What Are The Deep Web And The Dark Web?

Definition of the dark web

The dark web is the hidden set of internet sites that can only be accessed using a specialized web browser. It is used to keep Internet activity private and anonymous, which can be useful for both legal and illegal purposes. While it is used by some to evade government censorship, it has also been known to be used for highly illegal activities.

What is the dark web, the deep web and the surface web?

The Internet is vast in size, with millions of web pages, databases, and servers running 24 hours a day. However, the famous “visible” Internet (also known as the surface web or open web), the sites you can find with search engines like Google and Yahoo, is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are several terms for the invisible web, but it’s worth knowing their differences if you plan on navigating off the beaten path.

The surface web or the open web

The open web or surface web is the “visible” surface layer. If we continue to visualize the entire web as an iceberg, the open web would be the top part that is above the water. From a statistical point of view, this set of websites and data constitutes less than 5% of the entire Internet.

Here are all the publicly available websites accessed through traditional browsers like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Websites are often identified by registry operators such as “.com” and “.org” and can be easily located using most popular search engines.

Shallow websites can be found because search engines can index the web through visible links (a process called “crawling” because the search engine crawls the web like a spider).

The deep web

The deep web lies below the surface and accounts for about 90% of all websites. This would be the underwater part of an iceberg, much larger than the surface web. In fact, this hidden web is so large that it is impossible to determine exactly how many pages or websites are active at any given time.

Continuing the analogy, the big search engines could be thought of as fishing boats that can only “catch” websites near the surface. Everything else, from academic journals to private databases and more illicit content, is out of reach. This deep web also includes the part we know as the dark web links.

While many media outlets use the “deep web” and the “dark web” interchangeably, much of the deep web as a whole is perfectly legal and safe. Some of the biggest parts of the deep web include:

  • Databases: protected public and private collections of files that are not connected to other areas of the web, so that searching can be done only within the database itself.
  • Intranets: internal networks of companies, governments and educational facilities used to communicate and control private aspects within their organizations.

In case you’re wondering how to access the deep web, chances are you already use it on a daily basis. The term “deep web” refers to all web pages that search engines cannot identify. Deep web sites may hide behind passwords or other security walls, while others simply tell search engines not to “crawl” them. Without visible links, these pages are more hidden for various reasons.

On the larger deep web, your “hidden” content is generally cleaner and more secure. Everything from blog posts under review and pending web page redesigns, to the pages you access when you bank online, is part of the deep web. In addition, they do not pose any threat to your computer or to security in general. Most of these pages are hidden from the open web to protect user information and privacy, such as:

  • Financial accounts such as banking and retirement
  • Email and social messaging accounts
  • Private company databases
  • HIPAA sensitive information such as medical documentation

Legal files

Delving deeper into the deep web brings a little more danger to light. For some users, parts of the deep web offer the opportunity to bypass local restrictions and access TV or movie services that may not be available in their local areas. Others go a little deeper to illegally download music or steal movies that aren’t in theaters yet.

At the dark end of the web, you will find the most dangerous content and activity. Tor websites are at this end of the deep web, which are considered the “dark web” and are only accessible with an anonymous browser.

Security on the deep web is more relevant to the average internet user than security on the dark web, as you might end up in dangerous areas by accident – ​​many parts of the deep web can be accessed with normal internet browsers. This is how users can navigate through enough tangential pathways and end up on a piracy site, a politically radical forum, or viewing disturbingly violent content.

The dark web

The dark web refers to sites that are not indexed and can only be accessed through specialized web browsers. Significantly smaller than the tiny surface web, the dark web is considered part of the deep web. Using our ocean and an iceberg as a reference, the dark web would be the bottom tip of the submerged iceberg.

The dark web, however, is a very hidden part of the deep web that few will ever interact with or even see. In other words, the deep web looks at everything that is below the surface and accessible with the right software, including the dark web.

Examining the construction of the dark web reveals a few key layers that make it an anonymous haven:

There is no indexing of web pages by surface web search engines. Google and other popular search tools cannot discover or display results from pages within the dark web.

“Virtual traffic tunnels” through a random network infrastructure.

Inaccessible to traditional browsers thanks to its unique registry operator. Furthermore, it is hidden by various network security measures such as firewalls and encryption.

The reputation of the dark web has often been linked to criminal intent or illegal content, and to “trade” sites where users can purchase illicit goods or services. However, legal parties have also made use of this platform.

When it comes to dark web security, the dangers of the deep web are very different from the dangers of the dark web. Illegal cyber activity doesn’t have to be easy to find, but it tends to be much more extreme and threatening if you look for it. Before revealing dark web threats, let’s explore how and why users access these sites.

Comments are closed