What is the deep web/dark web ?
The Deep Web
Technically and practically the Deep web is information that can not be accessed from search engines. Search Engines are online services that allow you to search for websites, images and other files inside their database. Some great examples of search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo! or DuckDuckGo. Search engines use programs called web crawlers (mostly known as spiders or robots). A web crawler is a program that scans a page you give for links. Once it finds the links it opens them and scan the pages they lead to as well. During the whole process they store every page in their database, which you search through when you use a search engine.
In case you have not realized there is a problem about this technique, and the problem is that there are some web pages that are not linked to others. Therefore they cannot be found from web crawlers. Which means they are inaccessible from search engines. These pages are the deep web. However, it is in no way that simple, since the deep web, unlike the surface web, does only consist of pages and files, but databases as well. These databases are virtual places, in a way, where every piece of information of the internet is stored in. That obviously includes, but is not limited to, passwords, access keys, secret information and more. Almost every dynamic (web 2.0 +) site has a database and that database is usually a lot larger than the pages of the website (that’s why the deep web is considered enormous). These databases cannot be accessed from the search engines either, so they are considered a part of the deep web. The deep web also includes private documents, pages and files and password protected pages. Which means that your Facebook profile, the way you see it while logged in your account, is a Deep Web page!
The Dark Web
The Dark Web consists of Networks and can only be accessed with special software (depending on the network you want to connect to, typically TOR network – using the TOR proxy and browser) and specifically configured network settings, so you properly and anonymously connect to the Network. Information hosted on these Networks can also not be accessed from search engines which technically means it’s part of the deep web, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not literally inside of it. Everything on TOR network (By far the biggest dark web Network) is encrypted and hidden in order to ensure your private information remains private. This allows you to stay anonymous and share things that you would normally never do. Nothing can ever be traced back to you, even the FBI and other top agencies will struggle to find you. This is taken advantage of by many criminals, using those Networks to promote and provide their illegal services. Many pedophiles, drug dealers, human traffickers and crime organizations are known to host websites on the Dark web.
Some popular and rather disturbing sites on the Dark web (these are .onion sites, meaning they are inside the TOR network)
Technically the Deep Web is harder to access to than the Dark web because it requires hacking skills to leak databases and more, while the dark web only requires special software which can easily be installed on your computer.
Many people suggest shutting down networks like TOR but will this make any difference? What they fail to understand is 1. Crime has existed before TOR and 2. TOR is very useful, that’s why it still exists. It allows for Journalists to do research anonymously, it helps people access the web from countries where it is banned and more.