I’ll be talking about the Deep Web in this article. I’ll talk about it in general terms and as an introduction. I’ll talk about its good and its bad sides.
To understand what all this is about, we have to look at the Internet as an ocean. The ocean is a big mass of water and has billions of fishes that can be caught. We use fishing nets to catch these, and that’s what search engines basically are (Google, Yahoo!, Baidu, AOL, Bing…). A web search engine is a software system that searches for information on the World Wide Web (our big ocean).
When we go fishing, we do catch many fishes, but there are billions of other fishes left free that don’t get caught.
In this metaphor, the fishes in our net are the Surface Web. The other fishes left uncaught are the Deep Web.
Internet searches are searching only 0.03% of the total web pages available for average users.
In other words, the Surface Web is that portion of the World Wide Web that is indexable by conventional search engines. The part of the Web that is not reachable this way is called the Deep Web (aka Deepnet, Invisible Web, or Hidden Web, call it as you will).
This means most of the Web’s information is buried far down on dynamically generated sites, and standard search engines do not find it. Traditional search engines cannot see content in the deep Web. Hence complete anonymity online. Anyone can chat, read and set up a website and/or share files with almost complete anonymity.
We often overlook what anonymity is capable of. Anonymity down here means it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. It can be understood as a very high level of security. It is a big deal and I’ll come back to this point further ahead.
According to researcher Marcus P. Zillman of DeepWebResearch.info, as of January 2006, the Deep Web contained somewhere near of 900 billion pages of information and keeps growing. In contrast, Google, the largest search engine, had indexed just 25 billion pages.
BrightPlanet noted that the deep Web was growing much more quickly than the surface Web and that the quality of the content within it was significantly higher than the vast majority of surface Web content. Although some of the content is not open to the general public, BrightPlanet estimates that 95% of the deep Web can be accessed through specialized search.
To access the Deep Web, it’s recommended—and in most cases required—that one use Tor (not the only way to get down here). One of the most popular and used softwares for browsing the Deep Web (The Onion Router). You can download it from this link. It’s an onion due to its layers. TOR is also the best browser to handle Deep Web URLs, which normally look like a long string of letters and numbers followed by the suffix “.onion.”
“Tor: Join the Network!” video now on YouTube: https://t.co/DgyXbgxY
— torproject (@torproject) 15 Mars 2012
Anonymity! Regarding it again. Tor prevents people from learning your location or browsing habits. It’s for web browsers, instant messaging clients, and it’s free. The NSA characterized Tor as “the King of high secure, low latency Internet anonymity” with “no contenders for the throne in waiting”.
The good part.
Who uses Tor? People like you and your family use Tor to protect themselves, their children, and their dignity while using the Internet. Companies use Tor to research competition, keep business strategies confidential, and facilitate internal accountability. Activists use Tor to anonymously report abuses from danger zones. Whistleblowers use Tor to safely report on corruption. Journalists and the media use Tor to protect their research and sources online. Militaries and law enforcement use Tor to protect their communications, investigations, and intelligence gathering online.
The bad part.
The Deep Web was intended to protect the personal privacy of users as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential business by keeping their internet activities from being monitored.
It still does so effectively. But as everything else, there is a good side and a bad side for it. The bad side is the side that makes the most noise, like everything else, which is why the Deep Web has such bad reputation or seen as dangerous. It’s only bad and dangerous if you want it to be. Otherwise it is not.
Such bad side is people with bad intentions who have taken advantage of this magnificent piece of cyber-art and its anonymity and have corrupted it sharing viruses, child pornography (aka hardcandy), bounty hunters, assesination networks, drug, weapon and human trades and in few words, most of the black market among many other crimes that occur down there. All that is within anybody’s reach. You just have to know how to get there. which, for obvious reasons, I will not let you know.
How can there even be full anonymous trade via internet? The network can be anonymous, but people still need a bank account, an address, phone number.. they’d lose anonymity at some point, right?
Well.. not for this. The currency of this particular frontier is the Bitcoin, itself a highly anonymous currency — a Bitcoin account has no name or personal information attached to it. Shoppers on the Bitcoin-based marketplace could also find hacking services, fake documents, pirated media, and much, much more.
You can instantly see a Bitcoin’s current value over at Preev.com.
Bitcoin represents a way to transfer money completely anonymously and at no cost. And since it’s an arbitrary currency with no nationality attached to it, you’re free to exchange it with anyone in the world.
Now that you know what the Deep Web is: if you’re willing to surf it be smart and avoid trouble. It can either be a great tool or a sin factory.