I have recently been asked several times by clients and colleagues about the dark web. When I began writing this article I was still debating whether I should use capitals when addressing the dark web. After a few thoughts, I decided that it does not warrant its own title. The dark web is as much a proper place as a dark alley. Before I discuss my reasoning here, I should give you all a quick synopsis of what the dark web actually is, and it isn’t what you may think. The Internet, as we know it, is a network of millions of servers that connect to one another and, as a result, catalog one anothers’ contents. This enables search engines like Google and Bing to index the information for free and resell it to their consumers for a profit, financed by advertisers.
The dark web, however, is a network of tens of thousands of servers that connect using a service called TOR. TOR (or The Onion Router) is partially funded by the United Stated Department of Defense and guided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Neither of these organizations have an inkling of how this network will make a profit. Websites that reside in the dark web use a TLD (top level domain) different than most. Here is the secret that the low-level professionals wish not for you to know. The only difference between a regular website and a dark website is the TLD (or top level domain). The Electronic Frontier Foundation created a specifically anonymous TLD at .onion. After explaining you this simple issue, many of you may have already figured out the next step. But here goes:
The only way for anyone to access a .onion website is to be logged in using the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s TOR browser. Once you know the URL of a dark web website, you can access it by typing it into your browser after already being logged into the TOR network. Look, your teacher here is a Freemason. So I already understand the concept of a secret handshake. It’s even possible that some of you have had a tree house at some point. Everything of secrecy requires a secret handshake. This is literally all the dark web requires. A secret handshake that’s available to anyone.
So the only secrets behind accessing the dark web are two. One is knowing the protocol mentioned above. The second is knowing where to get around. There is obviously no Google or Bing set up in the dark web at this juncture. This is where the ability to develop an undercover identity is valuable. No matter how dark the web, or how scary the neighborhood, you need to get to know the territory. So don’t waste time. Download TOR and start looking for .onion sites.
Now, I’m going to finish my coffee.