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How to Safely Browse the Deep Web

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How to Safely Browse the Deep Web

Think you’ve seen the Internet? Chances are, you haven’t even scratched the surface.

You see, the entire Internet has two relevant parts: the surface web and the deep web. The surface web encompasses everything you can see or find through search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. These are websites like Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter that anyone can find using regular Internet browsers.

The deep web, on the other hand, includes everything else that search engines miss. Technically, newly created websites are considered as part of the deep web. The same goes for hidden pages that cannot be accessed through a link.

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Reports indicate that the dark web—a portion of the deep webis swarming with black marketplaces and other sites that engage in illegal activities.[1] This, in turn, has sparked the curiosity of Internet users all over.

Why should people care about the Deep Web?

According to studies, the surface web only accounts for 4% of the entire Internet,[2] which means the deep web is about 500 times bigger. That means you haven’t even seen a fraction of the Internet if you’ve only used regular browsers your whole life.

Call it curiosity, but many people are genuinely enticed about the idea of exploring the deep web. And although the deep web is often seen as the den of cyber criminals, there are actually a lot of interesting and useful things[3] hidden there.

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Relaying your connection through the deep web will also enable you to access blocked sites. For example, if you’re in a country that censors connections to Facebook, then accessing the “dark web” version of the site will make the site accessible.

A word of advice, browsing the deep web requires extreme caution. To do it safely, you also need to use a special set of tools that will help you access the deep web.

Using the Tor Browser

First thing’s first, you should never enter the deep web without using a secure browser like Tor. It helps protect your privacy and anonymity by relaying your connection through “nodes” from all over the world.

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    Image Credit via Tor

    Without a secure browser like Tor, you should just forget about browsing the deep web altogether. Tor further ensures your privacy by clearing your cache and cookies each time you close the browser. Additionally, deep web .onion sites cannot be accessed by browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

    Using a Deep Web Directory

    Once you’re in the deep web, you’re probably confused as to where to go. A good place to start is an onion directory like the Hidden Wiki.

    Deep web directories contain popular links that will bring you to useful sites. Other than deep web directory listings, do not click on any other link unless you’re absolutely sure where it goes.

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    Fortunately, deep web directories clearly describe the sites they link to. Although these probably won’t harm your computer, pay attention to their URLs since some of them engage in illegal activities – from selling fake IDs to hacking tools.

    Lastly, never download or buy anything from the deep web, especially digital goods. Remember that the Tor browser can’t protect you if the malware finds its way into your hard drive.

    Using Other Security Tools

    As long as you use Tor and avoid clicking any suspicious links, you should be able to browse the deep web safely. But if you want additional protection considering the cyber security[4] in mind, then you should consider using the following tools:

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    • Virtual Private Network – To further protect your anonymity, you can use a VPN, which masks your IP address from prying eyes. This is a must if you’re looking to explore deep web markets such as Alphabay.
    • Tails – Tails is a live OS that can be booted straight from your desktop. It’s specifically designed to protect the user’s privacy and anonymity.
    • Pretty Good PrivacyPretty Good Privacy or PGP is an encryption service that is used for online communications.

    Conclusion

    The Internet is a massive place. While it’s a great learning experience for the tech-savvy, accessing the deepest recesses of the Internet comes with risks. If you’re thinking about starting your own deep web adventure, you should start by following the safety guidelines discussed above and research more so you have a solid understanding of it. Good luck and have fun!

    Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

    Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

      What Does Private Browsing Do?

      When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

      For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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      The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

      The Terminal Archive

      While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

      Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

      dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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      Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

      Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

      However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

      Clearing Your Tracks

      Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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      dscacheutil -flushcache

      As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

      Other Browsers and Private Browsing

      Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

      If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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      As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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