Intro to the Deep Web

As overwhelming as the internet can be, it’s likely you’ve only scratched the surface of what’s out there. The “surface Web” refers to the internet that most people use routinely. Whatever pops up in your search engine is part of the surface Web for example. But get this: a traditional search engine sees only .03 percent of the information that’s available.

torThe rest of that information resides in the deep Web. of the 555 million registered domains that exist on the internet, each has dozens or even hundreds or thousands of sub-pages that go uncatalogued. That means they fall into the category of deep Web.

People have no way of knowing, but it’s been estimated that the deep Web is 400 to 500 times bigger than the surface Web, and each undergo tremendous growth on a daily basis.

So what exactly makes up the deep Web? All sorts of things; site maintenance pages that require usernames and passwords to be accessed, for example. Unpublished or unlisted blog posts, pictures galleries, and file directories also apply. Old news stories only archived on a newspaper’s archive and not indexed by search engines are another example. Basically, if it’s not immediately accessible to search engines, it’s on the deep web.

Obviously, search engine programmers are trying to keep up with the deep web as best as they can to optimize the functionality of the engine. They have to manage to find valid information and present it without overwhelming those conducting the searches.

Not to be forgotten, there is also a dark Web nestled deep within the deep Web. The dark Web is the side of the internet which prefers to remain anonymous and generally would rather not attract attention. Once web activity becomes anonymous, a lot of it becomes extremely nefarious in nature; illegal goods like illicit drugs, child pornography, stolen credit card numbers, sexual acts, violent acts, weapons, exotic animals and a whole lot more can be capitalized upon in the dark Web.

In order to access this kind of information, users must first utilize software like The Onion Router and Tor to join the cloak of anonymity. Tor specifically uses encryption and a network of volunteer servers to mask which IP addresses are visiting which websites. Once you’re using Tor to browse the web, you gain access to underground websites that end in .onion and may or may not conform to government regulations.

tor2You’ve likely heard of these hidden website, or at least one in particular: the Silk Road. The Silk Road has been taken down multiple times and is currently out of commission (only time will tell if it rises yet again) but was once an online black market where services like those mentioned earlier could be bought and sold. There are still copycat sits like Black Market Reloaded that remain available for potential underground capitalists.

Ironically, Tor was actually created by researches funded by the U.S. government. It was originally created for political dissidents and whistleblowers to use for communication without censoring governments being able to know who did it. Now the U.S. government is embroiled in an ironic battle to find criminals using government-sponsored software to hide their identities.

That said, Tor really is used and appreciated by political dissidents. NSA surveillance news has made Tor an attractive service for privacy appreciators as well, plus there are much fewer advertisements.

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