Frequently Asked Questions about the Darknet
Everything I know about the Darknet, is on this page.
Q: When did the Darknet “start”?
A: Roughly 2004 is when hidden websites started appearing.
Q: What was the original intention of the TOR Network?
A: Ironically it was used for anonymous communications within the Military, to keep messages encrypted and secret.
Q: Why is TOR so slow?
A: When you search in the TOR Network, the information going out of your computer is being sent through several volunteer computers around the globe, to keep the original location the information was sent from – And the place it’s going to – anonymous.
Q: What does TOR stand for?
A: TOR stands for The Onion Router. Most websites you visit on the Darknet will no doubt end in the extension “.onion”.
Q: Why the extension “.onion” and not something else?
A: Onions – the food- are made up of multiple layers, when you cook them you peel them off and throw them into a frying pan. .Onion is used because the websites you’re visiting are deeper and harder to find, as they’re behind layers of anonymity.
Q: What happened to make TOR available to the public?
A: Sometime in 2004 the TOR network was released as open-source freeware to the public, as far as I know people continued to develop the program and thus, the Darknet was born.
Q: Is TOR and the Darknet safe?
A: That’s a dud question; the Internet you use every day (YouTube, Facebook, Google, Email) is full of sites that can infect your computer – As long as you don’t click anything dodgy you should be fine. Make sure you have a good Anti-Virus and read the documentation on the TOR site to keep yourself safe and as anonymous as you can get.
Q: I have Windows [7, Vista, XP], all I need to do is start up the TOR Browser and I will be fine?
A: I’m going to answer this to the best of my knowledge: Windows itself has a lot of security holes. The TOR Browser will protect you to an extent, however, if someone wants to find out what you’re doing then they might be able to exploit a security hole the TOR Browser may leak the information you’re currently requesting from the Darknet. – Please read up on this one, I’m answering it very broad here.
Q: What software do you recommend to stay as anonymous as possible?
A: I’ve read a few articles online and they all recommend the same thing: Ubuntu (Linux, Unix Open-Source) + Tails LiveCD + TOR Browser. Ubuntu is an open source free-for-all download that is by the community that created it, it originally started as people finding and fixing bugs and glitches in the OS, now it’s clean and crisp, I have Ubuntu dual booted on my Windows 7 PC. Tails LiveCD is a program you can either install onto a USB Stick and run it that way or open and run it using VirtualBox.
Q: What is Tails LiveCD?
A: I haven’t yet used the software due to my schedule, but it’s a program that
Q: Can I have the link to The Hidden Wiki?
A: Sure, copy this text: kpvz7ki2v5agwt35.onion
Q: Why doesn’t a company or organisation just ‘shut down’ the Darknet?
A: The Darknet and the Internet are synonymous. The Darknet (commonly called the “Deep Web”) is simply a deeper and harder to access part of the Internet. It’s impossible to police the entire internet because people are always developing new ways of staying off the grid, the authorities will always battle with the Darknet and the Internet.
Q: Is it possible to be completely anonymous online?
A: No, however, if you do some research and gets programs to keep you as anonymous as possible it’ll be almost impossible to track where you are and what you’re looking at online, but there is always that 0.1% chance that a weakness will be found and your anonymity vanishes. Like I said, as long as you read up on anonymity and use the right programs, you should be fine.
Q: What services are on the Darknet?
A: I’ll list them: (updating soon)
Q: I don’t want to go to the Darknet, can I just use an online proxy and visit sites anonymously?
A: You probably can, but I personally think that if your ISP is ordered to see what you’re looking at, they probably have programs that can easily break through the proxy to find the location of both you and your online activity. – But that’s just my theory.
Q: What’s the point in even going there? It’s just full of paedo’s…
A: The argument your using is an un-researched and frankly, arrogant, argument. When people have anonymity they will do anything they like, child porn sites are the unfortunate result of this – As long as you don’t go looking for it and ignore the links on the Hidden Wiki, you should be fine.
Q: Why go there in the first place..?
A: Curiosity mainly. When I first found out about the Darknet I was so scared I vowed never to go there, but after a while I gave in. After a bit of research my first stop was the Hidden Wiki (Infamous version), I hardly clicked any links for the first few weeks. I found an anonymous message board and decided to make an account and post a thread – The thread was me just having an angry rant, the site was a very basic layout, think of it like a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with a dark background, a single box for a title and a single box for a message followed by a “Post” button – That was literally it for loading reasons.
Q: I have [very fast] Internet, will it load up quicker?
A: No, the information your sending and requesting still need to go through the TOR Network, so it’ll still be slow.
Q: Can the federal agencies (FBI ect,) break the network?
A: They monitor the network and have done for some time, but those types of agencies will be looking for the people who are using the network solely for the illegal activity such as buying things illegally from the underground markets and the paedophilia content.
Q: How many sites are down there?
A: I’ve seen the numbers 200,000 and 400,000, I’m guessing it’ll be in between those numbers. Due to the hidden nature of these website though, it’s extremely hard to even find a fraction of them, but you can have a try if you want.
Q: How do I find more sites? The ones on the Hidden Wiki aren’t my flavour.
A: Like I did and still do, you can find new sites by finding the links on other sites. Depending on what you’re looking for you could probably find a few links on anonymous message boards.
Q: Can I report a site on the Darknet?
A: I’ve never really thought of it, but you could submit them to the FBI I guess. I wouldn’t expect too much to be done, anonymity makes it hard to do much, even if you are an organisation.
Q: What if I accidentally see an image of CP (Child porn)?
A: It’s a possibility, I’m not going to deny that, but this is something I can’t stop from happening, depending how many sites you visit there may be underage content, just close the tab if you see anything like it.
Q: Is there a search engine I can use?
A: I’ve found one called TORCH (link), unfortunately it’s down for me, and the search file seems to be either missing or broken. There’s one or two more on the Hidden Wiki though.
Q: Is it possible to spend too much time down there?
A: I’d moderate your time for the first few weeks so you can get used to the unfiltered and unmoderated-ness of it, but when you get used to it you can go there casually, depending what sites you visit of course.
Q: What should I not take to the Darknet?
A: Your morals. If you take your morals you’re asking to be sickened and offended.
Q: What should I do after I leave the Darknet?
A: I’d recommend cleaning your temporary folder and clearing your cache and browsing history, to do these, down CCleaner for both your temp folder and your internet cache.
Q: How can I report a site on the Darknet?