The deep web, invisible web, or hidden web are parts of the World Wide Web whose contents are not indexed by standard search engines for any reason. It is also known as Concealed Web.
The opposite term to the deep web is the surface web. The deep web includes many very common uses such as web mail, online banking but also paid for services with a paywall such as video on demand, and many more.
This part of the Internet is known as the Deep Web, and it is about 500 times the size of the Web that we know.
The Deep Web vs. The Dark Web
Deep Web is the portion of the Internet that is hidden from conventional search engines, as by encryption; the aggregate of unindexed websites
The Dark Web on the other hand, is defined as “the portion of the Internet that is intentionally hidden from search engines, uses masked IP addresses, and is accessible only with a special web browser: part of the deep web.” The key takeaway here is that the dark web is part of the deep web.
What exactly is the dark web?
The dark web is a subset of the deep web, which cannot be accessed by most search engines. You need special software like Tor to access the dark web. The web can be divided into 2 parts — the indexed web and the deep web. The deep web usually has restricted access, just like your Google Docs and email. A deeper layer of the deep web is the dark web, which is made up of networks called darknets that are not accessible through your regular search engine. These darknets are only known and accessible by those who create them.
Tor can be used to hide darknets. In addition to anonymizing web browsing history, Tor also offers hidden services. The hidden services use the anonymity feature in Tor to cloak darknets, communications, file storage, hidden directories, and even Deep Web Radio. Only those connected to Tor can access and view these darknets.
How do you access the dark web?
On the dark net, you cannot simply type in a web address and get to it like you can through the your normal browser. However; you don’t need special permissions to access the dark web either. The first step is to install Tor, next you would need to choose a virtual private network (VPN). Regardless if you are using Tor, you should always use a good VPN for security purposes.
When you use a VPN, your activity on the dark web is hidden from government agencies and your Internet service provider (ISP, helping you remain anonymous while using Tor. A VPN that provides a false IP address is preferred so that in case Tor ever gets compromised, the web activity will remain untraceable.
The Tor browser is available from the official Tor website, never download it (or other software) from a third-party site or email attachment. Once you download and install the Tor browser, close all open windows and apps and open your VPN. The most secure protocol is OpenVPN.
Next, first-time users will not know their way around the dark web, so you will need to find a directory of sites in the categories you’re looking for. Directories can be found among the thousands of guides to accessing the dark web in the form of Youtube videos and blogs. In the interest of promoting information, rather than specific sites, we’ll let you Google search directories rather than link to them for you. Many of these directories make the same disclaimers — browse at your own risk, they do not endorse any marketplaces, and watch out for your anonymity like your life depends on it. You should take this advice.
What are the security risks of browsing the dark web?
Before accessing Tor and the dark web, it’s important to know the security risks, as the dark web, unlike the deep web, is notorious for drug trafficking activity, private communications, and illegal information. The main thing to remember is to apply the best practices you already use on the rest of the Internet to stay out of trouble.
The Tor browser bundle is already configured to protect users against some of the privacy threats that exist under normal browser conditions. An essential step for protecting your privacy on Tor is create a new email and password when registering on Tor’s hidden service. Do not use your daily email address — otherwise it defeats the purpose of trying to maintain your anonymity on the deep and dark web. Also, it should go without saying — don’t use your real name or other information that could be used to identify yourself. All these precautions will help keep you anonymous while browsing the deep web and dark web.
If you wish to make purchases, use Bitcoin with an escrow service. Try to avoid downloading anything from the dark web, but if you do, use VirusTotal or a similar scanning service to make sure you’re not downloading malware.
Lastly, use your common sense. Do not fall for something that seems too good to be true because it probably is! The dark web is full of scams, and law enforcement will not come to your aid. If it’s your first time browsing the dark web, realize that you’re in unfamiliar territory and could be talking with seasoned experts in subversive services — you’re probably out of your element. Be aware of your surroundings and handle everything with apprehension. If someone approaches you on the dark web, take caution not to give up any personal information, even if they promise to make it worth your while.
Moral and legal implications of browsing the dark web
You might be able to find useful and valuable information and services on the dark web. The dark web is notorious for being dangerous as well. As mentioned earlier, the dark web is home to several illegal drug and human trafficking sites, hackers for hire, child pornography sites, theft, underground gambling, gore, and other dark activities.
Who profits from the dark web?
It could be anyone, and the whole point is that it’s impossible to know exactly — but it has been heavily utilized by organized crime and terrorist organizations.
Whatever you do, do NOT partake in criminal activity on the dark web. We do not condone this behavior and only provide this guide to be informative in case you decide you want to navigate to the deep or dark web. Always be cautious and careful while on the dark web and avoid clicking on any links that advertise illegal or disturbing content. Lastly, browse at your own risk while on the dark web.
Tor and the dark web may contain unethical content and you may be tempted to report crimes or criminal activity you may see. Tor is not illegal, and you do not become an instant criminal just by installing Tor and visiting the dark web. Just remember that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are already scouring the dark web for criminal activities, so the chances are high they are already monitoring the traffic on the dark web. It is best not to take the law into your own hands and try to catch criminal activity yourself. You are better off leaving it alone as you do not want to dig into a subversive activity you could get caught up with.
After reading this, you may decide the dark web is not for you, however; it exists, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.