The dark web is a network of websites that can only be accessed with a specialised web browser. It is used to keep internet activity private and anonymous, which can be helpful in both legal and unlawful situations. While some people use it to get around government censorship, it has also been used for very illicit activities.
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What is the dark web, deep web and surface web?
The Internet is massive, with millions of web pages, databases, and servers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, the “visible” Internet (also known as the surface web or open web) – where sites that can be found using search engines such as Google and Yahoo — is only the tip of the iceberg if we assume the Internet as an iceberg.
There are various words that can be used to describe the non-visible Web, and it’s essential to understand how they differ if you’re going off the usual track.
What is Surface Web
The “visible” surface layer is the open web, often known as the surface web. If we continue to think of the internet as an iceberg, the open web is the area above water.
According to statistics, this collection of websites and data accounts for less than 5% of the internet. This surface web folder contains all widely visited public-facing websites that can be browsed using standard browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Operators often identify websites such as “.com” and “.org,” and standard search engines can be found.
Because search engines can index the web via visible links (a process known as “crawling”), surface web websites can be found.
What is Deep Web
The deep web is located under the surface and contains around 90% of all web pages. This would be a part of an iceberg beneath the water’s surface, much larger than the web on the surface. The hidden web is so huge that it determines how many pages or websites are active at any given time.
Continuing with the iceberg concept, large search engines can be compared to fishing boats that can only “catch” web pages close to the surface. Everything else is out of reach, from research papers to private databases and more unlawful content. The dark web, which is a segment of the deep web, is also included.
While many news sites confuse the terms “deep web” and “dark web,” most of the deep portion is perfectly legal and safe. The following are some of the most critical elements of the deep web:
Databases are public and private file collections that are not connected to other parts of the internet and may only be searched within the database itself.
Intranets are private networks used by businesses, governments, and educational institutions to communicate and control portions of their operations.
The “hidden” content on the bigger deep web is often cleaner and safer. The deep web contains anything from blog entries to pending web page redesigns to the pages you reach when banking online. Furthermore, they pose no risk to your computer or your overall safety. To preserve user information and privacy, the majority of these pages are kept hidden from the open web, such as:
- Banking and retirement accounts
- Accounts for email and social media messaging
- Databases for private businesses
- HIPPA-protected information, such as medical records
- Documents from the legal system
What is Dark Web
Dark Web represents those sites that are accessible through only exclusive web browsers. Considerably compact than the small surface web, the dark web is expressed as a segment of the deep web. If we visualise it as our ocean and iceberg concept, the dark web would be the bottommost part of the submerged iceberg.
However, the dark web is a hidden part of the deep web that a smaller number of users ever see. In a way, we can say that the deep web contains everything below the surface, which is accessible only via exclusive browsers or software, including the dark web.
While analysing the structure of the dark web, we found a few key facts concerning it, which are:
- Google and other popular search engines are unable to locate dark web pages. As the surface web browsers do not index them.
- Dark web pages use “Virtual traffic tunnels” through a shuffled network infrastructure.
- Because of its unique registry operator, the dark web is inaccessible through traditional web browsers. Moreover, it is exclusively encrypted and hidden by security measures such as firewalls.
Generally, the dark web is considered as a web destination intended for criminal activities and illegal content. It has a reputation as a place for trading sites where users sell and purchase restricted items and services. Though, legal sites also use such a framework.
How to Access The Dark Web?
There was a time when the dark web was the territory of cybercriminals and hackers. However, with advanced technology such as anonymisation browsers and encryption, anyone can access the dark web if they are interested. ‘Tor’ is one such anonymisation browser that allows users to access and visit websites with the ‘onion’ registry operator.
Initially, the United States Naval Research Laboratory developed the software as a service in the late nineties. Concerning the nature of the world wide web, privacy is always a concern. Therefore, the initial version of ‘Tor’ was developed to cover secret communication. In time, the intent of the software has been altered and made public in its current form. Anyone can download the software at no cost.
Consider ‘Tor’ as a web browser such as Google and firefox. The only thing that makes it different is, it uses a random path of ‘nodes’, the encrypted servers, instead of taking the direct path between the device and the deep parts of the web. It enables users to access the deep web without being concerned that their activities are being tracked or monitored.
Difference Between Deep And Dark Web?
Following are the significant differences between the deep and dark web.
|S.N||Deep Web||Dark Web|
|1.||The deep web is a segment of the World Wide Web whose web pages are not indexed by the standard web search engines.||The dark web contains those web pages on the World Wide Web and requires exclusive software (browser) and authorisation to visit or access.|
|2.||The deep web is the segment of the Internet that is not visible to the naked eye.||The dark web is a part of the deep web which is intended to hide activities and trading.|
|3.||The leading search engines do not index web pages.||Web pages are accessible only to personal encrypted networks.|
|4.||The deep web is an extensive collection of invisible websites.||The web is not monitored and regulated. IP addresses are intentionally hidden.|
|5.||A valid username and password are required to access the web pages via standard search engines.||Web pages can be only accessed by exclusive software and browsers.|
|6.||The programs or websites that need authentication to log in are considered under the deep web.||The dark web depends on the framework of the deep web.|
The Dark Web And Crypto
The dark web is frequently confused with cryptocurrencies, which are commonly used to make purchases there. However, there is a distinction. The dark web makes it easier to create and browse websites that provide complete anonymity to all parties involved.
Many dark web websites merely provide information and do not allow users to buy or trade anything. On the dark web, however, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero are frequently used for transactions. However, using cryptocurrency does not necessitate using the dark web.
As per a report from Bitfury, a Bitcoin technology company, the entire value of bitcoin traded on the dark web has increased by 65 per cent in a year and by 340 per cent in three years.
Is Accessing The Dark Web Illegal?
No, accessing the dark web is not illegal. Some uses of the dark web are entirely legal and support the value of the dark web. Users can benefit from the dark web, including user anonymity and access to untraceable sites and services.
The dark web has grabbed many users since revealing their names online would put them in danger. These remote sites have been used frequently by victims of abuse and persecution, whistleblowers, and political dissidents.
As the dark web is untraceable and unregulated, we recommend you not to use the dark web without making sure you have all the security measures. If you are still curious to witness this dark part of the World Wide Web, you must take assistance from someone already using it as you don’t want to expose yourself to a place full of cybercriminals and mischievous elements.