You might have heard the terms dark web and Tor used in the media, but accessing them isn’t as hazardous as it may sound. It’s actually fairly easy to begin.

The dark web is a collection of websites that are not indexable by search engines like Google. It’s the portion of the internet where data and content that would otherwise be private is stored. For example, email inboxes as well as online banking logins and Google Drive folders live on the deep web. They aren’t accessible to users using a regular browser.

There are also many websites on the dark web that are used for legitimate functions. SecureDrop is one example. It is a dark-web site that allows anonymous submission of sensitive data by whistleblowers. There are sites that assist people in buying and sell stolen credentials such as credit card numbers, passwords and social security numbers. These sites are called’marketplaces.’ The most famous examples are Silk Road, AlphaBay and many others.

Tor is the key to the dark web. It routes your connection through a myriad of volunteer servers scattered across the world. This makes it impossible for anyone else to monitor your activities. The name “Tor” comes from its fact that the data it encrypts is multi-layered, like the layers of a pizza. This is a way to ensure anonymity.