Darkweb, TOR & .onion: Understand everything to get started

Originally launched by the U.S. Navy in 2002 to protect U.S. government communications, Tor has since largely dominated the world of darknet networks..

It is a computer network that allows you to surf anonymously thanks to a multilayer encryption.

The project is based on two strong principles:
•Everyone should browse the internet confidentially.
•Every internet user should have the assurance that his personal data will be protected.

Tor Browser, the gateway to the darknet

The main gateway to the Darknet is the Torbrowser. It is a version of Firefox anonymized and made compatible with darknet browsing.

The easiest way to browse the pages of the darkweb is to download and install the Tor browser.

Tor URLs end with the .onionsuffix. Unlike public websites, URLs are usually complex and difficult to remember, and websites frequently change their URLs.

We find with Tor many black markets (drugs, counterfeit note, fake paper, gun), but also sites of political and ecological activism, technical resources, 3D printing plans, etc.

What are addresses. Onion?

The first time you use Tor Browser, you feel like you're using an absolutely normal browser, with slightly darker graphics codes.

You access your Internet and your usual services without limitation. But only Tor Browser allows you to access a second Internet, that of addresses in .Onion. This is the famous darknet. These addresses do not work outside of Tor.

These onion services allow people to browse and also publish anonymously.

The big problem with the URLs of .onion sites is that they consist of a long sequence of randomly chosen numbers and letters!

For example, the onion address of the DuckDuckGo search engine on Tor is: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion

Install and configure Tor Browser

Go to the Torprojet.orgsite, click on"Download Tor browser" then Choose your platform (Windows) and click on Download. Nothing could be simpler!

Once recovered on your PC, start the installation. At the end of the latter, simply launch your Tor browser by clicking close.

During the first opening, we advise you to go through Configure. Before you connect, a new window will offer you touse "Bridges".

The obfs4 option is the generic bridge that will connect your machine to a relay before Tor connects to the Internet.

The interest:even your ISP won't know that you're using the Tor protocol. So you avoid feeling like a potential suspect.

Be careful,these bridges are not guarantees all risk, there is a real hunt for these relays to identify them.

Anonymous surfing

If you see Welcome to the Tor browser,here you are logged in. You have access to all the traditional web, but also to the darknet network.

Set your security level

Depending on the use you make of Tor, you will push its protection logic to a higher or lower level.

To increase the security level of the Tor browser, go to Menu then click on Options then on Privacy and Security and click on Security, you will be able to choose between three preconfigured levels.

Be careful,the more secure you will Tor, the more you disable functions and modules allowing a smooth Internet browsing, the availability of certain services as well as the display of certain contents.

The Normal level:    allow you to use Tor like a classic browser while benefiting from the anonymization of its network / protocol.

The Safer level:  is the level enough to ban the main sources of tracking and malicious scripts that can compromise your anonymity and privacy.

The Safest Level:    This level only allows the website functions required for static sites and basic services. These changes affect images, media, and scripts.

Darkweb addresses to know


Tor network addresses appear and disappear regularly, fall or change addresses without warning! This site lists the still valid and popular .onion. With a trust index assigned by users. There are many dark markets and therefore often illegal sources, but the search engine allows you to target any legitimate center of interest.

Search engines

The natural referencing of sites in .onion does not exist.

The bases of sites are most often found, classified; shared and indexed by hand by the users themselves or by services that have made it their activity.

Here are 5 must-have search engines:
•Ahamia.fi: msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion
•Candle: gjobqjj7wyczbqie.onion
•Not Evil: hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion
•Torch: cnkj6nippubgycuj.onion
•HayStack: haystakvxad7wbk5.onion

The bible to understand everything, find everything, it is The Hidden Wiki, the largest and oldest wiki on Tor. Valid information, documentation, links regularly updated, this is a must.

There are several Hidden Wikis, which regularly appear and disappear as mirrors with more or less problematic content.

The Hidden Wiki link: http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

For journalists

Secure Drop is a dark web site designed to protect communications and document transfers between media whistleblowers. Many publishers offer their .onion service based on Secure Drop.

Secure Drop address on Tor: sdolvtfhatvsysc6l34d65ymdwxcujausv7k5jk4cy5ttzhjoi6fzvyd.onion

To have more darknet sites, I invite you to see this article: The 10 most visited .onion sites at the darknet.

Darknet and Darkweb, what are the differences?

Darknet is often confused with the DarkWeb. We find things on darknet, we surf on the DarkWeb. But where is the difference?

In short, the DarkWeb is a set of encrypted information,while the Darknet is the computer network integrating anonymization functions that allows them to be transported.

For more details, look at this article: The difference between the Darknet, the Darkweb, and the Deepweb.

Do I need to use a VPN to access Tor?

VPN publishers are increasingly funding advertorials and affiliate campaigns on specialized sites to promote theuse of a VPN with TOR.

It would even be, according to these sites, essential to guarantee your anonymity. The reality is a little more complex.

A VPN to hide your TOR user identity

Already, remember that Tor Browser is not a VPN. When you connect to the Internet or the Tor network with this browser, all your usual information goes through your internet router (IP, user agent, etc.). It is only once logged in that you become anonymous.

The Tor protocol is identifiable,so your ISP will be able to identify you as a regular darknet user. This is not reprehensible in France, but it is not the case in all countries. What's more, for those who abhor widespread suspicion of citizens, know that a Tor user is often suspicious by default.

A VPN placed before Tor browser will allow you to completely disappear from the radars and become an average Internet user again.

In order to learn about the subject, I invite you to read this article: Is combining TOR and VPN a good idea?

Can I use TOR on a smartphone?

On Android

Yes, there is a version on Tor browser offered specifically forAndroid: Tor Browser for Android.

Previously available as an APK, an official version is now available on the Play Store since last November after many months of development.

The Guardian project also provides theOrbot app,also available on the Play Store. Orbot is a free proxy that uses TOR to encrypt your traffic and hide it by making it bounce multiple times through different computers spread around the world.

So Orbot can be used to route other apps on your Android device over the Tor network. However, only the Tor browser for Android is needed to browse the web with Tor.

For more info about Orbot, check out this article: How to access the darknet with your Android phone?

On iPhone

There is the Onion browser for iOS,open source, which relies on Tor routing.

The Tor project specifies that its developer is close. However, Apple requires that, on iOS, browsers use a "Webkit" that does not allow the Onion browser to offer the same protection and privacy as the Tor browser for PC.

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