Onion websites (using the .onion extension) may sound relatively new to lots of people. Simply put, they are not that easily accessible and cannot be reached with regular browsers. They are part of the deep web and they are accessed over Tor – a completely different world that most people are not familiar with.
Now, .onion websites may not necessarily feel safe for the less experienced user. While they benefit from multi-layer encryption and they can ensure your anonymity, users are still advised to use VPN for even more protection. There are two options out there – Tor over VPN and VPN over Tor.
It is worth noting that .onion websites do not come with easy to remember URLs. Instead, they come with a random mix of letters and digits that look like system generated passwords. Some websites even change their URL on a regular basis in order to keep anonymous.
Now, apart from using a VPN, what other tips should you pay attention to in order to feel safe on the deep web?
The right URL
Given the fact that .onion website URLs are almost impossible to remember, it is perfectly normal to end up on the wrong website every now and then. Make sure you copy and paste the URLs you normally access in a file.
Onion websites will not hurt you anyway, as you are securely connected. But then, the dark web is part of the deep web, so you may also run into some upsetting or disturbing things out there. It might pay off checking out some sources before visiting .onion websites – The Hidden Wiki makes a pretty good source.
Make sure you are careful about your interactions when it comes to people. There are no regulations on the dark web. This aspect is great if you dislike censorship and you want to go through things that you are nor familiar with. But at the same time, you will also run into illegal activities.
It is important to use common sense, avoid sharing personal information and feel cautious about people getting in touch with you.
Files and scripts
While you can safely browse .onion websites and battle censorship in an encrypted way, some .onion websites might cause trouble. Normally, accessing them will not cause any issues whatsoever, even if you do not trust them. But then, there are minor errors that could make you vulnerable.
For example, you should not download files over .onion websites. At the same time, if some unknown websites ask you to enable certain scripts, avoid doing it. Simply move on, as they might contain some malware.
No basic proxies
A basic proxy service – even if advertised to work for Tor or the deep web – is to be avoided. If it allows you to browse an .onion website through your regular browser, it is not secure and it should be avoided, as you risk losing personal information.
Bottom line, the deep web may sound dangerous and risky, but common sense prevails. The above mentioned tips should also keep you on the safe side.
Meta: Find out how to stay safe on .onion websites and take advantage of the lack of censorship and multi-layer encryption.