What is the deep web?

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  • #2241

    ‘Deep web’, a commonly misunderstood term, most people are scared of. The Deep Web is not something to be scared of. The Dark Web is a part of the Deep Web, which is something you may have heard about, representing illegal service and content. The Deep Web in general terms refers to websites which are not indexed, websites which could not be searched for by standard search engines, most people will not even get to such websites. The Deep Web is mostly used by people who are restricted to browse through normal websites by a government, or want to stay anonymous in the cyber world.

     

    Anonymity

    It is hard to stay anonymous in the cyber world, where most websites are gathering information about you while browsing. Every time you search for something on google information adds to their database. Furthermore, most web sites give google information about you: e.g. how much time you were on the exact page of a website, which ads you like, which type of information is most interesting to you, what information you are searching for and much more. From my perspective this information should be private. Even if this information is not used to harm people, it can be used to do so!

    You are giving out information about yourself all the time without even noticing. Most people do not care about anonymity today, and do not know what can happen to this information. For people who want to stay anonymous and don’t want to give out heaps of information about themselves there are services like VPN (virtual private network), for browsing through the web without giving information out by hiding your network identity. VPN services are also used to bypass governmental restrictions on downloading apps or visiting websites. For further exploration of the Deep Web you will need additional software, to browse through some websites on the deep web.

     

    Safety

    The Deep Web and Dark Web are not safe places if you don’t take precautionary measures. A lot of Deep Web and Dark Web users are good hackers, and can get you in trouble if you don’t know which websites you are visiting. Some of the websites contain malware which can be exploited by some action on the website. A user visiting the Deep Web must always know which websites he is going to visit, and take protection measures by installing software to increase their security and anonymity on the network.

    To stay safe:

    1. Never interact with someone on the Deep Web;
    2. Never download any file, if you don’t have enough knowledge to measure files safety.
    3. Never buy any product or service on the Deep Web. Most of the products and services on the deep web are stolen or illegal. For example, you can find some hacking services, illegal gun shops and illegal drug shops.

    Transactions on deep web are made in crypto currency, like bitcoin, which allows them to stay anonymous. However governments are still trying to track and catch people, who are offering illegal services or products. Know that you are never 100% secure, and take every protection measure possible to hide your identity or personal information.

     

    Software

    Let’s talk about software, the most commonly used software to browse the Deep Web is Tor. Tor is free software, which helps you defend against traffic analysis (a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security), which helps to stay safe from getting hacked. The Tor Browser is similar to a normal web browser in many ways. It is no more difficult to use than Chrome or Firefox. The difference is that the Tor Browser connects you to the internet through the Tor network. It blocks websites or parts of websites that can lead to data leak or security breaches. As you might know windows is not a very safe OS. My suggestion if you are a Windows user and want to browse the Deep Web, is to use VM (virtual machine) with a safe OS like kali Linux on it, VPN(virtual private network) and Tor to browse the Deep Web.

    Tor

    Tor also allows to connect to some websites which are not accessible from normal browsers. Websites which can only be visited with such software have “.onion” top-level domain suffix. Its advantage is that it is free to create. Addresses in the .onion TLD consist of 16-character alpha-semi-numeric hashes, which are incomprehensible and non-mnemonic in nature and are automatically created when a hidden service is configured using a public key. Decimals digits from 2 to 7, and any letter of alphabet can be used to create these 16-character hashes, which thus represents an 80-bit number in base 32. By continuously creating huge numbers of key pars unit a desirable URL is found (which is a computational process that can be done simultaneously), a human-readable .onion URL can be set up with specifying the first 8 characters of the domain. For example, a search engine which you can find on the Clearnet with duckduckgo.com address has .onion domain with https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/ and is only accessible through the Tor network.

    #2291

    This is a very insightful piece of information about the deep web.

    It is true that a lot of people are very weary when they hear the phrase ‘deep web’. This is a term that has for a very long time been associated with ‘darkness’ on the internet and  it is very hard to convince people  that it could have some benefits due to the anonymity it brings.

    I think the confusion and misinformation stem from the fact that people do not understand the difference between the deep web and the dark web.  You did a very good job at pointing out the distinction for people who do not understand.

    But just to provide a refresher, you can think of the internet as being made up of 3 layers; the surface web, the deep web and the dark web. The surface web is made up of websites that we see everyday through search engines such as blogs and news outlets. The deep web is that part of the web that, as you pointed out, cannot be accessed by conventional search engines. It is made up of such things as academic journals, legal documents and government resources.

    The dark web is innermost and the scariest of all. It often deals in illegalities such as pornography, drug trafficking and money laundering.

    I hope that helps.

     

    #2334

    Thank you for the insight into the other side of the internet. Confusingly, ‘Dark Internet’ is also a term used, sometimes, to describe additional examples of networks, databases or even websites that can not be accessed through the Internet. In this case, either for technical reasons or because the properties contain niche information that few people would like, or, in some cases, because the data is private.

    A basic rule is that the phrases ‘Dark Web’ or ‘Deep Web’ are typically used by the tabloid press to refer to secret and dangerous online worlds; the ‘Dark Internet’ is a boring place where scientists store raw data for research.

    Infamous examples of Dark Web sites include the Silk Road and its descendants. The Silk Road was (and perhaps still is) a website for the purchase and sale of recreational drugs. People who operate within closed and totalitarian societies can use the Dark Web to communicate with the outside world; and given the recent revelations about the United States and the United Kingdom governments snooping on the web, it could be essential to transfer their communications to the Dark Web.

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