Is It Illegal To Use And Visit Dark Web Sites?

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On the network edge, the dark web is a bit more of a gray area. Using the dark web often means that you are trying to do something that you would not otherwise be able to do in public view.

For government critics and other outspoken supporters, they may fear a backlash if their true identities are discovered. For those who have suffered harm at the hands of others, they may not want their attackers to discover their conversations about the event. If an activity is considered illegal by the governing bodies to which it belongs, then it would be illegal.

That said, there is a dark side to anonymity, as cybercriminals and malicious hackers also prefer to operate in the shadows. For example, cyberattacks and trafficking are activities that participants know will be incriminated. They take these actions to the dark web links to hide for this reason.

Ultimately, the simple act of browsing these spaces is not illegal, but it can be a problem for you. Although not entirely illegal, nasty activity lives in many parts of the dark web. It can expose you to unnecessary risks if you are not careful or an advanced user, computer expert, aware of its threats. So what is the dark web used for when it is used for illegal activities?

Types of threats on the dark web

If you are considering using the dark web for basic privacy purposes, you might be asking yourself, “Is using the dark web dangerous?” Unfortunately, it can be a very dangerous place to be. Below are some common threats that you may face during your browsing experiences:

Malicious software

Malicious software, i.e. malware, is fully active throughout the dark web. It is often offered on some portals to give threat actors the tools for cyber attacks. However, it also persists throughout the dark web to infect unsuspecting users just like it does on the rest of the web.

The dark web doesn’t have as many social contracts as website providers follow to protect users from the rest of the web. Thus, users can be regularly exposed to some types of malware such as:

  • Keyloggers
  • Botnet Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Malware de phishing

If you decide to continue exploring any dark web site, you put yourself at risk of being singled out and targeted by hackers and more. Endpoint security programs can detect most malware infections.

Online browsing threats can spread to the offline world if your computer or network connection can be exploited. Anonymity is powerful with Tor and the dark web platform, but it’s not foolproof. Any online activity can leave traces to your identity if someone investigates enough.

Government oversight

With many Tor-based sites being investigated by law enforcement authorities around the world, there is a clear danger of becoming a government target simply for visiting a dark website.

Illegal drug markets like the Silk Road have been hijacked for police surveillance in the past. Using custom software to infiltrate and analyze activity has allowed officials to uncover the identities of users, both visitors and passers-by. Even if you never make a purchase, you may still be watched and framed for other activities later in life.

Infiltrations can put you at risk of being watched for other types of activities as well. Evading government restrictions to explore new political ideologies can be a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in some countries. China uses what is known as the “Great Firewall” which limits access to popular sites for this very reason. The risk of being a viewer of this content could lead to being placed on a watch list or immediately considered for a jail sentence.

Scams

Some so-called services, such as professional hitmen, may be scams designed to take advantage of willing customers. Reports have suggested that the dark web offers many illegal services, from paid assassinations to sex and weapons trafficking.

Some of these are known and established threats circulating in this corner of the web. However, others may be taking advantage of the reputation of the dark web to trick users out of large sums of money. Additionally, some dark web users may attempt phishing scams to steal your identity or personal information for extortion purposes.