Layers Of Web Explained: Surface Web, Deep Web and Dark Web

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Web is astronomically large and it expands like our universe expands. Web or internet is not just what we know on the surface, there is more to it. Web is interconnected system of webpage accessible over the internet. Web is broadly divided into 3 layers

  • Surface Web
  • Deep Web
  • Dark Web

Dark web accounts for a small portion of the deep web which is part of the internet that is not indexable or indexed by the search engines like google, yahoo and bing.

Let’s understand different layers of web

Surface Web

Surface web is the part of the world wide web that is freely and publicly accessible and it is indexed by search engines like google, bing and yahoo. Such that, we can search the surface web with search engines to find any information based on search keyword.

Search engines index the surface web that is they crawl the internet, site by site and parse the web pages and store the information on web pages. When you search on search engine, they runt he query on indexed data and show the results

On the other hand, both deep web and dark web are not indexed by search engine and cannot be search. For these reasons, surface web is also referred as clearnet or clear web

Deep Web

Deep web is also referred as hidden web or invisible web which is not indexed by search engines. It includes online banking, private website, website that require authentication to access the content and organisation’s knowledge base etc.

Some examples of deep web are

  • Medical Records
  • Lega Documentas
  • Scientific reports
  • Organisation’s R&D Information
  • Trade Secrets
  • Subscription Info
  • Website with paywalls
  • Govt Intel
  • Military Information
  • Classified state secrets

Deep web is accessed by authorised personals only who are authenticated by their role. To access unclassified information requires the subscription or something like that. Example: Netflix requires subscription to access the content

Content on the deep web is hidden either by obscurity or authentication.

Obscurity: Preventing search engines from indexing website given the robots.txt file on website. If search engines want still can index the pages not honouring robots.txt file

Authentication: Requires credentials to get access to the content. Such that search engines can’t index anything that is behind authentication doors

Dark Web

Darknet is a subsection of the dark web which umberella term to describe parts of internet that is not open to the public. To access darknet we need special software like Tor browser

The dark web, also known as darknet, to access require a specific configuration or authorisation to access and it is an encrypted decentralised portion of the internet that is not indexed by any search engine.

Some known darknets are

  1. Freenet
  2. AnoNet
  3. GnuNet
  4. Decentralised Network A2
  5. Riffle
  6. OneSwarm
  7. RetroShare
  8. Sydine
  9. I2P (Invisible Internet Project)
  10. Zeronet
  11. Tribler
  12. Tor (The Onion Router)
  13. OnionCat

Dark web is accessible through darknets where darknets routes the user to number of intermediate servers to augment the anonymity where transmitted information can only be decrypted by subsequent node eventually leading to exit node. Tor changes node path every time and node path can be configured

How to access the dark web ?

It is easier than you can images, all you need is Tor browser. Brave browser also comes with capability to connect Tor network. But, you need a URL to access the website on dark web since dark web is not indexed like surface web, you don’t have luxury of search it’s content using standard search engines like google

What is on Dark web ?

Since it is not possible to get geolocation, IP or the server information of the website hosted. darknet becomes the playground for cybercriminals for illegal activities yet dark web is also put into better use by some people like journalists, whistleblowers and anti-censorship advocates . When you can find on dark web include but not limited to

  • Data Leaks and Data breaches information
  • Stolen information and personally identifiable information (PPI)
  • Credit card numbers
  • Paypal, Netflix and other credentials that give access to deep web
  • Drugs
  • Hacking Services
  • Hitman Services
  • Drug and E-commerce sites (Ex: silkroad)
  • Disturbing content
  • Pirated Content

With out knowledge, it is not recommended to wonder around on dark web. You might get into trouble where sites on dark web can

  • Install malware
  • Some site social engineer you to steal you information
  • Sites steal crypto currencies
  • Phishing
  • Sites may try to install malware or RAT tools

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