A former member of the Dark Web who fled to the US in 2015 has told Al Jazeera the dark web is a lot of “fun”.
“It’s an excellent way to hide your identity,” said Andrei Lankov, a journalist and blogger based in Russia.
“It’s not really a safe place, it’s a lot more dangerous than most people think.”
Andrei Lankovich, a Russian national who fled Russia in 2015, said the dark net was “a lot more risky” than most Americans were aware.
“You can have a whole bunch of people who are connected in real time and can share information.”
Andreik Laskovich, who fled from Russia in 2014, said it was “very difficult to be anonymous” online.
“The internet is so much safer than what we were used to,” he told Al Jazeera.
“It is very difficult to use an online tool that is not anonymous.”
Andre Laskov was among the first to expose the darknet, the hidden web of web hosting and illegal services where people can buy and sell illegal goods and services.
Lankovich said he was surprised at the anonymity on the darkweb.
“People think I am some sort of evil mastermind.
I am just someone who found out about it,” he said.
“I did not really think about it.
I just did it.”
Andrek Laskovoi, who left Russia in 2017, said there was no one he could rely on in Russia for his safety.
“I had a few friends, but they all have different backgrounds and different agendas,” he added.
“My family does not know who I am.”
The Dark Web: Who is using it and how to protect yourself?
What is Dark Web?
The dark web (or “darknet”) is a sub-culture of the web that uses anonymising software to conceal users’ identity, making it difficult to trace them.
The Dark Web was created in 2009, but is only accessible to those who know the codes that protect their identities.
According to the UK-based cybersecurity company, Symantec, there are now more than 3,000 darknet sites, with more than 1,000,000 users.
“This is an enormous number.
But there is a misconception that the Dark web is only used for criminals and drug dealers,” Symantech said.”
These are sites where you can find many people who want to get rich quick and sell their stolen goods and people who sell drugs or sell stolen goods.”
Symantech added that the dark market is now worth $2bn a year, with the biggest companies in the US alone using the dark Web to host their customers.
“Dark Web is the biggest criminal marketplace in the world.
There are billions of dollars worth of illegal drugs, stolen goods, stolen identities, and more.
There is no safe way to access the Dark Net.”
Who is on the Darknet?
Andreik Lankov and Andrei Laskova left Russia two years ago.
They moved to the United States with the aim of joining the military.
They started out on Silk Road 2.0, a website used to sell drugs and stolen goods.
They moved on to another site, the Dark Carnival, which allowed them to buy stolen goods from criminals.
They became disillusioned with their former lives and moved to another location.
The Dark Carnival site is not a darknet.
However, it is a dark web that has been created specifically for criminals.
The site has been blocked by the FBI.
There are many ways to access it, including using an anonymising service.
It can be accessed through a proxy, a VPN, a browser extension or a Tor browser.
However, Andrei’s account is protected by Symantectech’s Darknet IP Blocker.
The company has been in touch with him to help him protect his anonymity.
“We have been talking to him for a long time and we believe that he is a person with a good intention,” said Lukich.
“He is trying to protect his privacy and that of his friends and family,” Lukich added.
Lukich told AlJazeera that he had used Symantek’s Dark Net IP Block, and that he has not been contacted by the authorities.
However Lukich said the company had spoken to him about the dark world.
“Symantec has been very helpful in helping us to protect our identities and also to provide the tools to protect others,” he explained.
“The Dark web has been a great source of information for many people.”
What is a Tor Browser?
Tor is a software designed to anonymise the web traffic that it connects to.
It is not blocked by Google or Microsoft, but users who use it must agree to a network protocol that encrypts the traffic.
The Tor Browser is available for free on the Tor Project website.
The developers say it is the best tool to browse the dark