Internet, Security & Privacy, Tutorials

How To Access The Dark Web Safely

The dark web or the deep web as it’s sometimes inaccurately called, is a lawless unregulated part of the internet. It’s used by a lot of criminals but on the flipside it’s also an online refuge for people who are persecuted for their beliefs, opinions and for who they are.

While the dark web is somewhat anonymous by nature, it is still possible to be tracked and monitored there by the authorities or criminal groups. I have seen some tutorials suggest using just the TOR browser directly on Windows to access the dark web, but this is very unsafe. In this video I will show you how to access the dark web safely on Windows.

Dark Web Tools

VPN Service. First you’ll want to get a VPN service with a client software that has an internet kill switch. Basically a VPN will encrypt all of your internet traffic, so your internet service provider won’t even know that you’ve been trying to access the dark web. But it also provides an extra layer of network security that protects your real IP address from being leaked. This is why you want to have an internet kill switch on your VPN client. If the VPN connection drops, the kill switch will stop all internet traffic until the VPN is back online, thus preventing your IP from accidentally leaking.

Currently I am recommending NordVPN. It is one of the best and cheapest VPN services.

Virtual Box. The next thing you’ll need to safely access the dark web on Windows, is VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a free open source virtualization product that allows you to run other operating systems, such as Linux, in isolated sandboxed virtual machines on your computer. So you’re basically running another virtual computer inside your computer.

Download VirtualBox

Tails Linux. The Linux distribution we’re going to be using is Tails. Tails is specifically designed to be used as a live operating system, which doesn’t require any installation. It’s meant to be run off a USB stick or DVD disc, but in this case we’ll be using it through VirtualBox. Download the Tails ISO file from their website, its file size should be 1-1.2GB.

Download Tails

Step 1: Start your VPN service

Start your VPN

First you’ll want to start your VPN client and connect to a VPN server. Make sure that the internet kill switch is enabled. It’s also sometimes called a firewall or network lock depending on your VPN client.

Step 2: Start VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine

Start VirtualBox

Open up VirtualBox, and click on the “New” icon to begin configuring a new virtual machine.

Choose Ubuntu 64-bit

Change the virtual machine type to Linux.

Then type in a name, and make sure the version is Ubuntu 64-bit.

If you only have 32-bit options, then you may have to change some settings on your computer.

Disable Hyper-V

First you can check that the Windows Hyper-V feature is turned off. You can find this setting by going to ‘Control Panel’, then ‘Programs & Features’ and clicking on ‘Turn Windows features on or off’.

Enable Virtualization in BIOS

If Hyper-V is already off or you don’t have it at all, then you’ll have to turn on your virtualization feature in the BIOS settings. You should find it somewhere in the advanced settings. To access the BIOS, restart your computer and spam F2 or the DEL key immediately as it begins booting up. Sometimes it may be a different key depending on your brand of computer or motherboard.

Choose Ubuntu 64-bit

Once you have the Ubuntu 64-bit option, choose it and click on ‘Next’.

Step 3: Setup and configure your virtual machine

Memory size should be at least 2048MB, which is the minimum required to run Tails somewhat smoothly.

Virtual Disk
Select ‘Create a virtual hard disk now’. Choose VDI as the disk type and ‘Dynamically allocated’ as storage type. This just means that the virtual hard disk will fill up as it gets more data, rather than creating a big file from the start.

Disk Size
Tails won’t be using much if any disk space, so the default file size amount should be sufficient. Click on ‘Create’ and the basic configuration will be complete!

Step 4: Start the virtual machine

Start Tails

To start the virtual machine, select it and click on the ‘Start’ button on the top menu.

Select Tails ISO file

Now you’ll want to browse to the location where your Tails ISO file is and select to open it as the start-up disk for your virtual machine. Then click on ‘Start’ to begin booting up Tails.

In the first menu you can either wait for the automatic boot or press ‘Enter’. Now just wait for Tails to start up.

Configure Tails

Next you will want to select your language, keyboard layout and formats for dates, currencies and so on. I’ll keep everything as it is, except for the keyboard layout which in my case should be Finnish. When you’re done with these settings, click on the ‘Start Tails’ button.

Step 5: Using Tails

After clicking the ‘Start Tails’ button, wait as the operating system finishes starting up.

Open the Tor Browser

Then go to ‘Applications’ on the upper left and select the ‘Tor Browser’.

On the Tor Browser you can go to on the clearnet.

From there you can find more links to sites on the dark web, such as the Hidden Wiki.

Cyberghost VPN