You may have heard the terms Deep Web and Dark Web and be wondering what they refer to so this short guide explains the difference between the two.
The Deep Web and the Dark Web are sometimes mistakenly used to refer to the same thing however they are separate entities.
Both the Deep Web and the Dark Web are not indexed by search engines and as such cannot be accessed using Internet search engines such as Google or Bing. Search engine indexing refers to a process where search engines collect and store data in order for them to return fast and accurate information when they are used to search the Internet.
The Deep Web refers to an area of the Internet that is private and not indexed by search engines for instance any password protected websites are in the Deep Web. For example when you log into your email through your web browser, this uses the Deep Web. Also when you log into your online banking that information also sits in the deep web. The Government Gateway that is used to file your tax return or complete your VAT return, parts of that are also hosted in the Deep Web.
The Deep Web is estimated to be about 500 times the size of the “surface web”. The “surface web” is the everyday web that we use.
The Dark Web, also known as Darknet, is only accessible using specialised web browsers. In order to search the Dark Web you have to have a specialised web browser, you cannot stumble across the Dark Web accidently. There are legitimate uses for the Dark Web such as allowing journalists or news companies to communicate securely with their sources.
Activists of suppressive regimes and governments use the Dark Web to communicate anonymously.
However, there are areas of the Dark Web that have a criminal element which involve selling of illegal drugs, firearms, sharing of child abuse images, stolen credit card or financial details for sale, fake passports for sale etc.
The Dark Web can be access using the TOR browser which stands for The Onion Router. This has to be downloaded to the machine or device and can then be configured to access the Dark Web.