You’ve probably heard the terms dark web and Tor discussed in the media, but accessing them isn’t as hazardous as it sounds. In fact, it’s simple to get them up and running.

The dark web is a set of websites that are not indexed by search engine like Google. It’s the portion of the internet where data and information that would otherwise be private is stored. For example email inboxes, online banking logins and Google Drive folders live on the deep web. They aren’t visible to the general public using a standard browser.

There are many other websites on the dark web which serve legitimate reasons. SecureDrop is one example. It is a dark-web site that allows anonymous submission of sensitive data by whistleblowers. There are sites that allow users to purchase and sell stolen credentials, like passwords and credit card numbers. These websites are often referred to as “marketplaces” and the most well-known examples are Silk Road and AlphaBay, however there are many others that have been around for a while.

The key to accessing the dark web is a network dubbed Tor which routes your internet connection through a variety of volunteer servers that are distributed throughout the world. This makes it difficult for anyone else to monitor your activities. Tor is so named because the traffic it encrypts is processed through a variety of layers similar to the onion layering in pizza, which helps secure your privacy.

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