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What are the Dark Web and the Deep Web?

What are the Dark Web and the Deep Web

If you love watching police drama, thrillers, and mysteries, then you’ve must have heard at least once the term "Dark Web". For those of you who are not familiar with this term, the Dark Web is supposedly a place where various nasty criminal activities happen.

However, you might have also heard about the Deep Web. And it’s logical that you ask the question, “Are the Deep Web and the Dark Web the same thing?”

Unfortunately, many people use the terms dark and deep interchangeably, including journalists. That’s incorrect because the Dark Web and the Deep Web are different things.

So, today we’re going to explain what the difference between the Dark and the Deep Web is. Keep on reading if you want a sneak peek into the dark corners of the Net.

What is the Deep Web?

Image Source: hackercombat.com

Let’s imagine that the World Wide Web is an iceberg like the one that struck Titanic. What you see above the water is the surface layer. That’s all the sites you can stumble upon when you use Google or other search engines.

For example, if you type the word “cat bed” you’ll get hundreds of results in Google or Bing. All these sites reside on the surface layer because Google index them and they show in the results.

You don’t have to know the specific address to find the content. You just have to scroll through the results until you find the one to catch your eye.

The Deep Web is all the other content on the Web, which is not indexed by Google or similar search engines. So, it’s not available unless you know the specific web address or how to search for it.

For example, if you make a secret Facebook group, it will be visible only to those who you’ve invited. It won’t appear in any Google or Facebook searches. You can do the same for Twitter or YouTube so that only the selected few can see what you’ve posted or written.

Some of you might be wondering just now why some this information is not visible to the rest of the world. Well, mostly because we’re talking about:

  • Archives
  • Online banking information
  • Databases
  • Email accounts
  • Scientific papers
  • Private information

And here comes the interesting part. The surface layer contains more than 4.5 billion websites, according to some estimations. That’s a lot of information and data, some of you might think.

But the Deep Web is even larger than the meager surface layer. Experts estimate that it’s 400 or even 500 bigger than that. So, in other words, what we see on Google barely scratches the surface of the content available on the Web.

Is it illegal to surf the Deep Web?

Reading articles about the Deep Web might raise the question, “Is it illegal to browse the Deep Net?” The answer is no. In fact, you’re already using the Deep Web without knowing.

For example, let’s say that you want to open your inbox and check your messages. You’ll do that by logging into your account – Gmail, Outlook, or whatever type of email provider you use.

The point is that you won’t type “my inbox” in Google and load the content of the inbox from there because that page is private and requires identification.

In other words, your inbox page is part of the Deep Web because it’s not indexed by Google and no one can have access to it unless he knows the specific URL and the password. The same goes for all other profiles and private information, which should not be available to anyone.

As you see, there is nothing mystical about the Deep Web, and you shouldn’t worry that you’re breaking the law.

What is the dark web?

The Dark Web is part of the Deep web. We might say that it’s the bottom of the iceberg. Unlike the Deep Web pages, which are accessible for specific persons (the owner of the profile, account, or database), not the whole community, Dark Web pages are available to all who know how to find them.

To reach the Dark Web, you’ll probably need:

  • Special software
  • Specific configuration or...
  • Authorization

That’s because the Dark Web pages exist on encrypted networks and the visitors must use the same kind of encryption tool to reach these page. For example, a lot of these websites use TOR for the encryption so to access them you have to download TOR and run the TOR browser.

This browser encrypts your data into multiple layers of encryptions and routes it through numerous nodes on the TOR network to protect your identity and keep you anonymous. You would also notice that the pages don’t have the usual address such as .com or .org but instead. onion.

Ironically, TOR wasn’t created by hackers or people dealing in the black market. It was a government project, which aimed to secure communications. Unfortunately, nowadays, TOR is often related to illegal activities.

Is it illegal to surf the Dark Net?

The Dark Web is indeed a place where mostly illegal activities take place because the websites are hosted on secure networks. As a result, it’s challenging to pinpoint the location of its user or sites, which makes it ideal for people who don’t want to be found.

I’m sure that some of you might be interested in browsing the Dark Web mainly because they are curious about its content and what you can find there. Well, it’s not illegal to do as long as you don’t partake in any illegal activities.

While there is some safe content on the Dark Web, a lot of its pages are related to nefarious criminal endeavors. We’re talking about:

  • Pornography
  • Drug/weapon sales
  • Trafficking
  • Scams
  • Hire killers and so on

I would think about visiting the Dark Web as going sightseeing in a shady part of town. While it has its trills, you have to be extremely careful, or you might get in trouble.

Nevertheless, the Dark Web doesn’t host only sites that sell drug or weapons or offer pornography. It has some legitimate uses. For example, if you live in a country which censors public opinions you might use the Dark Web to express your unpopular views.

People who use TOR and the Dark Web include:

Click here to find some Dark Web pages that are legitimate and safe to browse. Remember that you must download TOR first and that you should stay on your guard. A lot of scammers exists in the Dark Web, and some people are easy to trick.

You know what people say. Curiosity killed the cat. So, if you go looking for some of the darkest parts of the Dark Web, make sure that you don’t accidentally reveal your identity. Also, keep in mind that the government is watching these pages, and you might get into serious troubles.

What do you think about the deep and the dark web? Have you tried to access the Dark Web? Share your experience with us in the comment sections.

(Last Updated On: May 25, 2022)
About the author

    Whale Sumo

    Hwang is a self-proclaimed nerd who loves helping people understand complex concepts. He has a passion for crypto and online privacy and enjoys teaching others about the benefits of both. Hwang is an advocate for individual freedom and believes that knowledge is power. When he's not busy sharing his knowledge with the world, Hwang can be found running full marathons or playing video games.