Everything You Need to Know About the Deep Web

By Sydney Butler / February 1, 2019

That part of the internet we can all see is often called the "surface web", but it's actually only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the internet is hidden from the like of Google and your standard web browser. The massive part of the internet known as the "Deep Web".

The deep web may seem like a mysterious and foreboding place, but if you take the time to learn a little about what it really is there's no reason to see it that way. We've put together a large number of deep and dark web articles on TechNadu and here is where it all comes together. This article will be updated with new guides and information as they become available, so you can always come back to get the latest info on the hidden parts of the internet. So without further ado, here's everything you need to know about the Deep Web.

What are the Deep and Dark Webs?

Mysterious Forest

The first thing anyone should know is that the Deep Web and Dark Web are two different things entirely. Popular media tends to mix the terms up, but the distinction is all important. You can read our in-depth explanation for a more complete picture of the difference, but we'll summarize it for you here.

The deep web is essentially an umbrella term for all internet-connected content that isn't indexed by search engines. Search engines are constantly scanning the internet to index what's out there. That's why they are so fast when returning results and also why your new website won't immediately appear on Google.

Most of this deep web content is incredibly mundane. It consists of things like website backends, databases, and other stuff no one is mean to access directly. Most of the internet is, in fact, part of the deep web and that's by design.

The dark web, on the other hand, is something very different. It's still part of the deep web by definition. Search engines can't index dark websites. However, these sites are hidden on purpose using complex encryption technologies. It's not that dark web sites just happen to escape indexing, they don't want to be found.

The Most Important Things You Need to Know

There's a lot to learn about the deep web and its dark web subset. It has a complex history that could keep anyone busy for hours on end. However, most of that knowledge isn't really essential for someone who simply wants to get a grip on the concepts quickly. These are the basic facts that we think everyone should know about the deep- and dark- webs.

First of all, it's not illegal to simply access the dark web or deep web content. If you have to hack your way to content, then you're breaking laws. If you do something illegal on a dark web site, then obviously that's illegal. There are however plenty of legal activities on the hidden parts of the internet.

The next most important thing you need to know is that your privacy and anonymity are more important than ever on the dark web. Regardless of the legalities, simply accessing dark web resources can get the attention of your ISP or have law enforcement watch you. Some of the people you may meet on the deep web as a whole don't have your best interests at heart either. This means you should use the right tools and habits to protect yourself.

The next most important thing you should know is that there is no such thing as perfect anonymity. Yes, the tools people use to access dark web content is powerful. However, there are still methods to out users who are careless or ignorant of all the ways their technology can betray them.

What You'll Find

The deep- and dark- webs have all sorts of content that you won't find via Google. The types of content that each comprises of are distinct though, so we'll handle them separately.

Deep Web Content

Thousands of Servers Vulnerable to Hijacking Due to Libssh Vulnerability

So by now, it should be clear that deep web content is pretty innocent, but what exactly is it?

There are some really big databases out there that are just too much for even Google's crawler. Many of these databases are not blocked and anyone can access them, but the sheer volume of content makes it hard to justify trying to index them.

Then there are websites that have some sort of access wall built into them. Any pages that require a user name and password to access is part of the deep web. So whenever you log into anything you're already browsing the deep web. Don't you feel all cool and edgy now?

Pages that are only temporary, such as generated results or custom forms are also part of the deep web. They just don't hang around long enough for any search engine to index them.

We could go into finer (and more boring) subcategories, but you should get the general idea of what's on the deep web as a whole.

Dark Web Content

This is What You Really Can Buy on the Dark Web Hacked Info

When it comes to the dark web, in particular, there are a large variety of sites offering all sorts of content and services. The ones that get the most attention tend to be on the illegal side of things.

Dark Web black markets have been a source of fear and consternation to the mainstream for a while now. While the Dark Web has been around for some time as a place where people could exchange information or converse without fear, the coming of cryptocurrency suddenly made anonymous trade a possibility.

These markets are mainly known for drugs, but hacking services and stolen information such as credit card numbers are also up for grabs.

The Dark Web is also the notorious home of the global hacker community. Hackers of all ethical stripes come here to sell information, share information or simply boast about their exploits.

It gets a lot stranger though. There have been rumors of hit men plying their trade on the dark web, snuff films and other assorted horrors. There have never been any confirmed cases of either of these being real, however. Sadly, truly heinous content such as illegal pornography involving minors has also found a home on the Dark Web.

It's not all illegal stuff though. The Dark Web is used by people in oppressive countries to communicate with the outside world. Whistleblowers who want to hold the powerful accountable can also use the Dark Web to safely let that information out. We have a whole article detailing the legal dark web stuff you can do.

Accessing the Deep Web

Password Prompt

For general deep web content, the only real way to access the information is by using the front ends that were designed to open that content up. For example, if you want access to the scientific journal articles stored on a publisher's servers, you'll have to register an account and then log in.

There are ways around this though. Some sites have listed databases which have not been indexed but are accessible. Browser plugins like Unpaywall will search the web for versions of scholarly works that are not behind a paywall. Results Google wouldn't give you.

Accessing the Dark Web

Tor Browser 8

Most people are however interested in how one accessed the dark web. That takes a more specialized set of knowledge and quite a bit more care.

Most dark websites are hosted using Tor Hidden Services. This works through Tor's anonymous network. The Tor project is probably the strongest form of internet anonymity technology we can use today.

Combined with other tools such as a VPN and anonymous operating systems such as Tails, users can visit ".onion" sites without their own identity and location being leaked. However, you can still infect yourself with malware or be manipulated into providing private information. So you have been warned!

The Future of the Deep Web

The part of the deep web that simply consists of the nuts and bolts of the internet as a whole is not going to go anywhere, nor should it. So in that sense, the future of the Deep Web is pretty much assured.

The Dark Web, on the other hand, is treated as an enemy by many big actors. Especially governments. Regulation and breaking through the anonymity of cryptocurrencies will probably put an end to much of what the Dark Web is known for. However, never underestimate the ingenuity of smart, driven people who don't want to be found or seen...

What was your experience with the deep web? Let us know in the comments. Feel free to share your thoughts below, and Follow TechNadu, on Facebook and Twitter for instant updates.

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