Nikhil is a BCA graduate by education and a technical writer by passion and choice. He loves staying up to date with the latest technologies
Everyone uses the internet every day for various purposes. Some use it to search for the latest music video, to pay bills, while some use it to read and consume the desired content.
But in reality, that’s not the only internet you think you know. I'm talking about the Dark Web. It’s more fascinating than these two words sounds like. It’s the less-known place in the corner of the internet. Ready to learn more about it? Well, let’s dive deeper into it below.
What is the Dark Web and how is it different from the Everyday Internet?
There are chances you might have heard this term before, either in movies or from the internet. And you may not have bothered to find out what exactly is a Dark Web. So, here am I to satisfy all your curiosity about this term. Before we move forward and discuss in detail, let’s try to define and see what a Dark Web is.
The Dark Web is an anonymous part of the internet that search engines do not have access to. And as search engines like Yahoo, Bing, or Google can’t access them, the websites on the Dark Web are also cannot be indexed.
The modern internet is the one who gave birth to this Dark Web. The place consists of all the legitimate as well as sites that involve illegal or criminal activities. It is also known as the Dark internet, or Dark net.
The shadowy part of the internet is hidden from general users. Therefore, only people with encrypted networks or with some security tools will have access to and can view the world of the Dark Web.
What can you do in the Dark Web space?
In simple words, the Dark Web is that corner of the visible or surface web where you will find only dark content. Some websites on the Dark Web have disturbing content, while most of them conduct and facilitate illegal or criminal activities.
Through websites on the Dark Web, activities like selling the personal information of stolen bank accounts or hacked PayPal, or Netflix accounts, etc. take place. You can get lifetime access to Netflix for just $6.
Some of the more serious businesses on the Dark Web may include selling illegal drugs, harmful chemicals, body parts, and counterfeit goods. It can also be used to hire murderers and assassins.
From stolen Netflix accounts, social security numbers, to hacked government data, and fake college degrees and coupons, the Dark Web consists of almost anything you can imagine. This is what makes it a unique and curious place for most people.
Who are the ultimate users of the Dark Web?
As mentioned above, the Dark Web is a special corner of the main or surface internet which cannot be accessed by everyone. Only minorities of users have and can access this place using complex security tools and tricks.
According to a report, out of the billions of internet users around the world, only three-percent have access to this sophisticated and murky place. Not to mention, that three-percent would also count to about at least a hundred thousand people.
It’s only because of the Dark Web; Bitcoin was introduced and became popular. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that helps in conducting financial transactions between buyers and sellers anonymously.
The Dark Web can be accessed by anyone having proper encryption tools and software. Although I condone visiting such sites. Browse and access the Dark Web sites on your own risk.
To get access, you must know the basics of encryption, privacy, and security. Criminals, terrorists, whistleblowers, and politicians are a bunch of people who extensively use the Dark Web to run their propaganda.
Who Accesses the Dark Web?
Generally, hackers, politicians, journalists, whistleblowers, and government agents use the Dark Web for various purposes.
How the Dark Web Works and How to Access it?
As mentioned above, to get access to the Dark Web, you must be aware of some or all kinds of privacy techniques and tools. And one such popular tool is Tor (The Onion Router).
Tor (The Onion Router) browser is built with the desire to protect anonymity while browsing the internet. It was released for free to the public in the year 2004.
The employees of the United States Naval Research Laboratory are responsible for the development of the Tor project. The primary purpose of the browser is to protect the government's sensitive intelligence information and computer networks.
Normally, when an internet user visits any site on the World Wide Web, they can be visible to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through their unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Therefore, to mask their identity, location, etc. on the Dark Web, users use services like VPN or Tor browser.
As the normal search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing cannot access the Dark Web, a user has to rely on special Dark Web search engines. One of the most notable ones is Grams.
However, one can also use ‘The Hidden Wiki’ to find various links to the Dark Web. Unlike the normal website’s name ending with .com, .org, or .gov, Tor sites generally end with .onion domain name.
Are the Dark Web and Deep Web the same?
Most of the people get confused between the Deep and Dark Web. They use both the terms interchangeably. But that’s not the case in reality. There are some clear-cut differences between the two. Let’s have a look at how deep web is different than the Dark Web below:
- Dark Web is a subset of the deep web, which means the Dark Web is a small part of the deep web. The Deep web is the deepest portion of the ocean on the surface internet.
- The size of the deep web is 4-5 times larger than the visible internet and less than the Dark Web.
- The Deep web is the place on the internet wherein sites and pages are not accessible to the general public and neither indexed by the search engines. It is also called as ‘invisible’ or ‘hidden’ web by experts.
- It is accessed for legal purposes that require anonymity.
- These may include internal and confidential websites of companies, school or university’s intranet systems, private social media posts, paid content, medical records, etc.
Is it Safe to access the Dark Web?
The very short answer to this question could be ‘it depends.’ As discussed above, the Dark Web can be a dangerous place where almost all kinds of online illegal activities take place. So, visiting such a place can never be safe for anyone.
But even if you had to visit the site, use the Tor browser to access it. This will mask your identity and will protect you from unwanted data breach and privacy issues. If possible, use a VPN connection that will act as another layer of protection tunnel while accessing the Dark Web.
It’s the dark spot on the surface internet where various illicit activities, such as trading of fake IDs and passports, weapons, and drugs take place.
And also, most of the time, due to the encrypted network connection, you can never find out with whom you are interacting with. So, accessing the Dark Web is something that comes with a lot of risks.
Some Interesting facts about the Dark and Deep Web
- The Dark Web is the creation of US military researchers. It is developed for spies to exchange extremely confidential information privately.
- According to the PreciseSecurity.com survey 2019, North America is the leading region where the Dark Web is used most widely.
- The size of the Deep Web is almost more than 400 times than that of the visible or surface internet.
- The currency used on the Deep Web to trade businesses is called Bitcoin. By using this cryptocurrency, nobody can trace a person’s true identity.
Protection of privacy, the ability to express opinions anonymously, and the ability to operate all kinds of businesses are some of the top reasons that gave birth to the Deep and Dark web.
Learning or even accessing the Dark Web can be one of the fascinating experiences of your life. It might surprise you with rare content that you may not see or experience on the usual surface web.
However, visiting such websites in the Dark or Deep web can also be harmful to you. As it involves many illicit websites and businesses, you must make sure that you always keep and stay safe from them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Nikhil Sharma
Nikhil Sharma (author) from India on May 10, 2020:
The things you shared in the comments are exactly the reason I wanted to write this article, Mr. Vikram. For me, it's really fascinating to know secretive things all over the world. And thank you for bringing such valuable information here on HP.
I'm sure many big government agencies and companies are hiding their confidential information on the dark web only. And talking about the hacker, I think the person you're talking about is now famous with his organization called 'Anonymous.'
Vikram Brahma from Assam, India on May 10, 2020:
Hey nice article Nikhil. Dark web must contain very sensitive data. I also think hackers might be very good at excessing dark web. It has been said NASA is hiding many secretive missions done. But I also believe each and every big country have their own dark web. Also, there are reports that there is one particular hacker who never have been identified by security forces.
Nikhil Sharma (author) from India on April 29, 2020:
Hello Prateek brother. Thank you for always encouraging my writings through your valuable feedback and comments.
It's also good to know you're already aware of this dark part of the internet through a movie. Although I haven't watched any movie on the Dark Web, I'd definitely like to watch a movie or documentary on the same.
Once again, thank you for calling the article 'a masterpiece.' It is always motivating to know that your readers are getting some valuable information in one or another way.
Nikhil Sharma (author) from India on April 29, 2020:
I feel happy to know that I was able to give you some unique information on the Dark Web, Cijini mam. Yes, I'm not dealing with the Dark Web, I just wanted to educate and spread awareness about the same. Thank you so much mam for sharing your thoughts.
Halemane Muralikrishna from South India on April 28, 2020:
This was a very informative article for me. It helped me to know more about the Dark Web. It was nice to know more about the other side of the technology and it was complex and not much essential for the common people. However the intelligence as well as the underworld are equally active with learners and technology stakeholders. It was a nice effort to share your knowledge, Mr Nikhil.
Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on April 27, 2020:
Hi Nikhil brother, your article remind me of a movie where the same concept applied. there was also a person who use dark web to capture the sensitive information of citizens and use them in an adverse manner which ultimately result in monetory loss to the individual. This is really well written document which explains such a difficult concept in very easy and readable language. You have written a masterpiece this time. I recommended everyone to read this once in order to understand the the basics of dark web and it's influence in our life.
Cijini karan on April 27, 2020:
This was a great information for me....never known about such things before...and you please don't research too much about dark web..