, which allow you to reduce the possibility of suffering a hacking attack or the theft of your sensitive data. For example, it is important to never visit traditional websites with TOR Browser, including search engines such as Google and Yahoo !, not to install external plugins and categorically avoid downloading programs, files and documents, as they could hide Trojans and other dangerous malware.

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Likewise, extensions to the TOR browser should not be applied, you should never use Torrent to download data, not even other P2P networks. If possible it is advisable not to use Windows, since it is one of the most easily hackable operating systems in the Deep Web, but opt for more efficient programs, such as Linux or external software to be inserted in the PC with USB keys and SD cards. Once the session is finished it is essential to delete all the data, exiting from TOR Browser in the direct manner, without closing the window leaving the system operational.

How to surf the Deep Web with TOR + VPN

An effective solution to increase the level of security when browsing in the Deep Web is to use TOR together with a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which is a virtual private network. In this way it is possible to connect to a VPN, subsequently activating TOR to access the Deep Web, opening the search browser inside your PC without disconnecting the VPN. Some private networks already offer TOR integration, otherwise it is enough to download the software separately.

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This makes it possible to obtain a double level of security, since both TOR and the VPN hide their IP and geographical location from external users and websites, offering two perfectly integrated anonymity systems. This configuration is slightly more complex, however it allows a safer surfing of the Deep Web, especially when it is necessary to communicate sensitive data and personal information. The only disadvantage is that the internet service provider and government authorities can see that TOR is being used, while the activity and navigation remain hidden.

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