Surface Web, Dark Web, Deep Web- What Are They ?

Do you know that the visible part of the Internet that all of us access every day makes up for only 4% of the total World Wide Web? Have you ever tried to imagine what does the rest of it contain?

Don’t worry! It isn’t all horrific, most of it is quite useful and we also use it on a daily basis. This includes accessing online banking, visiting password-protected websites, like your ESP (Email Service Provider) or Netflix, Amazon, etc.

These constitute a part of the Deep Web that is scripted in HTML, HTML5, Java, etc. and it would take only an authorized professional to make sense of these things.

Also, these are organizational websites that can only be accessed on the front end. What you cannot find, or the unindexed part of it, contains personnel records, government resources, your social insurance numbers, tax information, and other essential data that no one can simply “look” for using Google, Bing, Yahoo, or whichever search engine you might use.

Such essential information is always safeguarded and kept hidden for privacy reasons.

The often worrisome part of the Internet comes in the form of the Dark Web, which, identical to its name, remains dark and anonymous for the most part. However, it is well-known that anything shady can be found on the Dark Web, such as drugs, weapons, child pornography, killers & assassins for hire, terrorist recruitment forums, websites, etc.

So, what do we mean when we say Surface Web, Deep Web, and Dark Web, and how did they evolve? Let’s find out.

Surface web

When you utilize search engines like Google, Bing, etc, you are only accessing a minute part of the Surface Web among the massive universe of a network. In other words, the Surface Web represents only a tip of a giant iceberg.

Img Credit – factknow

Imagine a gigantic iceberg. As you know, a large part of this ice structure is submerged, while a small part, less than 10%, appears floating on the surface.

On the tip of this iceberg are the commonly visited sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, etc.

What is Surface web?

The surface web also has other popular names like indexed web or the Visible Web.

All visitors can join the surface web, which represents only 0.03% of the web. The most popular employed domains are .com, .net, .org, etc.

Furthermore, the surface web is full of web pages open to the public through a remote server for everyone to access.

Generally, in this zone, you will be traced in one way or another, which means anonymity does not come by default, and you must make use of a VPN to hide your identity.

Otherwise, you will be tracked on social media websites, e-Commerce buying like Amazon, visiting Wikipedia, or other websites, for example.

You will be prompted with a message asking you to accept cookies to store information. You can block them, but it hampers the site’s performance.

Now, the rest of the mass of ice that is submerged corresponds to Deep Web and Dark Web.

Deep Web

The term was coined back in 2001 by Michael K Bergman. The deep web is mainly used by organizations and giant corporations that are not readily accessible to the common public operating on the Surface Web.

This is the area where financial records, legal documents, scientific reports, medical records, academic information, and other government resources are stored in a highly protected environment.

With more than 7.5 terabytes of data, this dark space contains between 70% to 75% of pages not indexed on regular browsers, which means it may contain more than one trillion web pages out of the most varied sources and languages.

These pages are classified as:

  • Dynamic
  • Isolated content
  • Private Web
  • Contextual Web
  • Limited content access
  • Scripts content
  • Contents that are not HTML/text

In a more technical sense, these pages do not exist to the public. These remain restricted to the normal public and require proper authorization. Any attempt at hacking into corporate servers to access these confidential records involves serious penalties amounting to life imprisonment.

Dark Web

The dark web exists only on darknets that require particular software, configurations or authorization to access whatever lies ahead. You won’t find these websites by a simple Google search. This network consists of peer-to-peer and well-known networks like Tor, Freenet, I2P, etc.

Sometimes, the Dark Web is confused with Deep Web, which goes back to 2009.

According to studies, the deeper submerged part of the iceberg represents a size of 400 to 500 times larger than the Surface Web. The Dark Web is also named Dark Net, Hidden Web, Invisible Web, etc.

This name is worth its fame! The visitors have more chances to find many unwanted and malicious things here than at any other place.

It composes of a major part of the web network and other content not enlisted or cannot be accessed through Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines and browsers.

Although this massive portion of the Dark Web may contain potential information for government authorities, it is not registered on regular browser databases.

Going by the list of things found here (indicated above), one can imagine how tedious it becomes to access a website from the Dark Web. It contains files, which are the hardest to find elsewhere, and they can only be accessed directly from the official website source.

Most of the found database is only accessed through specifically required tools because the URLs have a set of numbers and letters followed by the “.onion” domain.

Thus, becoming completely invisible and not reachable through commonly used browsers.

Furthermore, the specific tool used to access these web pages protects the visitor ID while assuring complete anonymity.

What does Dark Web consist of?

It is a dark side of the Internet where anonymity, encryption, and privacy are easily penetrated, and also, polemics, bizarre atrocities, and criminal acts take place over here.

The secret net is in the Dark Web. Also, you can access any website which is forbidden and impossible to reach through conventional browsers.

The use of the Dark Web is varied and typically monitored by government authorities such as the FBI, military, or journalists. But this space is known for illegal activities.

This dark world gathers illegal trades, drug markets, hiring assassins, buying illegal guns and ammunition, human and organ trafficking, and child p[0]rn[0]graphy; these are a few out of the many items found in this zone.

Mariana’s Trench honored the name for the division of Dark Web – Marina’s Web

Due to the fact that the Dark Web is a massive place, it is generally classified and pictured as a space with imaginary divisions. Just like in the depths of Earth’s crust that divides the Equator (The Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn).

Mariana Web is one of the deepest layers where the most danger lies. Users may find terrorist recruitment websites and forums of unimaginable subjects, for example.

The deeper you go, the harder it becomes to navigate. That’s the reason for calling it Mariana’s Web. It supposedly represents the ugliest side of the virtual world. The name was inspired by the darkest point in the world’s oceans, named Mariana’s Trench.

What does Mariana’s Web consist of?

Mariana’s Web contains the biggest secrets of the internet. This space holds a lot of myths, and it is the most dangerous and difficult side to reach on the Dark Web.

Most users prefer not to take this risk to not wind up bumping into something shocking and deplorable. The pages found on the Dark Web can be highly damaging to your computer since they contain unknown forms of viruses, not to mention a hacking intrusion to your network even without your knowledge.

Note that the information about Mariana’s Web is part of the Dark Web terminology but there is no concrete answer that proves its existence. All that is known about it is based on reports from experienced Dark Web users and specialized forums.

Dark Web parallel to Bitcoin

Dark Web is the most anonymous place a user can try, inclusive of making online payments. That is why this vast world created an association with Bitcoin- the virtual currency that allows people to conduct financial transactions anonymously.

dark web bitcoin

It is widely utilized on the invisible Internet for numerous kinds of trades from the black market to receive or make payments for various services. In recent times, Bitcoin has built a poor reputation because of its application which is often paralleled to drugs and guns, among many other illegal activities.

Is surfing on the Dark Web illegal?

The Internet is also known as a free land. Most people judge that surfing on the Dark Web is illegal.

In fact, most users prefer them, because of the privacy provided on the invisible internet. Although the Dark Web is not a secret, it is not entirely corrupt, since at times you may stumble into something useful. But generally, it is not advised to access it.

There are sites that serve to report cases of anonymous usage and private complaints, domestic abuse, and violence, government oppression, among other segments. It is also used by governments for covert FBI operations.

Unfortunately, scam is everywhere when it comes to the virtual universe, especially in this dark side. They use their best features (privacy and anonymity) to lead several illegal activities, which you should avoid facing.

How to access the Dark Web?

As stated before, the Dark Web is not reachable by using common methods of search. You may require some technical knowledge and tricks to learn a few things before starting to navigate.

To access the dark side of the web, you need to download a browser called Tor. It is an open-source project that allows users to browse the Dark Web anonymously.

Within Tor, communication takes place through routers that are connected to the rest of the world, which are also running on Tor.

In this system, the smart tool will keep your IP and geolocalization hidden, but it does not restrict your access to the Surface Web at the same time. Tor will keep you anonymous at all times. Using the TOR browser along with good VPN software will provide you with complete anonymity.

If you need to host a website, you will need I2P beta software which is a project that renders encryption.

It will allow software applications to send and receive messages, keep blogs, and share files in completely confidential virtual environments with this intriguing open-source software.

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