Authored by a Symantec employee

 

Believe it or not, accessing the deep web is easier than you think. In fact, you’ve probably already done it. The media hasn’t done a great job of differentiating what’s considered _deep_ web, and what is actually _dark_ web—two similar titles for two very different things.

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What Is the Deep Web?

The deep web is just what it sounds like: below the surface and not completely dark.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are able to search and index

websites because of links; they use links to rank search results according to things like relevancy, inbound links, and keywords. But that’s where the buck stops.

For instance, if you wanted to search a public library catalogue to find a book, you can’t type this information into a search bar and expect Google to return a meaningful result. That information is located in the deep web.

The reason search engines can’t return this data to you is because there are no links. Instead, you would have to go to the public library’s website and use a search bar inside the website to locate this data on the library’s servers.

This kind of information is all over the Internet; almost every time you search internally on a website, you’re accessing deep web content.

What Is the Dark Web?

The dark web is a different story, and probably what you assumed the deep web was if you read about it in a newspaper or saw a story on TV. Although these two words have been used interchangeably, one contains mostly harmless data and digitalized records, while the other has sparked controversy all over the world.

The dark web uses what’s called The Onion Router (Tor) Hidden Service Protocol, or Tor servers that are undetectable from search engines and offer users complete anonymity while surfing the web. Conversely, website publishers are also anonymous thanks to special encryptions provided by the protocol.

When you access the dark web, you’re not surfing the interconnected servers you regularly interact with; instead, everything stays internal on the Tor network, which provides security and privacy to everyone equally.

How Do I Access the Deep Web?

Getting to the deep web is actually a lot easier than you might think. All you have to do is download a deep web browser, which is conveniently named the Tor Browser. Once you install this browser on your device, it functions just like any other browser: type in a URL, and off you go.

However, finding the martial you’re looking for on the deep web is considerably more difficult than using a search engine like Google. The deep web doesn’t have an index or ranking system to help you find what you need.

Trouble in the Dark

Poking around on the dark web is where some people get themselves into a lot of trouble. Unlike the deep web, which contains important and useful information, the dark web is riddled with illegal and unconscionable activity.

Because Tor servers keep users and publishers completely anonymous, there’s no way to regulate or control the content, products, and services being offered inside the dark web. Further, there’s no way to trace communications, or keep financial tabs on responsible parties because all payments are given and received using Bitcoin, a digital currency that operates independently of a central bank.

On the bright side, there are publications on the dark web that believe it’s the only way to obtain and sustain a truly free press.

Before you get lost in the dark, be sure to educate yourself on the dangers of dark web activity, and be sure your computer is updated and installed with working security features to ensure your data isn’t compromised.

To learn more about how the deep and dark web works, be sure to check out our new documentary "The Most Dangerous Town On The Internet" - Episode 2: Where Cybercrime Goes To Hide” now!

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