Il Deep Web è spesso rappresentato come un luogo virtuale quasi surreale, dove è possibile compiere qualsiasi azione in maniera completamente anonima, come se ci si trovasse in un film di fantascienza. In realtà di tratta semplicemente di una parte della rete internet, non indicizzata dai motori di ricerca tradizionali, in cui valgono regole differenti rispetto al web classico. Per navigare del Deep Web è necessario utilizzare strumenti appositi come TOR, tuttavia bisogna essere prudenti e stare attenti alle insidie del web profondo.
- Cos’è il Deep Web
- Come navigare nel Deep Web
- Come funziona e come usare TOR
- Quali sono i rischi del Deep Web
- Come navigare in modo sicuro nel Deep Web
Cos’è il Deep Web?
Tutti noi siamo abituati a collegare il web ai motori di ricerca, tuttavia non sono proprio la stessa cosa. Browsers like Google's Chrome, in fact, are programs that scan the web for documents, pages, websites and platforms, organizing all this information within databases, located in physical servers. When you do a search with Google or Firefox, browsers show a series of relevant results, but the proposed resources represent only a small part of the web.
In reality internet is much bigger than we can imagine, because many areas of the net are not even analyzed by browsers, because they are judged not relevant, not very secure, or because they operate with different protocols compared to those adopted at international level. A large part of the Internet is called Deep Web, where you can find contents and resources that search engines like Google don't index, so they remain almost invisible.
And yet, it's a huge amount of information, which according to some estimates would be hundreds of times bigger than the traditional web. Inside there are normal websites but also portals associated with illicit and illegal activities, linked for example to drug trafficking (an example of this was the Silk Road portal, a marketplace for the sale of illegal drugs closed in 2013 by the FBI), the sharing of child pornographic images, the sale of weapons, computer scams, as well as real international hacking. Questa parte della rete è spesso chiamata Dark Web, un sottolivello del Deep Web.
Come navigare nel Deep Web
Per navigare su internet basta aprire un browser come Google Chrome, Safari o Mozilla Firefox, effettuando una ricerca inserendo una parola chiave, una domanda, oppure direttamente l’indirizzo URL di un sito web da raggiungere. Queste regole però non valgono per il Deep Web, visto che i browser non funzionano in questa zona oscura della rete, perciò per entrare bisogna installare sul proprio pc o dispositivo mobile un programma specifico.
Il browser più usato al mondo per navigare nel Deep Web è TOR, una versione modificata del famoso software Firefox, il cui acronimo sta per The Onion Router. Si tratta di un programma che permette non solo di visitare il Web profondo, ma soprattutto di nascondere i propri dati durante la navigazione, come l’indirizzo IP del pc. In this way it is possible to explore the Deep Web and surf anonymously, however the use of TOR does not completely protect you from the risks of this area of the internet.
In the Deep Web in fact act not only curious, but also scammers, hackers experts, companies of malfeasance and real criminals, ready to cheat inexperienced users with illegal actions, such as phishing of bank data, duplication of digital identity and theft of sensitive information. In order to enter the invisible web it is important to maintain the maximum caution, if possible being assisted by a person expert in the field, or avoiding any contact with other users present in the Deep Web.
How to enter the Deep Web from pc
The most common way to surf the Deep Web is through TOR, a program that allows you to enter anonymously, using routers made available by a series of volunteers, which allows you to surf incognito. The first thing to do then is to download TOR on your pc, a free and open source software available on the official website Torproject.org, where you can find an Italian version.
On the portal you just have to select your operating system, choosing between Windows, Mac OS and Linux, save the file.exe on your computer and start the installation wizard. The process takes just a few minutes, so after a few moments you can start the browser and begin your adventure into the Deep Web. Once installed, all you have to do is click on the icon of the software and select Connect to finally surf the Deep Web.
The operation of TOR is quite simple, in fact it is quite similar to a traditional web browsing program. To facilitate the operation you can use a search engine, for example Torch or Repository, that allow you like Google to quickly find websites and portals, even when you don't know their digital coordinates. Obviously, these search engines do not show you the whole Deep Web, but they are an adequate solution for safe surfing.
How to enter the Deep Web from Android smartphones and tablets
To access the Deep Web you can also use a mobile device, such as an Android smartphone or tablet, you just need to download and install a special application. The first option is to download TOR from the official website, downloading the version of the program that is compatible with Android, which is available both on the Torproject.org platform and on Google Play Store.
Or else you can download another app that is useful for this purpose, Orfox, also developed by the programmers of The Tor Project. This app also allows you to browse the Deep Web anonymously, has over 10 million downloads, but the latest version was updated in July 2018. The developers announced that from mid-2019 the support service will no longer be offered, so it will not be possible to get assistance in case of malfunctions and bugs.
A more updated app is Onion Search Engine, downloaded by more than 500 thousand users and last released in May 2019, an app that works as a search engine for the Deep Web, able to index portals present in the dark web.
How to enter the Deep Web from iPhone and iPad iOS
Browsing the Deep Web is also possible with iOS devices, such as iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, just download compatible apps on the App Store or iTunes. One of the most used options is Onion Browser, the program that allows you to enter the Deep Web from your mobile device, to browse anonymously and index the websites present. The app is quite heavy, around 72.7 MB, plus it requires an iOS version from 11.4 and later.
Another solution to access the Deep Web from iOS mobile devices is via the VPN + TOR Browser Private Web app, an app that is highly rated by users, however the latest version dates back to 2018. The app weighs 101.2 MB, is compatible with iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch running iOS from 9.3 onwards, but is not available in Italian, only in English, Spanish, German and French.
A less complex app and also present in English, is Red Onion II, a browser for browsing the Deep Web with Apple devices, equipped with an iOS operating system from version 9.0 onwards. The app isn't too heavy, about 93 MB, but it costs €1.99 to download. The graphical interface is simple and intuitive, despite being in English, with a good page loading speed, a comprehensive menu and several additional features.
How TOR works and how to use it
TOR is an open source browser developed from the Mozilla Firefox program, a software that allows you to surf the Deep Web anonymously. Once installed in your PC, or in a mobile device through the app for Android and iOS, the browser uses a series of routers to mask the IP, avoiding tracking. TOR uses advanced encryption codes to find sites in the Deep Web, allowing access to top level .onion domains.
Using TOR Browser to surf the Deep Web is quite simple, in fact you just need to start the program, click on Connect and make some settings, for example configuring the country from which you want to start the tracking signal. After that you can access the network as it happens with Google, however if you don't know the coordinates of the platforms it can be difficult to navigate in the Deep Web.
For this reason it is possible to use search engines that simplify this operation, among which Torch, where almost 480 thousand .onion websites are indexed. A valid alternative is to use DuckDuckGo in the Onion version, or Not Evil, two specific search engines for the Deep Web. Another solution is to consult the directories, portals that offer lists of websites to facilitate the navigation in the Deep Web, using for example the famous Hidden Wiki, Parazite Links, TorLinks, HD Wiki or OnionDir.
What are the risks of the Deep Web?
TOR is a quite safe browser to enter and navigate in the Deep Web, however it does not allow to avoid every risk, since during the last years some problems have been found. First of all, it is a network run by unknown people, almost always volunteers who want to keep the Deep Web free and unregulated, so in practice it uses an anonymous third party system, which is not as reassuring and reliable as it might seem.
The process of TOR network also allows the signal transition nodes to know some positions, including the previous and next one, except for the final exit node. This means that TOR users can see their IP and geographic location while browsing, but not the exit point from the Deep Web, unless they visit websites without HTTPS protocol, thus limiting anonymity to external users.
Another critical issue of the Deep Web and TOR network is hacker attacks, in fact, just as with traditional systems, it is possible to find infected programs, viruses and malicious scripts that can steal sensitive information and personal data. Finally, you should consider that it is an extremely slow and heavy browser, due to the IP obfuscation system through a continuous procedure of bouncing the signal between nodes.
How to navigate safely in the Deep Web?
To avoid the risks of the Deep Web is essential to follow some practical advice, which will reduce the possibility of suffering a hacking attack or the theft of your sensitive data. For example, you should never visit traditional websites with TOR Browser, including search engines like Google and Yahoo!, do not install external plugins and categorically avoid downloading programs, files and documents, as they may hide trojans and other dangerous malware.
In the same way, do not apply extensions to TOR browser, never use Torrent to download data, nor other P2P networks. If possible, it is advisable not to use Windows, as it is one of the most easily hackable operating systems in the Deep Web, but to opt for more efficient programs, such as Linux or external software to be inserted in the pc with USB keys and SD cards. Once the session is over, it is essential to delete all data, exiting TOR Browser in the direct way, without closing the window and leaving the system running.
How to surf the Deep Web with TOR + VPN
An effective solution to increase the level of security when surfing the Deep Web is to use TOR together with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). In this way it is possible to connect to a VPN and then activate TOR to access the Deep Web by opening the search browser inside your PC without disconnecting the VPN. Some private networks already offer TOR integration, otherwise you just need to download the software separately.
This provides a double level of security as both TOR and VPN hide your IP and geographical location from external users and websites, offering two perfectly integrated systems of anonymity. This configuration is slightly more complex, however it allows for safer Deep Web browsing, especially when you need to communicate sensitive data and personal information. The only disadvantage is that your Internet service provider and government authorities can see that you are using TOR, while your activity and browsing remain hidden.