Do you know how dark web, deep web, Onion, and Tor links differ? However, the internet is a massive and complex network that holds loads of hidden and visible information. Most of the internet activities operate on the dark & deep web.
If you try to browse the dark or deep web freely, you must understand the two terms discussed in the article. Tor and Onion sites, as both are interlinked, are equally important if you are trying to dive into the hidden world.
However, the terms tor links, onion links, deep and dark web often create confusion among users, leading to queries about their meanings and difference. This blog will let you know the dangers and precautions you need before entering and browsing the deep web.
Alert: if you think about logging in, use a trustworthy VPN to secure your information. It is not safe to access the hidden links without an anonymous browser.
What is the Deep Web?
The deep web is the non-index part of the internet, but most of the part is legal such as social media accounts, financial information, email archives, academic journals, streaming libraries, etc. In a nutshell, site owners conceal their sites to secure information not meant for public viewing.
However, deep web functions by requiring a particular password to access the private site you are trying to enter.
What is the Dark web?
Dark web hosts a project which ends with .onion and can only be accessed via the Tor browser. But the dark web is a risky place to visit as it is a hub of all the illegal activities like weapons, stolen identities, looking for cybercriminals, human trafficking, and whatnot.
Some people use this encrypted space to assist users in securing their identity and online privacy. But hackers use the dark web to perform illicit activities that give the platform a bad reputation.
Dark Web Vs. Deep Web
The deep web and dark web are quite different from the surface web, and most of the web is hidden & invisible. You cannot find dark websites on traditional search engines like Binge & Google. Both dark & deep web terms are often used interchangeably, but they contain different parts of the internet. You will need a special browser to access dark or deep sites.
Deep and dark web have bad reputations, as they are filled with so much mystery, leading to confusion and misinformation. In reality, these sites make up around 96% of the internet. It includes the stuff behind paywalls, password-protected websites, private databases, and other restricted areas of the internet.
Moreover, Deep web content includes email accounts, online banking systems, subscription-based websites, and counterfeit items, and some even offer cybersecurity measures to improve online privacy. You can find various legitimate discussion groups, news sites, and forums.
Whereas the dark web is the hub of illegal resources and is usually hidden and unreachable to the outside world. As there are criminals selling videos of child pornography, trafficking, , weapons, stolen data, and more. Though the dark web uses anonymous networks like the onion router to hide the user’s identity and servers’ location.
The dark web is also famous for hosting illegal services, hacking forums, and other illegal activities. The anonymity of the dark & deep websites makes it complicated for law enforcement authorities to find criminals on the darknet.
What are Tor Links?
Tor links are similar to .onion links, which are URLs used to access sites hosted on the Tor network. It is a decentralized network that offers high anonymity and security for its users. Tor links let users browse websites anonymously, making it challenging for anyone to track their location and online activities.
However, tor links have both positive & negative uses. Some authentic uses include offering a private platform for whistleblowers, activists, journalists, and individuals living under oppressive regimes to share details without fear. But it also comes with many illegal markets, forums, and other illicit Content.
What are Onion links?
Onion sites are the sites available on the dark web; you cannot access them on a traditional browser. Their URLs contain the .onion as the domain, regardless of the common domains such as .com or .net. Onion sites are considered hidden in the deep web and use Tor to encrypt connections, keeping users and admins anonymous.
However, Tor coined the term Onion routing to explain the process by which users gain online anonymity. This encryption method assists in obscuring the true identity and location of both the site and the user. When you access a site via an onion link, your connection is routed via a series of volunteer-operated servers, making it quite difficult to track the original IP address.
Moreover, it’s crucial to note that while the Tor network offers anonymity, it doesn’t promise security. The dark web sites accessed via onion links can contain scams, illicit Content, and other potential risks. It’s suggested to take security measures to secure your privacy while exploring it.
Tor Links Vs Onion Links
However, tor links and onion links are essentially the same thing. Both terms are used interchangeably to explain the website addresses accessed via tor browser on the dark web. Tor uses a layered encryption system to offer users anonymity and privacy. While accessing the sites on the Tor network, the site addresses typically end with the “.onion” extension.
However, tor links can be described as the broader term that includes all kinds of links or connections made via the tor network; it includes the site addresses ending in .onion and other kinds of connections. Remember that links inside the Tor network are end-to-end encrypted by default.
Take Necessary Precautions Before Accessing Onion Links
The Tor network is designed to offer you privacy and anonymity. But some professionals agree that intelligence agencies have compromised some networks on the Tor. So it’s always advised to use a reliable VPN for Tor while accessing the dark web, as it will add an extra security layer.
Here’s how you can access Tor securely with a VPN:
- First, select a trustworthy VPN such as NordVPN because it has no logs policy.
- Then, install the VPN on your system.
- Select a VPN server from the list and tap Connect. (Keep in mind to use servers that are optimized for Tor over VPN).
- Open your Tor browser and use the dark web with the added privacy of your VPN.
How to Access Deep & Dark Web Securely
However, you cannot directly access the darknet; to visit sites, you have to go download the Tor browser. It will allow you to browse dark web markets securely and anonymously. Follow the below instruction to access the deep web:
- To explore the deep web, you have to install the Tor browser.
- Once downloaded, you have to install the browser on your system.
- Tap to open the downloaded file to start the installation process.
- Follow the on-screen installation guidance to finish the process.
- Now open Tor and access the deep web links. Also, we recommend you use a reliable VPN. This will help users to visit the darknet without fear of being tracked.
However, sites on the darknet also use Tor and other similar software, including I2P, to remain secure and anonymous on the platform.
Is it prohibited to Access the Darknet?
No, it is not illegal to browse the Darkweb in many states. It’s the hidden part of the internet, and users can benefit from anonymity and the ability to take illicit actions for providers, users, and untraceable sites.
However, the legality of the dark web is completely based on how a user engages with it. A person may fall for illegal activities like buying or selling drugs, weapons, stolen data, or hacking, which tools are against the law.
Best Onion Websites to Browse in 2023
In this section, we have curated a list of the most popular onion websites on the darknet. Keep in mind you have to take great security measures while accessing the dark web, as sites often contain malware and scams. Here are some of the trustworthy Onion sites.
SecureDrop is an open-source whistleblower submission structure that media outlets use to accept documents from different anonymous sources. It is considered a secure platform designed to allow the submission of sensitive credentials to news organizations.
More than 50 news organizations use SecureDrop globally, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and others. As the platform has no other third-party interference. The best part is that sharing through the dark web on SecureDrop allows users to do so without fearing being tracked.
- The Hidden Wiki
It is one of the simplest ways to find helpful darknet websites and resources. It is a directory of all the available websites on the Tor network. You can explore these links to find everything from darknet forums to chat rooms to markets.
But you have to take the safety measure mentioned above to remain secure on the platform. It is worth remembering that you shouldn’t trust the hidden wiki links as this is a community resource that anybody can update, and some of the URLs are scams. Also, there are fake hidden wiki sites circulating, so it’s necessary to verify the onion links.
Ahmia is another secure Tor link to access darknet sites. It helps users to explore to browse dark websites anonymously. However, onion sites are “crawled: and added to the list if their “robots.txt” file enables it and if they are not on their blacklist of sites holding Abusive Content.
Further, Ahmia can also be used to check insights, statistics, and news about the anonymous Tor browser.
If you wish to access the surface web via Tor, you can use DuckDuckGo for security and anonymity. It is a private search engine that lets you access traditional websites and the dark web without collecting or sharing personal data. This is a great choice if you want to increase your online anonymity.
Daniel is an amazing resource to help you visit different darknet sites and onion links. Daniels lists almost 7,000 onion sites, which are categorized for simple browsing. However, it has a built-in status check that allows you to know whether a specific site status is active.
One of the darknet sites is Facebook. However, we don’t suggest logging in to Facebook for any online protection. It’s striking that this social media has such a vast presence on the darknet. By creating a Facebook onion account, one can browse the darknet anonymously.
Although the .onion Facebook doesn’t make it easy to have an anonymous account, but it does make Facebook more accessible in regions where it is restricted, but the .onion address of Facebook users can remain anonymous.
Dread is quite like a Tor network’s equal’s to Reddit. It was started in 2018 after Reddit decided to ban a huge number of accounts. You can create an account and start leaving your thoughts on diverse topics, all while maintaining security and privacy.
Remember that extra anonymity to a platform like Reddit causes users to behave without a filter, as the platform offers complete anonymity. You can follow, join and react to discussions without revealing your identity. However, the site’s current status is down, and there’s no indication of when it may return.
Haystak is a specialized darknet crawler that filters out harmful details along with subscription editions, including historical content access, email notifications, and sophisticated search. It is a darknet search engine for Tor Onion hidden services. It has been made with security in mind, allowing users to search for the most often censored topics.
It is a smooth platform that lets you monitor the uptime of several .onion websites. It also offers accurate news sources, torrent site URLs, and darknet market links verified by PGP. The site functions without any tracking and gained popularity in a short time.
It is not like a search engine, but Dark.Fail is a good starting point for a new darknet explorer. You can find well-known sites here and get accurate links to avoid phishing scams.
It is a communication platform secured from government interference and cyber attacks by holding no record of conversations. You cannot make an account on the platform without an invitation code, but you can visit its security section to find tips on securing your identity.
It is one of the oldest and most prominent Darkweb search engines, serving around 80,000 queries regularly. It is mostly funded via advertising purchased in Bitcoin. That’s why the front page is covered with old-school banner ads of uncertain origins.
It is the best secretive and investigative news platform with a surface web presence with a darknet link. Users can choose to remain anonymous if they want. You can also maintain anonymity and security on the platform.
ProPublica offers significant breaking news that is essential to the public interest. By maintaining security, it makes sure that anybody can access its Content and avoid being monitored.
The platform’s investigative journalism makes them a target for the stringers, so they joined the deep web to assist their journalists and readers in accessing their Content and avoid being tracked.
Things Available on Deep & Dark Web
You can find diverse goods and illegal services on the dark net. The deep web is a massive part of the internet that is hidden and cannot be found on standard search engines. The platform becomes an unregulated place where anyone can trade anything as they have the Tor browser and Bitcoins to trade.
What’s on the dark web has become the most asked question, so here we have curated a list of things available in the hidden part of the internet.
- Credit Cards– the platform sells credit cards and debit cards at cheaper rates.
- Fake Passports- deep web is popular for selling fake documents such as stolen passwords and US passports.
- Hacking Services- the dark web hosts different sites and forums where users can hire hackers for different purposes like hacking into accounts, spreading malware, and launching cyber attacks.
- Drugs- weed is estimated to account for two-thirds of the darknet market. You can get any kind of drug from the dark web markets with cryptocurrency.
- Streaming App Accounts- users can buy Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming app accounts cheaply.
- Bitcoin Lottery Tickets- as we all know, dark web transactions are solely done using cryptocurrency. So it’s natural that users want Bitcoin for gambling. So darknet markets also offer Bitcoin lottery tickets for sale.
- Hitman- the darknet is famous for hosting illicit Content; you can hire a hitman to commit violent acts.
- Government Data- the platform also offers confidential data of government authorities.
Darknet markets help trade illegal goods and services, and Silk Road is one of the darknet markets which let users trade multiple kinds of goods and services, including drugs, weapons, counterfeit items, and others. But we do not recommend you to involve in illegal activities. You can browse at your own risk.
Other Anonymous Networks to Access the Darknet
Tor is the most popular and broadly used anonymous Network to access darknet websites. Although, it’s essential to note that accessing the dark web or engaging in illegal activities can lead to serious results. Other than Tor, there are also alternative anonymous networks that claim to offer privacy.
- I2P– it is a decentralized Network that offers anonymous communication and hosting of sites. It also uses layered encryption to cover users’ traffic, making it challenging for others to identify the location or IP. Also the other essential feature is that all incoming and outgoing data from the app is encrypted, including public & private keys.
- Mozilla Firefox- users can also access Darkweb using Mozilla by adjusting its settings. First, open the Firefox app > enter “About:config” > find “Network. DNS.blockDotOnion.” > Adjust the setting to false > Now restart the app.
Make sure that you have the NoScript and HTTPs everywhere plugins for Firefox before you dive into the dark web.
- Whonix– this is only available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is a privacy-focused OS designed to offer anonymity for its users while they browse the internet. Whonix virtual station connects to the internal Virtual LAN. It can only interact with the gateway, the most effective way by which the browser secures user applicants from learning a device’s IP address.
Potential Risks Associated with Darknet
Users are still confused about whether the darknet is safe to browse. However, Darkweb can be dangerous; here are some of the threats using darknet:
Lots of services offered on the Darkweb are scams, and some are genuine; you can buy at the agreed price. But some scammers have exploited the platform’s reputation by stealing people’s money.
Darknet is a center for all kinds of malware. Many dark websites provide malware as a tool for cyberattacks. Since malware remains across the dark web, your device can easily infect. Many tor sites don’t undertake the security measure to secure users like most websites on the surface web.
As a result, you can be exposed to several malware, including ransomware, key loggers, botnets, and phishing. So, always use an anonymous network along with VPN to protect your identity on the dark web.
Authorities across the world are working to take over many dark websites. In fact, they are expanding concerns about law enforcement monitoring what is happening on the dark web. For Instance, the Silk Road was one of the biggest markets on the Darkweb and was taken down by authorities.
Law enforcement authorities have the capability to use specialized software to enter the dark web and examine its activities. As a result, individuals may be subject to close monitoring, even if their actions are not illicit.
The term dark web sounds mysterious, and some Onion links are dangerous. So it is necessary to take precautions before accessing the darknet and not tap every link. Hopefully, your confusion is clear regarding the terms dark web, deep web, onion links, and tor links.