Internet is a vast network where many websites and other services are running and collectively called the World Wide Web. But the actual volume of the internet is not limited to these websites only. It is classified into three layers according to their features, awareness, and accessibility. They are Surface Web, Deep Web, and Dark Web
More than 5000 domains are registered every hour, and almost 7200 hours of video content is uploaded on youtube every day.
There are around 2 billion websites active on the web. But these websites are publicly used for general purposes.
- Surface Web
- Deep Web?
- Dark Web?
- How to access Dark Web?
- What is TOR Browser?
- Deep Web vs Dark Web
- Is Dark Web Illegal?
1. Surface Web
Surface Web is the topmost layer of the internet which is easily accessible by a normal internet user.
Google has more than 6 billion webpages indexed and we can find them on search engine result pages as well as access with the help of their URL.
But surface web covers hardly 5% of the total internet in the world. The content of the surface web is clearly visible and publicly accessible.
It includes all the social networking platforms, news & sports websites, entertainment & business sites, blog posts & articles, etc.
2. Deep Web
Deep Web is the largest portion of the internet which is invisible and not available for general use.
It is a collection of those websites which are not indexed by any search engine and never appear on search result pages because they want to keep their information private.
Not every internet user can access the data of the deep web. It is available for a limited number of allowed users only and a key or password is required to access the content of the deep web.
Most of the data available here are in an encrypted format. The technology and the process behind the working of the deep web are actually not different from that of the surface web.
The only difference between them is that the purpose of the deep web is to keep the confidential and private information on any website hidden from unauthorized access.
Examples of the Content Inside Deep Web
- The username and passwords of your accounts on any website or emails and messages you send to anybody are private information and should be encrypted.
- Personal details of a person related to an institution, a business corporation, a government organization etc. should not be accessible for outsiders.
- Private webpages of public websites such as banking, insurance, public portals, e-commerce platforms, etc. should remain secure.
- The files you upload on cloud storage such as google photos, google drive, dropbox are your personal assets if not you don’t share them publicly.
- Confidential data of any field whether science or medical research, military operations, government strategies, etc. is valuable and must be protected from any threat.
Many journalists, whistle-blowers, political protestors, private organizations, etc. use deep web for being operational and invisible at the same time. So we can say that the dark web exists behind surface web.
It keeps private information secure and encrypted because most of the information on the internet is private, so the deep web is the largest portion of the internet.
3. Dark Web
Dark Web is also called Dark Net or Black Net. Basically, it is a part of the deep web but the data is not easily accessible because it runs on peer to peer networking and onion routing.
The websites that belong to the dark web are mostly hosted on personal servers and usually run all kind of illegal and criminal activities such as drug dealing, arms supply, gambling, black marketing, trading of restricted products, human trafficking, etc.
The transactions are for any kind of trading often performed by stolen debit/credit card details or cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as it is not regulated by any government or any authority.
The growth of cryptocurrency is one of the major reasons for the expansion of the dark web.
4. How to access Dark Web?
If we talk about deep web, it is the layer that exists behind the surface web and we can access them through our web browsers if we have a link or path to those websites along with the required key or password.
But we can not visit the dark web because these websites exist in a further deeper layer and the domain of the websites is .onion.
You can access it with the help of special tools such as the TOR browser, Freenet, or, I2P where the TOR browser is the most popular tool to enter the dark web.
5. What is TOR Browser?
TOR means The Onion Router, is an open-source software developed in September 2002 and the core concept was introduced by a research laboratory of the United States. The aim was to maintain the anonymity of US Intelligence for safe and secure online communication.
It creates a complex route for the HTTP requests through a relay of proxy servers and the data have to cross several VPNs to reach the destination.
So it becomes tough to find the actual IP address of the client as well as server and hence we call it onion routing, where the encrypted network has nested layers like an onion.
The speed of the connection degrades due to a rise in the number of nodes. The data has to travel through each node to reach the client end but user privacy enhances and the network becomes secure.
6. Deep Web vs Dark Web
People tend to confuse that they are the same. Basically, dark web is a part of the deep web but there are many differences between both of them.
|Dark Web||Dark Web|
|It covers maximum portion of the entire web||It covers a small portion in deep web|
|Its content is not indexed by search engines||Its content is inaccessible for major users|
|Websites of deep web can have any domain||Websites of dark web has ‘.onion’ domain|
|Users having direct link can access deep web by their web browser||It needs a special browser configuration to access the content of dark web|
|Used for legal activities and data security||Mostly used for illegal and criminal activities|
|Accessed by normal internet users daily||A normal should never visit dark web|
7. Is Dark Web Illegal?
Visiting the dark web is not illegal if you are not up for any false activity. If you are using the TOR browser to use the internet anonymously without revealing your personal information, then it is absolutely fair and legal.
Using a VPN with the TOR browser is an advantage where your data becomes more encrypted. But it is an advise that you should not even try to visit any website which is a part of the dark web.
The reason behind this suggestion is that all the users of the dark web are kind of crime partners and you can be a victim of a cyber-attack.
Your device can be hacked and used for illegal trading or you may get in trouble. Few more facts will help you decide whether you should visit the dark web or stay away.
- Silk Road was the best online black market in the dark web for the sale of drugs started in 2011. But the FBI shut it down in 2013 and arrested the owner of the website.
- Red Room is a video streaming website on the dark web which streams mind disturbing content related to violence and human torture to its audience.
- There are many websites on the dark web which stream and sell child pornography which is a great offense.
- All the communication and strategies related to acts of terrorism in any country take place around the dark web.
Do you know? There is another term Shadow Web and some people say that this is a further deeper layer of the dark web where the most heinous criminal activities take place. But the intelligence agencies and cybersecurity researchers claim it as a rumor.
In a nutshell, the dark web is not the right place for the people who are basic internet users, and even if you know the path that can take you there, you should keep distance to avoid any kind of trouble. There are many black hat hackers who work in silence and are always seeking people to perform a cyber-attack on them.
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that routes your internet traffic through a private server and acts as a client itself for the website server.
The data is sent to the IP address of VPN and it redirects the data tou your IP address. In this way, you can browse the internet without revealing your identity.
Dark Web is actually the portion of the internet where people operate without revealing their identity.
So basically, Dark Web was created with the invention of World Wide Web where people started misusing the facility of internet.
TOR browser is available on Google Playstore. You can simply install in your phone. Additionally, you have to install Orbot which is provides proxy applications to connect you to TOR network.
Actually, having a URL of any website that belongs to dark web is not enough to explore it. The websites having “.onion” domain does not open on any normal web browser. You have to install TOR browser and it should also be used carefully.
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