Twitter, books and music: the ‘cult’ side of the deep web

Browsing the internet had a unique meaning for me until a few weeks ago. A Google search, the Facebook stunt, the daily life in Digital Look, a stroll through other sites … habits do not differ much from yours. But such a “deep web” landed in the newsroom as a guideline and, since then, sailing from before has become a submerged practice, a dive away from the conventional net.

We decided to make a series to unveil this world that can only be accessed with specific browsers. In the inaugural article, published yesterday (read here), the reporter Leonardo Pereira explains what this parallel layer is, what happens for him and how to get there. It was up to me to ascertain the good and constructive part of the content that circulates there, sometimes left aside by those who deal with the subject.

It is not easy or quick to find interesting contents there (the pages take time to load due to the long way they travel until they reach your machine). But, with the help of Torch, one of the search engines of the hidden web, or the Hidden Wiki, directory of the web, just type words of interest to find content that goes beyond bizarre, such as mutilation and pedophilia. Of course I need to be careful with words and pay attention to read the links listed in the search results.

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On the DW tour I found a library with rare books, instant messaging services, about 50 GB of books on religion, psychology and other curious subjects, in addition to music and film collections – of which we do not know the origin. There is still a kind of Yahoo! Answers, where anonymous people ask and answer about the most diverse topics, and Tor Status, a private version of Twitter.

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There are many forums with discussions ranging from international politics to programming techniques, however, everyone needs registration, which can be done through Tor Mail. This is a service created and fully maintained within Onion (name given to the network), and has refined encryption and maximum security. With this email address, DW users identify themselves on forums or similar. As with the traditional web, registration is free.

Privacy

Digital security expert Jaime Orts Y Lugo affirms that the web arose out of a need to obtain more privacy, since on the normal web, everything we do can be easily tracked. Many people end up using DW simply because they do not comply with the rules imposed by giants like Google.

With high privacy, DWatraiu famous groups. Wikileaks and Anonymous, for example, have taken secret documents there. And some revolutionaries, who participated in the Arab Spring, used the parallel network to facilitate the articulation of the rebels and complicate the work of the police intelligence. Journalists, military and politicians also communicate through the mysterious web and cover their actions on the network – which makes it a much richer place of information than imagined and commented on.

Obviously, the reserved environment also caught the attention of criminals, who liked the idea of ​​not being tracked, but, just like on the traditional web, at DW we come across bad and good things. Just be discerning and cautious to access it.

“People prefer to point out only the bad things, such as smuggling, drugs, pedophilia, weapons, but these contents exist for those looking for it. I go in and look for different things”, defends the specialist. [web tradicional], clicking everything and downloading any file, I need to be careful. But, people should not let fear deprive them of obtaining privacy and having access to new things “, he adds.

Another specialist in the area, Rafael Maia (fictitious name), says he learned to program at the bottom of the network. He claims to have had contact with all kinds of techniques. It was up to him to choose what he would do with that information in his hands. Maia chose to help companies protect themselves from attacks and fraud, which he encountered in the deeper layers of the web.

The maxim of the Onion chain, as the chain is known, is so attractive that even the least sympathetic have already become part of the concept. The specialist stated that he does not usually access available websites, but uses the Tor browser, specially developed for sailing on the deep side of the web, on traditional pages. DW browsers use an anonymous network of computers that make encrypted bridges to the desired website. Thus, no information from the Internet user is stored, as with traditional browsers.

“I don’t like the deep web, but I think the Tor concept is incredible. I decided to use it to access banks and social networks, because I don’t want my actions to be watched,” he concludes.

There are also those that make DW a place to store information that does not need to generate traffic. Lugo’s son hosted a research on toxins in the deep levels of the web while the investigation is not finished. Only after the article is ready, be indexed on the traditional web, can be found in search engines.

The deep web has two faces, the good and the thick skin. To know if an individual decision is worth venturing through these waters. Following this special series, you can check the next article that will bring the alarming part of the deep web. Be sure to read and comment on the subject.

Click here to read the series’ first report on Deep Web

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