Update: The Russian government officially blocked Tor and Deep Web Links in Russia. Users can access it while visiting Tor’s website mirror.
Some Internet providers in Russia have begun to block access to Tor since 1st December. Currently, we’ve learned that the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), a Russian government bureaucratic entity, is threatening to censor the main website (torproject.org). Russia is the country with the second largest number of Tor users, with more than 300,000 daily users or 15% of all Tor users. As this situation gets worse with a country-wide Tor block, it’s very urgent that they respond to their censorship! Therefore, they need help to keep Russians connected to Tor!
What are Deep Web Links?
Deep Web links are those links from within one website or application to another website or application. For instance, if you found an article from a link in a news email app or a link on another website, that is deep web linking.
When you go through the web, deep web links are present everywhere and taken for granted. But, if you want to add something to the web through site-building and app development, deep web linking is more complicated as well as a lot more interesting.
Tor is a custom browser, which comes in an open-source technology that accesses some very smart tricks to secure your web anonymity. Further, Tor is an open-source package based on a principle called Onion Routing.
This involves encrypting your data several times. Then, bypass it through a network of volunteer-run servers or relays from all around the world.
The first relay gets your data and peels off the first layer of encryption, such as the layer of an onion. In fact, Tor stands for “The Onion Router.” Also, its name is taken from this layering idea.
The first or guard relays awareness of your IO address but could not find any clues to your identity. It cannot view which site you’re trying to access either. It means that there is no other way to log what you’re doing. However, the only information it contains is the address of the next relay.
Moreover, the subsequent relay cannot have your IP address or know which site you’re going to navigate. All they do is eliminate a layer of encryption and pass the data to the next relay.
When your data arrives at the last relay, also known as the exit node. It erases the final layer of encryption and routes your web request to its real destination.
Your target websites view the IP address of the Tor exit note rather than yours. Hence, it has less idea of your identity. In addition to that, it transmits its response back to the exit node, which routes through the Tor network and returns to you.
Tor Browser cannot support accessing regular websites. It only allows you to browse .onion sites, which is a piece of the hidden area of the internet, referred to as the deep web. The good news for you is that there is no extra work required. All you need to do is simply type the site URL into the address bar.
On the other hand, the deep web continuously gets a bad rap. It is associated with sites that sell guns, drugs, stolen data, and all types of other horrifying content. In addition to that, there is some truth about the negative aspects of the deep web, but it’s only a little part of the story.
Keep in mind that .onion sites aren’t accessed by users looking to hide something. In fact, they’re also a way to cross-censorship, to get around country-level website blocks. For instance, Facebook has a .onion site. Meanwhile, the BBC uses Onion sites, and the DuckDuckGo search engine is at Tor.
Moreover, it is not an easy task to find .onion sites, but there are various resources that can assist you. The Hidden Wiki is a huge .onion site directory, while DuckDuckGo’s engine indexes .onion sites.
The Threat of Tor and Deep Web
The deep web is a part of the internet where you step in with a specific tool. It hosts onion links you couldn’t access with browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari. For accessing the Deep Web, here comes the Tor browser that works the best. It allows you to visit deep web websites while offering anonymity by routing your traffic through several nodes.
Furthermore, Tor is not just a browser but also a decentralized server network that uses multi-layered encryption to prevent anyone from tracking anybody’s online activities. However, many relate Tor with illicit dark web activities; its use cases are far more comprehensive. Many mainstream sites have onion versions, including BBC, The New York Times, and Facebook.
Tor has quite threatened authoritarian governments. Mass surveillance blocks access to specific types of content. For example, alternative news sources that aren’t in line with government information. It also monitors behavior, which is a central facet of maintaining control in such regimes. Tor gets in the way of that. Therefore, it is no surprise that Russia has been trying to crack down on the service in recent months.
According to the Wired website, Russia has tried to block Tor in two flavors, first politically and second technically. From a political point of view, in December 2021, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Media regulator, practiced a law to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to restrict access to Tor services and its website. However, this cannot block Tor immediately across the board because Russia’s Internet isn’t centralized. It means that it’s up to individual ISPs to decide whether to implement the block or not. As a consequence, Tor is blocked in some places and not others. In a positive development, Roskpmnadzor’s decision to prohibit access to Tor and Deep Web Links was overturned in a recent court case where Tor was presented by Russian digital rights group Roskomsvoboda. On the other hand, it was only abolished on legal procedural grounds; the group canceled the block long-term completely.
Secondly, from a technical point of view, Russia has accessed equipment with deep packet inspection to operate and block several online services, including Tor and Deep Web Links. Nevertheless, Russian citizens have been passing such blocks through two channels. These channels are run-bridges freely and Tor’s snowflake. Both are types of entry points to Tor and Deep Web Links that can’t be blocked as the details aren’t public.
However, Russia has been trying to crack down on bridges in several ways, such as fingerprinting, Gustavo Gus, Tor’s community team lead. In addition to that, it believes that Russian officials are manually downloading Tor, accessing Deep Web Links, and fetching bridges so that they can block their access. Furthermore, Tor engineers have been working hard to combat these attempts with Tor 11.5’s feature that assists users in getting around government censorship automatically based on their location. Accessing the messaging app Telegram can also be very effective in terms of avoiding blocks.
Gustavo Gus, community team lead of the Tor Project, said, “We are being attacked by the Russian government; they are trying to block Tor.” It is seen in the past few months that Russians have adapted their tactics, said Gustavo Gus. On the other hand, the Tor Project’s anti-censorship engineers have successfully started updates to prevent its services from being blocked. Gus said, “The flight is not over.” Further, he said, “ People can connect to Tor that can easily bypass censorship.”
On December 6, 2021, the Tor Project received notice that the domain torproject.org and Deep Web Links would be blocked in Russia “based on a formal decision of the Russian Saratov District Court of 2017, in accordance with Article 15.1 of the Law on Information in Russia.”
The court decision was about generalized claims that the Tor Project’s anonymizing browser and Deep Web links facilitated access to “extremist materials.”
Tor and Deep Web links argued on these claims and said that its privacy-protecting browser is a significant tool for journalists, activists, human rights defenders, and marginalized people to secure themselves online.
The Tor Project and Deep Web gathered with RosKomSvoboda, a Russian digital rights organization, in order to file an appeal in Saratov District Court that challenges the blocks on torproject.org and deepweblinks.com
However, the ban was made without enabling the Tor Project and Deep Web to fight for the case in addition to violating the “constitutional right to provide, receive and disseminate free information and protect privacy” of Russians, the petitioner argues. The first hearing of the case is due to take place on February 7.
Executive director of the Tor Project, Isabela Bagueros, said, “With the help of attorneys from RosKomSvoboda, Darbinyan Sarkis, and Abashina Ekaterina, we are appealing the court decision, and we hope to revert this situation and help create a precedent in Russia for digital rights.”
Since December 2021, more than 1,000 new Tor bridges have been added to the network by volunteer bridge operators in order to assist in counter-censorship against the Tor network.
In addition to that, people in Russia cannot access the main torproject.net website and deep web links but can still use the same set of resources by accessing a mirror website, tor.eff.org, set up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“Blocking the main website impedes people from downloading the Tor Browser,” Bagueros explained. However, we believe that the bigger contribution to the reduced Tor usage in Russia is due to blocking the Tor network itself.”
Deep Web Links that You Can Paste into Your Tor Browser
Some Tor websites are made entirely for the network. These usually represent onion links with the “.onion” domain. To find the best deep web links on Tor, go through the list we have provided below. What are you waiting for? Have a glance at our top 10 deep web links to paste into your Tor browser today:
- Hidden Answers
- Tor Metrics
- Imperial Library
- Comic Book Library
Have a glance at each deep web link in detail:
1. Daniel Deep Web Links
Daniel’s website lists approximately 7,000 .onion addresses. They have separated them into various categories so that they can browse easily. Furthermore, this site has a built-in test functionality. This means that it can check and balance if any given Tor website is online and when it was active last. Hence, it makes it the perfect website to explore in Tor.
2. ProPublica Site
This website is an investigative journalism outfit. According to the 2016 report on sexual abuse won the Pulitzer Prize in that year. ProPublica website can be accessible on the “clearnet.” (It is the regular internet you’re accessing right now). In addition to that, it maintains a Tor website. Using a Tor browser provides you with a layer of anonymity and security and allows you to bypass country blocks.
Moreover, as a plus point, ProPublica is one of the most polished web experiences you will have on the deep web.
3. Ahmia Search Engine
I believe that visiting Tor without deep web links at hand is a fool’s errand. However, some people insist on search engines, and various Tor engines exist. Here comes Ahmia, which I suggest to you.
Although it is very hard to identify which engine works best. Ahmia represents itself as a hidden service search engine that works to remove child abuse content from its search results. Also, it’s the best service for those who want to search the deep web.
But keep in mind that surfing Tor isn’t an easy task. Apart from being isolated from the internet, most of the Tor isn’t indexed, making it invisible to search engines. In general, hidden websites flourish the network.
4. Riseup Tools
Riseup offers email and chat services that maintain a record of your activity. It is also secured from malicious and fraudulent attacks. Further, it doesn’t have any intention of cooperating with any government, unlike Google.
This deep web links website supports the causes of “human liberation, treatment of animals ethically, and ecological sustainability.” In addition to that, Riseup gives organizational tools, mailing lists, and much more.
Nevertheless, exploring the deep web link isn’t enough. You must require an invitation code to create a Riseup account. But you can still have the option to browse the security section! It is an excellent tip to add a dash of information security to your daily life.
5. Hidden Answers Website
Hidden Answer is one of those deep web links that keep their way onto these lists. The reason is that Hidden Answers is the deep web version of Quora, Yahoo Answers, and Reddit.
When you start accessing the site, you will notice that the question discusses over there on several topics. Once the user has the ultimate anonymity, the internet can offer. Then, they can ask where your nickname comes from or if you would like to have your head cryo-frozen after death.
New Release on Tor Browser
- Tor Browser 11.5a5 (Android)
It was updated on March 3 Firefox to 96.3.0, including bug fixes and stability improvements. They fixed a bug that was prohibiting users of Android Q and later from downloading files.
- Arti 0.1.0
It was updated on 1 March, along with new primary features, including builder API for constructing TorClient instances and creating unboot strapped and bootstrap-on-demand TorClient instances.
- Tor Browser 11.5a4 (Windows/macOS/Linux)
Updated on 18 Feb, includes significant security updates to Firefox.
Q1: Is it illegal to browse the deep web?
Ans: No, it is not illegal to browse the deep web. But anything that is recognized illegal worldwide will be illegal on the deep web. The lists are illicit goods, illegal transactions, criminal harassment, and downloading copyrighted material. Keep in mind that anything that is illegal on the regular web is also illegal on the deep web.
Q2: Are the deep web and dark web the same?
Ans: Do not mix up with these two terms. They are not the same. All sites on the dark web are typically part of the deep web, but much of the deep web is not part of the dark web. The deep web is those areas of the internet that aren’t indexed by search engines, such as email inboxes, banking portals, or any site that needs authentication or a password.
In contrast with regular deep websites such as your email account, you cannot access the dark web until you have some special tools or software like the Tor browser. Even some said that the real dark web needs an invitation to participate.
Q3: Are onion sites and deep web links dangerous?
Ans: Onion sites and deep web links aren’t dangerous, but they can be. A lot of illegal activity happens on the deep web, and Onion websites are well-known for cybercriminals and scammers. It is best to access a good VPN for an extra layer of protection.