MUCH IS UNKNOWN about the dark web and the deep web that even the terminology surrounding both gets confusing. Many people assume that the dark web and deep web are interchangeable terms, but they are not. Online, it is essential to remember there is the Internet, the deep web, and the dark web – AND there is a difference in all of them.
Let us dive into the deep and dark web and see exactly where the differences lie.
The Deep Web
The deep web gets its name because it is just below the surface – not dark, but deep. Think of the Internet as an ocean. The surface is at the top, which is easier to see or access; the deep web is the deeper part beneath the surface; the dark web is at the bottom.
The deep web is a subset of the Internet (or surface web) that is non-indexed by the major search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The deep web is less scary than it sounds. Basically, it makes up most of the Internet because it is all the content you cannot find on search engines, such as a corporation’s private database or a company’s internal website pages.
Think of it like this. If you were to search for a textbook at your local community college, Google would not return a meaningful result because the data is located on the college’s server. To find it, you would need to use the search bar on the college’s website. This would be an accessible, non-indexed link. Just about every search you perform “internally” on a website, you are accessing deep web content. These are referred to as gated sites.
The Dark Web
The dark web comprises the bottom of the ocean. The dark web is technically a subset of the deep web because it too is not publicly accessible and is non-indexed. The dark web is used by those who prefer total anonymity and want to control access for privacy purposes or illegal activities. With certain precautions, actions on the dark web cannot be tracked or traced.
The only way to access the dark web is through special browsers. For some particularly secretive sites on the dark web, website owners might restrict the IP addresses that are allowed to access the site.
The dark web is where you can find the illegal activity that is the source of so many rumors. You can purchase and access items such as firearms, drugs, credit card numbers, social security numbers, passport information, human trafficking, etc.
While most dark websites are illegal, some serve a valuable purpose in helping people communicate in hostile regions where free speech and internet access are criminalized. Further, security experts use the dark web for situational awareness and threat analysis to stay abreast of what is happening underground.
How to Protect Yourself from Dark Web Threats
The proactive step you can take to prevent your company’s information from getting onto the dark web is to heighten your cybersecurity efforts.
Taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity instead of a reactive stance allows you to save yourself the headache of dealing with cyber-attacks and changing company information after you find that it is on the dark web.
Consider a Managed Service Provider if you want a layered cybersecurity approach that protects you from the more sinister layers of the Internet. Managed Service Providers install various hardware and software types to prevent hackers from stealing company information through server break-ins or phishing attempts.