The Dark Web is a hidden section of the internet that requires special software to access. This area of the internet has been around since its inception but recently it has become a haven for illegal activities including drugs, weapons, stolen credit cards, etc. In this articale we explain what exactly the dark web is, how it works, and what can be found on it.
The dark web is a part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines. You’ve no doubt heard talk of the ‘dark web’ as a hotbed of criminal activity – and it is. The dark web uses the ‘Onion Router’ hidden service protocol. “Tor” servers – derived from the ‘Onion Router’ – are undetectable from search engines and offer users complete anonymity while surfing the web.
The Dark Web is a hidden part of the World Wide Web that can only be accessed using a special browser known as Tor. Dark web pages don’t appear when you search for them in a search engine, so you’ll need to know the exact address of the website you want to visit.
The dark web can be a safe place for journalists and whistleblowers to communicate freely. Citizens of countries with strict Internet rules can also use the dark web to communicate freely. This part of the Internet is usually described as “dangerous”. The widely known stereotype is that the dark web is where all kinds of shady things happen, from dealing with illegal drugs to hiring hitmen. While there are certainly dangers lurking in the dark web, it is home to much more than just illegal markets.
To understand what the dark web is, we need to understand its terminology. The internet is often described as consisting of three parts: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web.
The terms “deep web” and “dark web” get misused regularly, which can cause a lot of confusion. As we talk about the dark web, here are a few points to keep in mind:
- The internet is a worldwide network.
- The web is a communication tool that uses the internet network.
- The web consists of the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web.
What is the dark web, deep web, and surface web?
The surface web or open web
The open web, or surface web, is the “visible” surface layer. If we continue to imagine the whole web like an iceberg, the open web will be the top portion of the water above. From a statistical standpoint, this collective of websites and data constitutes less than 5% of the total Internet.
All typically public-facing websites accessed through traditional browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox are contained here. Websites are usually labeled with registry operators such as “.com” and “.org” and can be easily searched with popular search engines.
Detecting superficial web websites is possible because search engines can index the web through visual links (a process called “crawling” as the search engine travels the web like a spider).
The deep web
The Deep Web is beneath the surface and accounts for about 90% of all websites. It would be part of an underwater iceberg, much larger than the surface web. In fact, this hidden web is so vast that it is impossible to find out how many pages or websites are active at any one time.
Continuing with the analogy, large search engines can be thought of like fishing boats that can only “catch” websites close to the surface. From academic journals to private databases and more illegal content, everything else is out of reach. This deep web also includes the part which we know as dark web.
While many news outlets use “deep web” and “dark web” interchangeably, most of the deep web as a whole is completely legal and safe. Some of the biggest parts of the Deep Web include:
- Databases: both public and privately protected file collections that are not connected to other areas of the web, only to be searched within the database itself.
- Intranets: internal networks for enterprises, governments, and educational facilities used to communicate and control aspects privately within their organizations.
In case you’re questioning the way to get entry to the deep internet, possibilities are you already use it daily. The term “deep web” refers to all web pages that which are unidentifiable through search engines like google. Deep web sites can be hid behind passwords or other protection walls, while others clearly inform search engines like google and yahoo to not “crawl” them. Without seen links, those pages are greater hidden for various reasons. On the bigger deep internet, its “hidden” content material is normally purifier and safer. Everything from weblog posts in-assessment and pending internet web page redesigns, to the pages you get entry to whilst you financial institution online, are a part of the deep internet. Furthermore, those pose no hazard for your pc or protection at large. Most of those pages are saved hidden from the open internet to guard person facts and privacy, such as:
- Financial accounts like banking and retirement
- Email and social messaging accounts
- Private enterprise databases
- HIPPA sensitive information like medical documentation
- Legal files
Going further into the deep web brings a bit more danger to the light. For some users, parts of the Deep Web provide an opportunity to bypass local restrictions and access TV or movie services that may not be available in their local areas. Others go to some depth to download pirated music or steal movies that are not yet in theaters.
On the dark end of the web, you’ll find more dangerous content and activity. The Tor websites are located at this end of the Deep Web, which is considered the “dark web” and can only be accessed by an anonymous browser.
Deep Web security is more relevant to the average Internet user than Dark Web security, as you can end up in dangerous areas by accident: many parts of the Deep Web can still be accessed in a normal Internet browser. This way users can travel through substantial tangents and end up on a piracy site, a politically radical forum, or view disturbingly violent content.
The dark web is a small subsection of the deep web that’s only accessible with special tools, software or authorization. Similar to the deep web, search engines don’t index material that’s on the dark web.
As with the other parts of the internet, the dark web doesn’t refer to a specific site or page. Instead, it’s a type of network called a darknet. If you set up a private and secure network with a group of friends, that could be an example of a darknet.
How to access the dark web
Accessing the dark web requires two tools: a virtual private network (VPN) and a specialized browser called Tor. If you plan on downloading any files from the dark web, you’ll also want to have an antivirus running at all times. Accessing the dark web is easy — but it’s rarely safe. Although the dark web itself is legal, many of the activities on the dark web are illegal. You may accidentally end up on a website that sells illegal drugs or a porn website that displays illegal content.
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