From sensationalist news to fictional TV thrillers, the Dark/Deep Web is a common concept when it comes to secret communities and illegal activities. But what is it really? Here’s the difference between the deep and the dark web, and how to access both.
To be clear, they are not the same thing. Often times, the terms deep web and dark web are used interchangeably to refer to a part of the internet full of illegal activities. But they require two very different methods of access and hold very different content.
The Deep Web
The deep web is the name for content online that is not indexed by search engines. Its also called the invisible web or hidden web. This simply means that it cannot be found on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any of them. They’re called the deep web because of how deeply one would need to search to find it.
To find a Deep Web website, you need to be told about it, essentially. Since they are not indexed by places like Google, you can’t just search for them. You often need to have someone tell you the web address and you type it in manually. Even then, you may be required to put in a password to see the site’s content. Check out forums and other talking grounds to find one.
The content on deep web pages can vary from personal blogs to webmail and bank services. More times than not, it’s stuff hidden behind paywalls.
The Dark Web
This is what most people mean when they talk about these web names. The dark web is the name for websites and content that require special software to search for and view. Think of it literally, you cannot see in the dark without a special tool: a flashlight.
The most popular dark web tool is called Tor. This is a web browser built specifically for hiding the user’s real location and IP address from the websites and service providers involved. It also can access what some call onion land, a series of websites that require special encryption to access. They are named such because it uses a process called Onion Routing and instead of ending in “.com” they end in “.onion”.
Due to the anonymous nature of tools like Tor, this is where all of the illegal stuff actually happens. This includes things like hackers for hire, money laundering services, fraudulent services, illegal pornography, and gun/drug sales. This is where the “black market” operates. It also is home to many scams, such as services posing as one of these services that will take your money and not do anything. Who’s going to tell the police that the hitman they hired scammed them, after all?
Disclaimer: PrepsLife does not encourage the use of anonymous routing networks to perform illegal activities. The article is written to help people recognize and understand these practices, and nothing more.