The Deep Dark Web
The “Dark Web” has been in the press frequently over the past couple of years, associated with tales of hacking, the sale of personal information, credit card data, drugs, weapons and other illicit items. However, there’s been very little by way of explanation as to what the dark web is and how you go there and this item looks to answer that, purely for research purposes of course.
A number of news stories have also referred to the “Deep Web” which has lead to a degree of confusion, as if the media consider the two to be interchangeable.
So, just to clear up any confusion here’s an explanation of the differences between the Deep and the Dark Web.
Let’s start at the top
The “Surface Web” is the web we all know and love, the websites we visit and the sites/pages that we find using Google/Bing/Yahoo and other search engines. And there’s the key, it’s only the parts of the internet that the search engines know about.
Just visit any website and click a few links, you’ll be doing the same thing that the search engines do, visiting websites and following links to find pages that they can present to you when you’re looking for things.
What is The Deep Web
Simply put, the Deep Web is just the area of the internet that is beyond the reach of the major search engines.
As an example, just go to www.britishairways.com and try to find a holiday to the Nautic Hotel between 7th and 14th October in Mallorca without using the search facilities.
It’s not that easy, in fact it you might find it confusing/difficult/impossible. You’re not alone, the search engines do to because they can’t get much further down than the first 3-4 layers. At least this is getting better because Google, Bing and the like are always looking to improve the way they manage such challenges but it’s still a struggle for them.
Websites can use code, called robots.txt, to actually block the search engines from certain pages so that they are difficult to find, deliberately. Websites with members only pages may choose to do this, for example.
As you can see, the Deep Web is neither illicit nor scary, it’s just out of reach of the major search engines.
What is the Dark Web
This is where things get really interesting. The Dark Web is a small portion of the web that is intentionally hidden and encrypted and which cannot be accessed through your typical web browser.
To access the Dark Web you need a specialised web browser that enables you to tap into the the TOR network. TOR, short for ‘The Onion Router’, so called because it uses many layers to both encrypt the data that moves around and to make it almost impossible for the authorities to trace internet activity back to a particular user and location. Great for security and anonymity which is why TOR was originally designed by US Intelligence agencies to enable American spies to securely communicate with their parent organisation and not reveal their location and identity.
The code was officially released to the public in 2004, and it’s still used by human rights groups and the like in repressive and unsafe countries to communicate with the outside world, but like almost everything it has also been subverted by those with criminal tendencies and put to a darker use.
You might recall that a couple of years ago the media was full of stories about a Dark Web website called Silk Road. This was like an eBay for criminals, a place where you could buy illegal items such as drugs & weapons and engage criminals to carry out illegal activities on your behalf, hacking for example.
The Silk Road was eventually closed down by the authorities but similar sites still exist if you know where to look and how to access them.
The first step is to download the TOR software, it’s free and pretty easy to find. However there’s no Dark Web version of Google – you have to know your way around if you want to find the illegal stuff – I don’t and wouldn’t broadcast it even if I did know.
I may not be able to help with your journey to the Dark Web but if your Surface Web needs improving or your Deep Web needs surfacing to make it easy to find, then get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call- 01793 238020 and I’ll dive in and see what I can do.