Only illegal business is done on the darknet? That's not true, even if the headlines are mostly about it. Google & Co. know only part of the Internet. What the search engines do not capture automatically is called deep web. And then there is the darknet, technically a completely encrypted area of the Internet. The enormous parallel universe Darknet is not only used for illegal purposes. This is how access works.
"Google knows everything", you must not misunderstand this phrase. For almost every internet surfer, search engines such as Bing or Google are the gateway to the web: what appears in the results lists is clicked on, which is not prominently found on the first few pages of the hit list, remains left. But even if the information seeker took the trouble to click on all the links displayed, he would see only a fraction of what can be found on the Internet. Because Google & Co. are necessarily not omniscient. If you want to hide something on the web from the search engines, you can easily do so.
Darknet: Secret Alliances of the Internet
The operators of the Darknet and Deep Web also take advantage of this fact. The idea behind the online darknets is similar to the concept of secret alliances and hidden lodges of the real world and has nothing to do with illegal machinations: Only those who are personally known to at least one lodge member are allowed to attend the meetings.
These take place in more or less public places, but only initiates know what is going on when and where. Transferring to the Internet means that darknets use the same technology as all other Internet services – websites, e-mail, file sharing – and would in principle be accessible to everyone. Provided he uses the right software and knows what he needs to look for and who to look for.
Imagine an ocean. All you can see from the air is the so-called Surface Web, the part of the Internet that is made visible by search engines and in which most users travel. You can think of the Deep Web as the part below the interface. Part of the Deep Web is encrypted and not easily accessible with any browser. This is the darknet.
The most convenient way to get to the Darknet is with the Tor Browser. It is based on Firefox and joins the Tor network, a huge anonymization network. Tor Browser allows anonymous access to "normal" websites and also to so-called Onion sites. The latter are not accessible without a gate.
Just because Google & Co. leave the Deep Web behind, not everything is automatically illegal. If you focus on the darknet, i.e. the encrypted part of the Deep Web, it looks different. Not everything is illegal there, too, but a large part. Whistleblowers, journalists & co. also use encryption to protect themselves, but also criminals. There is basically everything in organized criminality that one can imagine, drugs, weapons, but of course also pirated or hijacked Netflix accounts.
The Tor Browser is a browser that allows you to browse the darknet. He relies on Firefox and simply hooks up to the Tor network. By the way, you can also use the Tor Browser for normal browsing to ensure maximum anonymity.
This is difficult to answer and we are not aware of any current research on this subject. It is estimated that the Deep Web is up to 500 times larger than the Surface Web visible to search engines.
Napster, eDonkey & BitTorrent: The Origin of the Darknet
The darknet has arisen since prosecutors around the world took a close look at exchanges and prosecuted their participants. The Fileharers looked for ways to continue their activities untroubled and designed a hidden counterpart to the publicly accessible peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms such as Napster, eDonkey or BitTorrent. In exchanges, central servers mostly took care that all users could exchange MP3 files, videos or images – but without bothering about copyrights or other legal details.
Surfing on the Darknet: Here's how it works
If you want to surf the Darknet, you need access to the Tor network. For this we recommend the Tor Browser, which uses Firefox and automatically fixes all other functions for Tor access.
You should also ensure maximum security on your PC. Our tip: Bitdefender Internet Security, our current number 1 on the CHIP antivirus software leaderboard.
Importantly, when you get started in Tor, your IP address appears. Therefore, we also recommend a VPN service that does not log any data. We recommend NordVPN.
The most popular darknet sites
The darknet is sworn as a playground of shady figures. But drug and weapons trading venues are far from the real darknet hits. The top sites have nothing to do with illegal machinations.
Only 1-3 percent of Tor users surf pages on the Onion network (the darknet in the true sense). And according to Roger Dingledine, there are not only shady pages: The most popular site is the Onion version of Facebook,for example, and around 1 million users are supposed to visit there regularly. But also sites like the Deep Web search engine Grams, with which the darknet can be explored to a certain extent, is extremely popular.
This part of the Deep Web has nothing to do with illegal activities. Rather, Facebook can only be reached through it in countries such as China, Iran or even parts of Africa. The anonymity offered by the Tor network, which some criminals exploit on the darknet, is the only way for millions of others to circumvent government censorship.