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The deep web (also known more sinisterly as the dark web) has a bad reputation—black marketplaces, identities for sale Here's How Much Your Identity Could Be Worth on the Dark Web Here's How Much Your Identity Could Be Worth on the Dark Web It's uncomfortable to think of yourself as a commodity, but all of your personal details, from name and address to bank account details, are worth something to online criminals. How much are you worth? Read More , grisly and horrifying images, illegal pornography, and just about every other bad thing you can think of is available there. But there are also some really great things you might want to check out.

To access these sites, you’ll need to use Tor Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Tor provides truly anonymous and untraceable browsing and messaging, as well as access to the so called “Deep Web”. Tor can’t plausibly be broken by any organization on the planet. Read More , which allows you to connect to these sites anonymously, and will keep your connection private Avoiding Internet Surveillance: The Complete Guide Avoiding Internet Surveillance: The Complete Guide Internet surveillance continues to be a hot topic so we've produced this comprehensive resource on why it's such a big deal, who's behind it, whether you can completely avoid it, and more. Read More . As long as you’re not doing anything too sensitive, you shouldn’t need to worry about compromised exit nodes 5 Ways to Stay Safe From Bad Tor Exit Nodes 5 Ways to Stay Safe From Bad Tor Exit Nodes Tor is one of the most powerful tools for protecting online privacy, but a recent experiment proved that this power comes with limitations. How does TOR work, and how can you stay safe using it? Read More , so check out these sites and enjoy!

Jotunbane’s Reading Club

jotunbanes-reading-club

Jotunbane describes the reasoning behind his website like this: “I got tired of ebooks that looked like they were made in a hurry, and since I had the skill set to do something about it, well here we are.” In short, the Reading Club lets you download books that have been cleaned up from their original e-book versions.

I downloaded William Gibson’s Neuromancer and gave it a quick look, and it definitely looks better than a lot of e-books that I’ve read, where words run together, there are inexplicable page breaks, and other weird formatting issues. I can’t speak for all of the books on the site, but because that’s pretty much the whole point, I’d imagine they’re all similarly high-quality. If you don’t abuse the system, it seems to be a good way around freedom-stifling DRM practices What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] Digital Rights Management is the latest evolution of copy protection. It’s the biggest cause of user frustration today, but is it justified? Is DRM a necessary evil in this digital age, or is the model... Read More .

Flashlight

If you want dark-web-related news, Flashlight is a great place to get it. There’s a lot of information on Bitcoin, Tor-related projects, and Internet privacy in general. A lot of the news can be found elsewhere, but Flashlight has brought it all together under one banner to serve the needs of deep web enthusiasts.

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flashlight

In addition to news, there’s also an active forum where you can discuss anything from dark web marketplaces to shipping practices—there are sections for people looking for a job or a business partner, places to leave reviews for vendors, and discussions about privacy and security. The Links section of Flashlight also has a number of useful links, though not as many as Hidden Wiki or other dark web directory sites How To Find Active Onion Sites & Why You Might Want To How To Find Active Onion Sites & Why You Might Want To Onion sites, so named because they end with ".onion", are hosted as Tor hidden services – a completely anonymous way to host websites. They're part of the deep Web – an invisible part of the... Read More .

Hidden Answers

If you have a question, you can get the answer (or at least a sarcastic response) at Hidden Answers. As a large forum site, HA puts people in contact with other people to exchange information. There are loads of different categories, from drugs and erotica to gainful employment, governments and law, and knowledge and information.

hidden-answers

The site is great if you want to get the answers to specific questions, but it’s also a fascinating place to explore: on the deep web, people can ask the questions they want and get honest answers, often on topics that aren’t discussed on the clear web. You never know what you’ll find when you go browsing around Hidden Answers, but you can be sure that it’ll be pretty interesting.

Strategic Intelligence Network

According to the homepage, SIN exists to “provide intelligences, resources and tools to be prepared and to respond to crisis situations anywhere you are in the world. . . . Be prepared for the day you might face abduction, natural disaster, riot or even war.” The site is essentially a repository of useful information that could come in handy in a wide range of different situations.

sin-library

The library contains files on just about anything you could want: encryption How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? Read More , ham radio, submarine cables, fitness, forensic investigation, blacksmithing, getaway driving, sailing, hunting and trapping, fallout shelter creation, body armor, how to survive falling through ice . . . the list goes on and on. The maps section provides a huge amount of satellite imagery, and the atlas provides situation reports and a ton of information about countries around the world. This is definitely one of my new favorite sites.

AnonInbox

AnonInbox was founded on the idea that email should be totally private: “If you have nothing to hide, then use Yahoo and Gmail instead. We believe that your e-mail belongs to you and you only and we can provide solution [sic] for you to achieve this goal.” There are a number of different Tor-based email providers, but AnonInbox is one of the most serious about what they do.

anoninbox

For a cost of 0.1 bitcoins per year, you get dedicated Tor hidden service servers, firewalled outbound traffic, encrypted disks, daily backups, daily erased logfiles, and a number of other security-focused features. You also get 10GB of storage; IMAP, POP3, and SMTP access; web-based access; and peering with other .onion mailservers. While you can use this account for whatever you want, if they find out that you’re using it for anything illegal The Gmail Panopticon: The End of Privacy As We Know It? The Gmail Panopticon: The End of Privacy As We Know It? Read More , it could be terminated.

How Will You Tell the World?

Here’s an interesting site that could occupy you for hours . . . or cause you to shake your head and hit the back button right away. How Will You Tell the World? is a long, complex riddle 6 Online Riddle Games to Keep You Glued to Your Computer 6 Online Riddle Games to Keep You Glued to Your Computer Read More that combines audio and visual clues. As you can see in the image below, it’s quite complex.

how-will-you-tell

What does it mean? Is it a message to mankind? A philosophical treatise? An extended mathematics exercise? Or just a bunch of drawings thrown together as a pratical joke? Only you can decide.

Scratch the Surface

As you probably know, the deep web is absolutely huge, and there’s a seemingly infinite amount of stuff out there. You just have to know where to find it. These six sites will give you a fun introduction to the dark web and using Tor, and might even inspire you to become a dark web spelunker in your spare time.

What are your favorite deep web sites? What have you found in your travels that’s interesting, unique, or bizarre? Share your favorites below — We’d all love to hear about them!

  1. Jack
    March 7, 2016 at 2:52 am

    ok quick question, if the deep web is not searchable via the major web search engines then how does one go about searching the deep web? DuckDuckGo??

    • Dann Albright
      March 9, 2016 at 3:38 am

      Well, it's not always easy. DuckDuckGo won't do it. The best way to find dark websites (that I've found, anyway) is to check out reddit.com/r/onions and the Hidden Wiki (http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page). It's not always easy, and sometimes it takes a lot of clicking around on bad links to find a good one for what you're looking for. Ahmia (http://msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion/) is a dark web search engine, but I can't vouch for how effective it is, as I've never used it. Looks pretty useful, though!

  2. Mel
    February 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Terminology is important. These sites are DARK web sites not "deep web". Technically speaking the dark web is a part of the deep web but that wasn't what you were trying to say. A handy guide:

    Surface Web – anything a search engine can find
    Deep Web – anything that a search engine can’t find
    Dark Web – a small portion of the Deep Web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard web browsers

    • Dann Albright
      February 17, 2016 at 4:16 am

      Thanks for pointing that out; I actually learned that particular nomenclature right after I finished this article, when I was looking into more dark-web-related stuff. Good thing to know!

  3. Kannon Yamada
    February 10, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    That was a really great read Dann!

    • Dann Albright
      February 10, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks, Kannon! I had a lot of fun researching this one . . . it took me a while to figure out how to find stuff on the deep web in the first place, but once I got the hang of it, it was like trying to solve a puzzle. Fun stuff!

  4. Megan
    February 10, 2016 at 3:53 am

    I LOVE that yall are writing articles about the deep web cause I feel the more people that know about it the better! Great read!

    • Dann Albright
      February 10, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      I agree! The deep web has a pretty nasty reputation, but there's a lot of cool stuff there, too. It just takes a while to find it.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Fik of borg
    February 5, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Publishing the deep websites links does not render the sites less deep?

    • Dann Albright
      February 5, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      No, not less deep, just at little easier to find. You can find links to all of those sites fairly easily on the deep web if you know where to look, anyway. You just need to sort through a lot of bad links to find them!

    • MEGAN
      February 11, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      Exactly!! Great reply.

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