HackerCombat: Secure in the Dark Web?

Before I start, I should say – I’m not writing this to make enemies in the dark web world; I just like to get proper info out there. Like when I say there’s no “Marianas Web.”

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That being said, one of the sites I subscribe to is Hacker Combat, and I happened to notice that they had an article today called Stay Secure While Venturing into the Dark Web. After having read lots of similar content, I tend to be skeptical of articles that give advice about “being secure in the dark web.”

I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, though. Let’s see what they have to say:

Well, there are many users who still think that the dark web and the deep web are the same. In fact, the dark web is just a part of the deep web and comprises that part of the internet that’s “hidden” and needs to be accessed using specific software and configurations. So, you need to use Tor, Freenet, I2P or Riffle to access the dark web. It’s a well-known fact that even the Google search engine doesn’t show results of the dark web. 

This is partly true, but it’s the last sentence I take issue with. Actually, Google will show results from the dark web (Tor, at least), but it doesn’t pick up all the sites. As I’d mentioned on the post Can You Access .Onion Sites Without Tor Browser?, it is possible to reach .onion sites without using the browser. These sites use what’s called a Tor2Web proxy, which is basically a middleman connecting you to Tor.

Thus, some of these sites will show up in Google results. For instance, Psycho Social Network, which I’ve talked about a few times, will show up on a Google search, but clicking on it uses the proxy:

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To put it in simple terms, it’s like asking a cab driver, “Can you take me to this onion site?” The cab driver says, “Sure!” On the other hand, you don’t know for certain if this cab driver will try to take advantage of you, just as you don’t know if a proxy is trustworthy.

Anyhow, let’s see what else the article says.

Using a VPN Service is good- Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service is always advisable; it adds to the anonymity factor. You should always remember to turn on the VPN before beginning to use the Tor browser or any such service; this gives you added anonymity plus security.

I also take issue with the idea that a VPN gives you added security, unless you’re the one who designed the VPN. A VPN can help you hide your Tor usage from your ISP, but then the VPN provider also has a record of the fact that you’re using Tor, and may or may not keep logs of your activity. Some claim not to keep logs (e.g. IPVanish), but if the time came where they were subpoenaed and told to give up your info, that may be a different story.

Have an up-to-date antivirus program- This is basic to security; you need to have an antivirus software even if you are not venturing into the dark web. But when you are doing it, you must have an anti-virus software. That helps add to the security.

This is true to a degree, although it depends on the kind of attack you’re trying to prevent. Some antivirus programs don’t have the capability of stopping certain types of attacks (such as ransomware). Anyhow, I suppose having one is better than not having one.

Keep your webcam covered- Webcam spying is reportedly common in the dark web. So, while you’re on the dark web, it’s always good to keep your webcam covered. You just don’t know; someone could spy on you and later subject you to extortion scams. Stay safe, cover your webcam.

This part I agree with – it is definitely possible to crack a webcam’s security, and covering it with tape is about the most basic way you can keep someone from looking at you.

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The article offers more advice as well, but these were the parts that stood out to me. Whether you agree with the points they make or not, I suggest reading it anyway. If you’ve never ventured onto Tor before, it could make a good field guide.

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