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Surface Web vs Deep Web vs Dark Web vs Darknet Explained

A World Outside of the Internet, BUT within the World Wide Web (WWW)

The world’s digital, right? But did you know what all you can discover through just stepping into this digital world? Well, in this post, we will discuss what makes this digital world of ours and how deep roots does it have.

I’ll be sharing concepts like what is Surface web (also known as Visible Web, Indexed web, and Clearnet), what is Deep web, what is Dark web (also known as the Hidden Internet), and what is Darknet (also known as Invisible internet or Invisible Web). It will also explain to you about the different world which exists outside the Internet you so love, but still within the reach of the World Wide Web (WWW). So, let’s get started!

What is Surface Web

Well, This is the internet we all know and love. Some researchers call the Surface Web as the one we use for everyday activities like social networking and reading news on the Common Web. Here, conventional web spiders use sophisticated algorithms to collect data from hyperlinked pages and you browse it from search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

It is also known as Visible Web, Indexed web, and Clearnet and includes a fraction of the entire internet with approximately 19 Terabytes of information.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

The Surface Web is, ironically, home to some of the Deep Web. Any web page that requires credentials to access is, technically, part of the Deep Web because a search engine cannot access that content.

And though surface web seems all good to us, there are a handful of downsides. These include, but are not limited to Trolls and stalkers, human exploitation, pornography, violence, distraction, identity theft, hacking, and intrusion of privacy.

Don’t forget that it's because of the surface web that giants like Facebook and Google know almost everything about you.

What is Deep Web

Whenever I talk about the deep web, people start interpreting that it's a playground for criminals, drug users, terrorists, and sexual deviants. Though they’re NOT fully wrong as well. But, you should also note that in a sense, an organization’s intranet is a deep web too as nobody outside the company has access to the information in it.

It is said that the deep web has approximately 7500 Terabytes of information, and, 95% of it is publically available. I’d recommend you to go through the controversial WikiLeaks incident that uncovered information which had been stored on the Deep Web for years.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Further, I’d like to tell you that the deep web is inaccessible to “normal” search engines. To use the Deep Web you need to use a special browser, for e.g. TOR. It is the most popular one, but alternatives include Freenet, GNUnut, and Hotspot Shield. Each of these also helps you to achieve some level of anonymous communication while browsing the internet.

A surprise for you all, there are websites that are not indexed by “normal” search engines, like Google or Bing, and are considered as a part of deep web. To access these, you have to use Deep Web search engines like DeepPeep and IncyWincy.

Just a word of caution, in theory, the deep web does seem anonymous, but in reality, certain sites are watched by law enforcement agencies and there is a good risk of being targeted by hackers as well. So, be you need to be extra sure on your decision to browse the deep web.

For example, your email and online banking information are classified as content on the Deep Web, i.e. content that is not publicly accessible and not indexed by search engines, and each year more than 100 billion dollars worth of illegal activity is conducted worldwide using the deep web.

What is Dark Web

Well, it's often confused with the Deep Web, but to better understanding what is the dark web, you can consider it as Deep Web’s evil twin and is also known as the Hidden Internet.

For many people, Dark Web is simply a place where users can be completely anonymous, work in isolation, and find information that is not publicly available through normal channels.

For some, who are fed up with the intrusive marketing policies of companies like Google or Facebook, the Dark Web allows them to keep their search habits completely private.

Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

And don’t think that it's all good on the dark web, as the Dark web is also the place where criminals exploit its anonymity environment to sell guns, drugs, and humans. Also, If your data was leaked in a data breach, it is highly likely that this is where it will be put up for sale, but it's also true that governments use it to protect political conflicts and hunt down criminals.

And finally, to clear any doubts, the dark web is legal to access but any illegal activity can get you prosecuted.

What is Darknet

Well, it's also quite confused with the dark web and deep web, but I hope I’ve made those clear on what those two are above. Talking about the darknet, many people coin the term Invisible internet or Invisible Web for it, as it’s a different network that is encrypted and is created upon the existing internet.

It can only be accessed by using some specific configuration of the tools and software and its estimate that at any given moment, there are between 10,000 and 100,000 active sites on the darknet worldwide.

Darknet can be classified into two types

  • Friend-to-friend network: which is primarily used for sharing files using the peer-to-peer connection
  • Privacy networks: which are mainly used for doing illegal activities like cybercrime, purchase or sell illegal goods and services, child pornography, etc.

Just to let you know, accessing the darknet is classified as a crime in many countries across the globe, so I’ll recommend you to first check what your regional laws are and then only, tap into it.




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Amarpreet Singh

Amarpreet Singh

Startup Scientist who’s passionate about problems. Entrepreneur #Brandlitic + If you need Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Motivation, hit [Follow]

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