How To Cover Your ASSets While Perusing The Darknet
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it doesn’t have to ruin your next adventure onto the darknet. Sure, it can be a highly dangerous digital environment, but it can also be navigated safely and confidently with the right precautionary measures. It is the main hangout area for hackers, spammers, and the like, who are there to take advantage of vulnerable people and situations, but you don’t have to be their next victim. Here’s how you can troll around the darknet like a boss.
What is the darknet?
Often referred to as the dark web, the darknet is just one part of the deep web, far removed from the well-lit streets of the clear web, where a “hidden” network can be accessed using specific software and configurations. To find this secret world of the deeper web, you will need to use Tor, Freenet, I2P, or Riffle to gain entrance because even the world-dominant Google search engine won’t get you there.
How can you stay safe while roaming the darknet?
If you want to peruse the dark web, there are certain safety measures you will need to take—otherwise, it could prove harmful to you and your computer device. Here are some of the top tips to remember:
Stay anonymous. This is of the utmost importance. Do not use your real name or your real email ID while exploring the darknet, as all of your movements can be traced back to you and exploited for various malicious purposes. Using your real information can essentially bring cybercriminals right to your door. If, in fact, you do need to use email while on the darknet, be sure to employ an encrypted site like Protonmail or safe-mail.net.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Again, this step is not optional. Using a VPN will hide your IP address from others on the dark web and protect you from any prying eyes. Once you have a VPN installed on your personal device, you can begin using the Tor browser (or any such service) with complete anonymity. Of course, it goes without saying this if you conduct illegal activities on the darknet and manage to draw the attention of authorities, even a VPN will not be able to protect your real identity.
Avoid downloads. This is a big no-no. Downloading stuff on the regular internet is dangerous enough without adding all the sketchy characters on the darknet to the equation. Anything coming from the darknet is probably risky and filled with infectious malware. If you absolutely must download something from the darknet, always scan it first using trusted software.
Do not click any links. If a link looks especially enticing, remember it may appear that way for a reason—namely, to tempt you into clicking it. This move will surely infect your system. You should view every URL on the darknet with suspicion and always user scanner devices before clicking anything.
Make sure your antivirus program is up to date. This is basic security common sense. You need to have antivirus software even when you’re not venturing into the dark web. When you are, it is imperative to protect yourself with protective software. It will add a security layer and alert you to any potential problems.
Avoid financial transactions. Although the darknet is filled with all sorts of things for sale, making an actual purchase is risky. For that reason, buying stuff off the darknet is not advisable. First, the items you are buying may be stolen or illegal in some way, not to mention you may never actually receive them—even if the money is sent. You cannot, under any circumstances, provide your personal banking information or credit card account number to anyone on the darknet, as that would financial suicide. The best thing to do is avoid all financial transactions; however if you must, cryptocurrencies are the only way to go. But even they have many security weaknesses and are not 100% reliable on the darknet.
Keep your webcam covered. Webcam spying is reportedly common in the dark web, so be sure to cover that little black circle before you jump on the darknet. All you need to do is put a little piece of tape or a sticker over it, anything to shield the camera from remotely filming you. It is possible to use that feature for further exploits, so always keep your webcam covered!
Prevention is key. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than finding a cure. protect yourself from threats and cyberattacks by taking the right measures against them before they happen. The very best thing is to abstain from using the darknet altogether, but if you must, make sure you do it like a boss.
Julia Sowells408 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.