How to Vanish into the Dark Web
While the dark web is often associated with the extremes of criminal behaviour, there are many reasons why “innocent” people might want to communicate anonymously.
Discussing matters that might imperil your work, family life or relationships, for example. Here’s how to stay under the radar:
1 Blog anonymously
By downloading TOR, signing up to a free email account under a pseudonym and using a free blogging platform (for example, Blogger), you can publish what you want without fear that your email or IP address can be traced.
You can even work from a cybercafé or a work PC using software installed on a USB drive, and without installing anything on the host machine. There’s excellent advice on how to achieve this at the Global Voices Advocacy site.
2 Move to TOR, Freenet or I2P
TOR, Freenet and I2P can all be used to host websites (known as Hidden Services, Freesites or Eepsites), send email or host and contribute to forums anonymously. There are disadvantages – you won’t get regular internet traffic, you have to be comfortable with the service’s free-speech policies, and you may not be able to use familiar tools – but your activities will be safer from prying than they would be on the outside web.
3 Scare away the spiders
If a conventional site doesn’t appear on the major search engines, it has a certain level of security through obscurity; only people you actively tell will know of its existence.
The key is the robots.txt exclusion file, which tells search engine spiders and crawlers that material is off-limits. Add the following syntax to a robots.txt file in your site’s root directory to remain hidden:
Additionally, adding a noindex page metatag can protect any page you don’t want indexed:
Of course, this means your site will be unavailable to the majority of internet users, but if you’re only communicating with people you already know and trust, this might not be an issue.