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Understanding the Darknet Many people are mystified about what the darknet really is. First, it is at times confused with the deep web, a term that refers to parts of the Internet that search engines couldn’t index. The deep web, according to experts, is several times bigger than the surface web (mainstream Internet). The dark web (or dark net) is actually a small part of the deep web. Its contents could not be found by the search engines, but beyond that, it is called the anonymous Internet. In the dark net, both website publishers and web surfers are fully anonymous. Large government agencies may be able to track people’s movements in this anonymous space, but the process is often immensely difficult, calls for a tremendous amount of resources, and isn’t always productive. On the other hand, accessing the hidden Internet is amazingly easy. Using a service called Tor (or TOR), an acronym for The Onion Router, is the most common way to do. While technically savvy users can find tons of ways to configure and use Tor, it can also be as easy as installing a new browser. The Tor browser may even be used for surfing the surface web in secret, affording the user extra protection against any potential threat, from government spying to hacking to corporate data gathering. It also enables you visit websites that are published anonymously on the Tor network, which are inaccessible to anyone not using Tor. Without a doubt, this is one of the biggest and most popular portions of the darknet. Tor website addresses are very different from common URLs in that they include arbitrary-looking character strings and end with .onion.
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Another privacy network termed I2P (the Invisible Internet Project) has grown in popularity recently. Tor has remained very popular, but there also seems to be a shift towards I2P, where users get such improvements as integrated secure email and file storage/sharing plug-ins, as well as integrated social features like blogging and chat. Many Tor users also like to add an extra layer of protection by using a virtual private network, or VPN. No one will be able to see what you are doing exactly with your onion router, but surveillance entities would know that you are on Tor to do something. In 2014, there was talk that the NSA was tagging Tor users as extremists or persons of interest. That would be an extremely long list with no solid evidence of what would be done with it, but it is something that people would naturally want to avoid. Connecting to Tor with a VPN erases this problem because in the first place, nobody would know that the person is even using Tor.The 10 Laws of Markets And How Learn More