The internet can be divided into three parts and it starts with surface web.
The Surface Web:
The surface web is the most known. It is the one we all use. You are browsing the surface web right now by reading this article.
The surface web can be accessed using: computers, mobiles and various other technology which lets you browse the web besides it is created for the general public along with indexed searched engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. It is believed that 10%-16% of the internet is made up of the surface web. (However deep web can consist parts of the surface web).
The surface web is also known as the “visible web” as it is made ready for the public and can be browsed with ease with the help of technology. The surface web mainly consists of fixed pages.
How do you identify the surface web?
The easiest way to figure out if you are browsing the dark web or surface web is to see the beginning and ending to domains.
The surface web consists of indexed search engines. Indexed sites start with www. or anything similar. Likewise, if you pay attention to the end you will be able to easily determine which part of the web you are browsing. [DEEP WEB can be part of the SURFACE WEB so read below about the DEEP WEB].
If the domain ends with:
Or similar variations its means you are browsing the Surface Web.
Other key points:
- The surface web makes up nearly 70% of internet traffic per day
- It is completely free and legal to use
- Your government and internet service provider can monitor your activity on the surface web.
- A fraction of the entire internet with +-19 terabytes of data
The Deep Web:
The deep web makes most part of the web internet. It is not indexed to search engines so you cannot browse for data, unlike the surface web. The deep web can be a part of the Surface Web and can also be part of the Dark Web.
- When you create a private Facebook profile then your technically being part of the Deep Web or when you make changes to your Instagram or any other social profile for that matter.
- When you log in to an e-commerce site, you are accessing the deep web or when you are purchasing an item online via online banking, you are redirected to your Banks page before you can pay so at this moment you are being part of the deep web.
Taking the second example into consideration, where the bank redirects you to another page where you can complete the purchase after verifying your credentials which should match with the database of the bank. The information stored here is on the bank’s database, which is connected to the intranet of the bank, meaning that you cannot browse for this information via a search engine.
The deep web is made up of dynamic pages and it depends on the database for its content. A deep web usually means content hidden behind HTML pages.
Why do we use the Deep Web?
The general public does not have access to data on the deep web unlike the surface web because the data found there serve an intended purpose. The data store here has a specific purpose with a specific target audience. The owners of these content will go to great extents to ensure that the results of the deep web will not appear as search results of a search engine.
Since the deep web is linked to the dark web users may use browsers like Tor to access the deep web to mask their identity depending on the purpose or intention. On the contrary, a Database manager of a hospital needs not to use such browsers to access the deep web because he or she will have permission to access the hospital’s intranet which is part of the deep web.
Other key points:
- Out of a billion users, approximately 3% use the deep web.
- It is legal to use, however, there are illegal activities that take place too which are usually linked to the dark web.
- It is not 100% like the dark web
- Public information on the dark web is 450-550 times larger than the regular world wide web
- Deep Web consists of 7500 TB of data
- 550 billion individual documents
The Dark Web:
The dark web is a place where users can be anonymous. Here users can find information that is usually not public. However, from the time it has been created to this date, the number of illegal activities continue to rise. Along with these, there are many conspiracy theories that follow. Because there are many illegal or unacceptable activities that are carried out here the common misconception is that it is illegal to access the dark web, which is not true. It is legal in the majority of the countries to access the dark web, however, there are many illegal activities that take place there and you wouldn’t want to engage in such activities.
Is it possible to track you down on the dark web?
Although you are anonymous on the dark web its not impossible for authorities to track you down should you do anything illegal (depending on the laws of your country)? If it were 100% impossible to track down criminals in the dark web guys like Ross William Ulbricht also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts” is one of the founding members of one of the largest market places in the Dark Web, Silk Road would not have been arrested and sentenced to prison.
Companies like Apple and Facebook save data about their users and this includes details like location, search history, etc. because you are supposed to comply with their terms and services with very little limitations in order to use their products or services. Some users are fed up with these policies or even do not want to give out their private information so they end up using the Dark Web as it allows them to keep their search habits private.
No DNS and IP addresses present in the domains of sites in dark web.. (These are what helps recognize a website and a user)
How do you identify the dark web?
The dark web has different links/ domains compared to that of the Surface Web.
Below is an example of what a dark web domain looks like:
Regular browsers like Chrome and Firefox can not open links like the example shown above. Alternatively, there are other browsers that help open links like the one above. The most popular browser is Tor.
You can download Tor Browser here: https://www.torproject.org/download/
Purpose of Dark Web?
The US military created the dark web along with TOR (THE ONION ROUTER) way back in 1990. The dark web and tor became public in 2004 as part of a strategy.
Exchange information anonymously amongst intelligent operatives. You remain anonymous in the Dark Web by bouncing your Internet traffic throughout different network relays worldwide. This way you stay anonymous along with the person you are communicating with which is why experts warn you to be careful who you talk with. The person at the other end of the conversation may have many surprises which may be good or really bad for you.
Other key points:
- estimation of approximately 10,000 to 100,000 active sites
- The dark web has sites that leak or sell leaked data.
- Hidden Internet, Invisible Web, and Dark Net are other names to the Dark Web.
- The law enforcement can track you down if necessary.
- Open area with privacy and no censorship
- If you are engaging with anything illegal it is punishable by LAW apart from this it is completely legal to access in most countries. [Do research on your countries law]