What is the 'dark web' and Is it illegal to enter?

What is the 'dark web' and Is it illegal to enter?

We could define the dark web as the hidden set of internet sites that can be accessed through a specialized web browser. This is often used to keep internet activity private and completely anonymous, allowing its use for both legal and illegal purposes.

In other words, the dark web is an area that cannot be indexed by conventional search engines, making it almost impossible to find your pages on Bing or Google, among others.

While many use the dark web as a way to bypass some government censorship, it is also widely used for illegal activities.

In other words, the dark web is the content that you can find on different darknets, which are each of the networks that can only be accessed with specific programs. The most popular is TOR, but there are also other options like ZeroNet.

In order to understand the difference between the dark web and the deep web, we must first explain some concepts.

In the first place, we find the open or superficial web, so called because it is the layer that is “visible”. Drawing a parallel, the web represents a complete iceberg and the open web would be the top that is seen at first glance and is on the water.

From a statistical point of view, this set of websites and data make up less than 5% of the total internet. In this section are the websites available to the public that are accessed through traditional browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Websites are often identified with endings such as “.com” or “.org” and can be located relatively easily.

The locations of such websites are considered superficial, since search engines can index the web through visible links through a process called “crawling”.

On the other hand, the deep web lies below the surface of the iceberg representing more than 90% of all websites and content. This would be the part of the iceberg that is underwater with a size larger than the surface web. In fact, this hidden web is so large that it is impossible to determine exactly how many active pages or websites there are.

Continuing with the iceberg metaphor, traditional search engines like Google are small fishing boats that can only catch websites that are close to the surface. All other content, from academic journals to private databases to illegal content, is out of scope.

While people often use the terms deep web and dark web interchangeably, there are differences as much of the deep web is legal and safe.

Within the deep web you can find


These are both public and private protected archival collections that are not connected to other areas of the web, that is, only to be searched within the database itself.


These are internal networks of companies, governments and educational facilities used to communicate and control private aspects within their organizations.

Many times on the deep web, hidden content is clean and safe. An example is the set of publications under review on news sites or blogs, that is, those that are stored or scheduled to be published at a certain time, but are not visible to the common public.

In addition, they do not represent a type of security threat, they do not put the security of our equipment or security in general at risk. The main reason many pages remain hidden from the open web is to protect both user information and privacy.

Among the most prominent cases are bank financial accounts and retirement plans, email accounts or social network messaging services, private company databases, legal files or confidential information such as medical documentation and much more.

However, going further into the deep web brings a greater amount of danger. For some people, parts of the deep web offer the opportunity to bypass local restrictions and access TV or movie services that may not be available in certain areas. Other people use it to download pirated music or movies that are not yet in the theater.

In the dark ends of the web we will find the most dangerous content and activity, to the point that some of the websites can only be accessed using an anonymous browser.

On the other hand, security on the deep web is more relevant to the average internet user than security on the dark web, since you could end up on dangerous sites by accident because many parts of the deep web are still accessible. with normal internet browsers.

In this way, users can navigate enough bypasses and end up on a hacking site, a politically radical forum, or viewing disturbingly violent content.

How to access the network

Each darknet has its particular input method. However, TOR is the most popular of all, so we will explain how to enter it. The first thing we must do is go to the Tor Browser page and click on the icon of our operating system to download it.

This is a Firefox-based browser specially created to enter TOR without having to configure anything, since we only proceed to open it and then connect automatically.

Then we must choose the destination folder and install it for later execution in the browser. This browser does not open automatically, but first shows us a window that tells us that we can connect or configure the connection. To do this, we must click on the connect button and when the connection process is finished, “Tor Browser” will open. This will allow us to browse both the conventional web and the Tor network.

Said network also allows us to connect with the DuckDuckGo search engine configured to also find “Onion” pages, the domain of the websites of this Darknet.

Many people tend to take “The Hidden Wiki” as their starting point and enter the first result, even if it is a page that ends in “.com”. In it we will observe a large number of pages ending in “.onion” with a description in English ordered by theme.

From there, we will only have to visit the different pages and browse their content. It is very common for pages on the Tor network to load extremely slowly, something that is due to the anonymization encryption of the network property. Precisely for this reason we will notice that most of the pages seem very old, generally created in simple HTML and without too many frills.

Is it illegal to enter the dark web?

Entering the dark web is not illegal. In fact, as we have mentioned throughout the note, some of its uses are perfectly legal. Access to the dark web grants users a series of benefits.

These include user anonymity, virtually untraceable services and sites. In addition, some users go to these types of sites as a way to defend themselves, although in many cases it is illegal.

In this way, the dark web has attracted many people or companies who would otherwise be in danger by revealing their identities online. Victims of persecution and abuse or informers and political dissidents are just some of the users who have frequently visited these types of sites.

However, the benefits can be extended to people who wish to act outside the limitations of the laws in other explicitly illegal ways.

Simply put, browsing the dark web can be legal or illegal depending on how we as users engage with and use it. In many cases it may border on the limit of legality for many reasons that are important for the protection of freedom. Others may act illegally for the protection and safety of others.

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