The standard process for online searching involves typing a few keywords into a web browser and exploring the results. But there’s another area of the internet known as the “dark web” that isn’t visible to traditional search engines.

The dark web is a platform enabling private computer networks to communicate and conduct business without revealing information like the individual’s identity or location. Users access the Tor browser to find dark web websites.

Is the Dark Web Illegal?

While the dark web is not illegal, it is a hotbed of criminal activity. Because of the anonymity it provides, unscrupulous individuals can use it to purchase stolen credit card numbers, engage in drug or arms trafficking, or purchase software that facilitates hacking into people’s accounts with less risk of detection. The dark web also has legitimate users who want to engage with others without revealing their identities.

What Are the Risks of the Dark Web?

Even if you don’t have criminal intent, spending time on the dark web can be dangerous. For example, you could inadvertently visit a site that contains prohibited content, which could get you into serious trouble. You could also fall victim to hackers’ schemes or expose your information to cybercriminals.

How to Use the Dark Web

To access dark web links, you need to download and install the Tor browser, a modified version of the Firefox browser originally developed to safeguard online communications for U.S. intelligence services. Tor blocks or advises against attempts that could reveal the user’s identity. Purchasing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service can mask your location.

To navigate the dark web, use DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused dark web search engine that doesn’t track every site you visit. If you wish to register with any of these websites, you’ll also need to sign up for a secure email address.

How to Stay Out of the Dark Web

As a business owner or manager, you likely want to avoid exposing your clients’ data to criminals who troll the dark web. Steps you can take include requiring two-step authentication for all your online accounts, having employees change passwords every 30 to 90 days, and creating a data breach response plan.

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Learn More About How Agio Can Help With Your Cybersecurity Needs

Do you have concerns about the dark web impacting your financial services business? Agio can help. Learn about our cybersecurity services.