The internet isn’t just limited to the normal web that is visible to everybody. Many internet users are unaware that the web is divided into 3 categories vis a vis – Surface web, Dark web and Deep web.
Confused on what they are and how they differ from each other? Read on to find out more.
The surface web is comprised of all the websites that are indexed by traditional search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and so on. These websites can be accessed by all the internet users freely without the need of any additional software configuration with the use of browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
The interesting thing to note here is that the surface web makes up for only 4% of the total internet ecosystem and many users don’t even know about the other 96% of it, let alone how to access it.
The Deep Web is that part of the internet that cannot be accessed via standard search engines such as Google or Bing.
The Deep Web consists of an organisation’s personal cloud storage, military databases, survivalist-type chat rooms, etc. This also includes some things that you might be accessing in your regular life, such as netbanking, messages on Twitter, Instagram or other social networks and also your emails.
Here the communication is encrypted and special permissions — or passwords — are required to access such data. Basically, any information that isn’t available via the search engines — information the owner doesn’t want to be publicised by search crawlers — is put under the spectrum of the Deep Web.
Anyone of the opinion of freedom to privacy, whilst conforming to the law, is entitled to using the Deep Web. Any activities done beyond the scope of the law come under the Dark Web. Deep Web makes up for a majority of the entire internet.
The Dark Web is a part of the Deep Web that cannot be accessed via generic browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, Microsoft Edge — let alone search engines. To access the Dark web, you would require Tor browser or something similar.
To put it briefly, the Dark Web is a dark place and is found in the deepest depths of the internet. A majority of the Dark web comprises of websites related to criminal activities, which include:
- Selling of illegal drugs, ammunition in exchange for Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies
- Doxing – Research and broadcasting of an individual’s personal information
- Fake identities with the provision of documents like passports, bank accounts
- Stolen/Hacked Netflix, Spotify, Hulu or any gaming accounts
- Poisonous drugs like Ricin, Xanax
- Illegal porn viewing – child porn
- Human and child trafficking business
- Assassin hiring agencies
- Selling uranium for atomic material generation
The picture seems to be pretty clear here. This space is made up for people who want to maintain anonymity to carry out illegal activities. Bitcoin is the currency of order here to better implement anonymous activities and hide illegal transactions from coming to light.
Anyone that gets on the Dark Web is familiar with the fact that all the websites here are full of dangerous malware that includes ransomware like CryptoLocker.
Deep web vs Dark web
Often used interchangeably, the Dark web is a subset of the Deep web. One would be quite right to think that the Dark Web is only used for illegal activities, but on the contrary, the ‘dark’ part of the Deep Web also helps out people to connect to each other with a significantly better probability of remaining anonymous.
A lot of journalists and whistleblowers profit because of the use of the Deep web, which enables them to remain anonymous and exchange crucial information. Even websites such as ProPublica and The Intercept have a version with .onion URL extension — a common feature of websites on the Dark web as this URL is dynamic in nature.
On the Dark Web, a majority of those offering services take advantage of the anonymity feature to carry out heinous crimes and gain huge profits.
While the Deep Web brings anonymity and puts a halt on the sharing of private data that is acquired by your browser, it doesn’t mean that the user cannot be located and tracked down. Sure, it takes a lot of resources to carry out this process, but nonetheless is possible and the governments are doing this too — check out the five-eye surveillance programme.
Certified ethical hacker. Writer at Candid.Technology. Truly believe that to know everything is to know that you know nothing.