Surface, Deep, and Dark Webs – What’s the difference?
NOTE: The image used for the post is from an article on Wired, I used it as I think it cool: https://www.wired.com/2014/11/hacker-lexicon-whats-dark-web/
One of the things that I find interesting is the number of times I get asked about the “Dark Web,” in just normal conversation. Many times, it comes in conversation when you say you work on anything related to security and computers, or just chatting about hacking. I spend time chatting about it and hopefully answer the questions, but if not thought I would post about it. There are many posts out there about this but wanted to create a simple one that hopefully helps explains it.
Firstly, there are three levels to the internet, “Surface Web,” “Deep Web” and “Dark Web.” Each one is different and is in use for specific things. Here is one of the most common images you will find on the internet for the levels of the internet:
There are more levels than three; there are five. These five are: “Clearnet,” “Surface Web,” “Bergie Web,” “Deep Web,” “Darknet,” “Private Web” and “Marianas Web.” Each level serves a very specific purpose, but more importantly once you want to access the “Deep Web” onwards, you need to use a Proxy service, “Darknet” requires TOR like services, “Private Web” you need a Closed Shell System, with “Marianas Web” apparently requiring “Polymetric Falcihgol Derivation” to get in. Now, some if this has always been up for debate as to what is real on the internet and if they are real. So, what does each level contain?
This the normal basic level of the internet, the primary entry point for most of us. It includes websites filled with data which is indexed by search engines. All the standard normal websites you access each day reside here. Interestingly this level does not contain that much information; it is contained deeper inside the internet.
The deep web contains most of the internet data. It is not a secret place and is accessible by knowing the URL to get too. Most of the information here is related to personal information such as medical and financial records. Most of these sites require access control as search engines do not index this information.
The Dark Web contains much of the content you should not be visiting. To access this part of the internet, you will need software such as TOR or I2P. This software connects you to an overlay network. This network masks your IP address behind layers of other IP addresses with no way to trace to you. Most of the websites here relate to Violence, Weapons, Illicit Social, Hacking, Illicit links, Illicit Pornography, Extremism, Illicit Finance, Illicit Drugs as well as Crypto Services.
This place based on the research, may or may not exist. However, based on the most common consensus this is the place where the most secure data is. The most common “Marianas Web” would be the military networks where the most secure data resides. If you are bored one day maybe read some of the conspiracy theories on this, it does make some fun reading. One of those rumors is that we can access the “Marianas Web” with the help of “Polymeric Falcighol Derivation,” which requires Quantum Computers. So, unless you have one you use, this is probably not available to anyone. No-one knows if this exists at all but sounds cool though.
All in all, you need to understand is that the “Dark Web” is not a place you wake up one day and say I am going there. It requires some thought process, understanding that most Internet Providers are looking for people using TOR like services which are the most common entry point. If you do want to access the “Dark Web,” then use one of the many tutorials out there that can guide you on getting set up to access and then where to start. A downside if the “Dark Web” is that it does not use normal websites addresses that we use each day, but they are normally something like this http://yuxv6qujajqvmypv.onion, notice the “.onion” extension, that requires access to the onion network through TOR or I2P. These addresses change frequently making it even harder to access the sites. Think twice before wandering into the unknown space that is known for many things that you may not want to know about.