Understanding: Basics of the Internet
The internet is comprised of three parts: Surface Web, Deep Web, and the Dark Web. First let’s explore the daily driver, our surface web!
Surface Web is the smallest part of the internet. You can access it with a regular browser and search engines. It is easily accessible by the general public and does not require any special configuration. You might be familiar with Facebook, Wikipedia, any basic e-commerce sites and YouTube.
Let’s get this out of the way,
Many confuse search engines and browsers.
a browser (infrastructure) is a piece of software that retrieves and displays web pages; a search engine (service) a website that helps people find web pages from other websites.
The Deep Web is a portion of the internet not normally searchable by regular search engines. Most could be password protected.
You might also need log-in to a specific IP address or URL to access the content on the site. Some sites on the deep web do not use standard top-level domains (TLD) such as; .gov, .com, .net, ect., other sites might explicitly block search engines from identifying them.
FUN FACT: The dark web was mainly used by government, and big businesses. However technology, like Tor and I2P, has allowed us better access to it. The early version of Tor was created to mask spy communications. It has since been remodeled & made public. Think of Tor as a regular browser that passes your traffic through random nodes before reaching its destination. Therefore it cannot be traced or exposed giving you anonymity.
IS THE DEEP WEB BAD? Doesn’t it have a bad reputation?
Yeah, however you can find legitimate content & activities. Such as information from the intellectual dark web (IDW) not available to the public or information that is been censored. Up-to- date studies and World Health Organization (WHO) planning summaries. You can create search queries through SearX. Dive into real news and journalism through ProPublica. As a writer or an information specialist they can share data to the public privately while protecting their identity. ProPublica is know for this. Along with great music lists and profiles and super dupe podcasts. Digital radio stations like Deep Web Radio. Watch T.V. through Virginia Tech‘s tunnel system. For malware reasons I am only linking one 🙂
In the last part of the 90’s decade a project created, by the United States Naval Research Laboratories (NRL), a network called onion. Onion, is a network browser that gives you access to a network within the deep webs network called: ” .onion”. Remember the expression,
Peeling back the onion-– metaphor for what takes place during the process of self-discovery. When discovered in this way, we are able to take the necessary time to allow the layers to slowly peel back in order to allow for the hidden parts to emerge.
Caution: Since the internet is open to everyone, there’s no privacy!
“The internet hates authority”
– SETH MAXON, Slate.com
Last, but not least, the Dark web.
The Dark Web Is a subset of the deep web, inaccessible generally. It relies on a encrypted peer-to-peer network connection (P2P). Meaning it requires a special set of tools and software. Tor and I2P are also two commonly used tools for accessing the dark web by providing anonymity. An easy way to provide content on the dark web is to receive a link from a person who already knows about dark web.
It is perfectly legal to access and browse deep web & dark web. You can reap several benefits from it.
Both, Tor and I2P browsers are legal to access and use.
Remember there are still illegal activities on the dark web and if not treated with caution you can become a victim of cybercrime, malware or a hacker’s snack. Be respectful and aware of what you are searching for. My suggestion, don’t go looking for trouble. It will find you searching for it, literally. Do your backend research. And Explore. The benefits outway the the harm.
Note: If you must seek the dark web, a subset of the deep web, talk to a dark web user.
Going Deeper: Explaining the Types of Threats Associated with the Dark Web. Scams, govt monitoring, law enforcement, malicious software & why a virtual private network (VPN) is SO IMPORTANT.
Hungry for an ear snack? Stay under the water a little longer with Bret Weinstein, yeah it’s the guy related to the guy you’re thinking of, and talk about the intelligence of the dark web & some not so beneficial advantages this side of the iceberg provides and the people who take advantage.