The internet is a vast network of information and social platforms that connects everyone around the globe. It has become a daily part in our lives and changed the way we work and the way we communicate. However, there is more under the surface of the regular internet we use every day. Beyond the familiarity of sights such as Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia, there lies an unreachable part of the internet that can only be accessed through certain browsers, this is known as the Deep Web, or Dark Web.
While we have all heard of the bad websites and suspicious activity that could go on in the Dark Web, there are also some misconceptions the everyday person does not know. Let’s start shedding some light on the scary “dark” corners of the internet.
What is the Deep Web?
Deep Web and Dark Web are commonly used interchangeably, but they do not necessarily mean the same thing. The Deep Web refers to all web pages that search engines cannot find. This includes the Dark Web; however, it also includes all user databases, webmail pages, registration-required web forums, pages behind paywalls. If you use an online bank account, the password-protected bits are stored in the Deep Web. The common mistake news outlets make is that they confuse the Dark Web with the much bigger and generally harmless Deep Web.
Then what is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web is a subset of the Deep Web in which suspicious, illegal or dangerous websites could be created and used. This is solely due to the nature and anonymity to how these websites can be created and accessed. Almost all sites on the Dark Web hide their identity using the Tor encryption tool. Tor is software anyone can download and is known for its ability to hide your identity and activity. You can use Tor to spoof your location, when a website runs through Tor, it has the same effect. Just as the end user’s IP address is bounced through several layers of encryption to appear to be at another IP address on the Tor network, so is that of the website. Thus, sites on the Dark Web can be visited by anyone, but it is very difficult to work out who is behind the sites. And it can be dangerous if you slip up and your identity is discovered.
Now there’s a Dark Internet too?
Yes, there is one more subset to the Deep Web, and that is usually defined by the term Dark Internet. This is used to describe further examples of networks, databases or even websites that cannot be reached over the internet. The typical stigma behind the Dark Internet is that it is a boring place where scientists use to store and share all their raw data for research.
Below is a visual of how we can think about the Surface Web, Deep Web and Dark Web.
So, is it Safer?
The internet, whether you or on the surface or in the dark, is well, the internet and hackers are lurking in every corner. While the dark web can provide anonymity on a level the surface web could never, it is not necessarily safer. Hackers have been known to go in, take passwords and other information from data in the deep web and use it for ransom or other harmful purposes. The Dark web particularly is a free-range host of illegal and wrongful activities and it is not recommended by anyone to visit or take part in.
How Can I Protect Myself?
There is a new wave of Dark Web monitoring that is hitting the market. Many of these tools scan the dark web for your website/company/email domains to see if there is a potential for a password or data breach. These monitoring tools can also alert you and prompt you to change your passwords so your digital life on the surface web remains safe.
ECMSI is happy to help with any questions you may have about the Dark Web. With our new Dark Web ID, we can scan your domain to find out if any of your information or passwords have leaked in the Deep Web. Call us at 330-750-9412 for any questions you may have or fill out the form below to get in contact with us.