Tor, Bitcoins and the Hidden Web

If you’ve been online for very long chances are you’ve at least once heard of something called the “Deep Web.” If you don’t know what that phrase means, allow yourself to be enlightened. It means places on the internet that can’t be accessed by common methods of browsing such as Google or the less popular Yahoo. There’s an entire internet out there that can’t be accessed by traditional means. The following will be an explanation of some of the locations on the deep net, their purpose and most importantly how to access them.

1

Tor: Tor is both an operating system and a browser. The Tor operating system allows you to make your computer operating system completely anonymous. It’s a standalone OS, but for those that would like to browse the deep web without giving up their OS of choice there is also a TOR browser which works much like Mozilla Firefox and even features some of the same programming. What makes the Tor browser unique is that it switches your IP address and makes you completely anonymous online and nearly impossible to track. Tor is what’s required to browse most of the deep web.

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2

The Dot Onion Complex: A dot onion site is a new type of encrypted web site that can only be accessed using Tor. These sites use the “.onion” as their suffix because they are layered and encrypted. The onion represents the layers of encryption these sites go through. The layers of encryption plus the limited access to these sites makes not only the user but he sites themselves nearly impossible to track.

3

The Hidden Wiki: The Hidden Wiki is a sort of compendium of both legal and illegal sites all of which want their privacy for one reason or another. This site has a list of other dot onion sites that can be accessed using Tor. Thanks to some of the sites featured on the Hidden Wiki they have been the center of an attack by the cyber terrorist group “Anonymous.”

4

Silk Road: When it comes to illegal and hidden sites Silk Road is one of the biggest of the big. Silk Road has been considered quite frankly a black market version of Ebay. Thanks to the anonymous policies of Tor, as well as the layers of encryption Silk Road enjoys a great deal of privacy that its predecessors would not have. In addition to the online privacy practices the site also employs practices that allow its shipments to be less suspicious and sometimes even completely anonymous.

5

Bit Coins: After reading all of this about the anonymous nature of silk road you can’t help but wonder how someone would pay for any merchandise they’d bought on the site. That’s where Bit Coins come into play. Bit Coins are what’s known as an online “crypto currency” aka a currency that exists on the internet outside of international currencies. Individuals trade Bit Coins for merchandise using Bit Coin sites like instawallet.com. Since Bit Coins are not controlled by any central government or bank they can be used freely and have their own value that fluctuates depending on the goods available in exchange for them at the time. Up until recently Bit Coins only existed online until an individual who had an excess of them created his own physical version with codes on them that could be redeemed for online Bit Coins giving the physical coins real world value.