Deep Web vs. Dark Web
Not all of the Internet is publicly accessible and indexed by Google and other search engines. The portions of the Web that fall outside of this area include the Deep and Dark Webs.
Often, the Deep and Dark Webs are conflated and thought to be the same thing. However, they represent different parts of the Internet with distinct purposes.
What is the Deep Web?
The part of the Internet that is indexed and searchable via Google and other search engines is referred to as the Surface Web. This is the part of the Internet that is intended to be publicly accessible. However, while it includes commonly-used webpages such as corporate websites and resources like Wikipedia, it makes up only a small portion of the overall Web.
The bulk of the Internet is referred to as the Deep Web. This includes the webpages that are not designed to be publicly accessible. For example, social media profiles, bank account pages, and any other webpage that requires a password or other authentication information to access is included in the Deep Web.
The Deep Web is accessible via traditional web browsers, and most people use it every day. In general, it’s intended to include information that should be kept private (i.e. access controls are in place), but it doesn’t provide anonymity to its users.
What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web is a section of the Internet that is only accessible using specialized browsers. These browsers use the Tor Network to provide anonymity and privacy to their users by making it harder for someone to identify the source of a web request.
The anonymity that the Dark Web provides makes it appealing to certain groups. Criminals are the most famous users of the Dark Web. Anonymous markets, forums, etc. enable criminals to buy and sell illegal goods (malware, drugs, weapons, stolen data, etc.) and have discussions without fear that their real identities will be exposed.
However, criminals are not the only users of the Dark Web. In addition to security researchers who use it to learn about the latest threats, the Dark Web is also useful to activists, journalists, and other individuals who require online anonymity for their own protection.
How Do They Differ?
The Deep and Dark Webs are similar in that they are not part of the Surface Web. However, they are designed to fulfill different purposes.
The Deep Web is intended to keep data private. The main difference between it and the Surface Web is that Deep Web pages require authentication.
The Dark Web is designed to provide anonymity. While many Dark Web pages are designed to be publicly accessible (to those with the right browser and knowledge of the URL), visitors remain anonymous, making it better suited to certain applications than the Surface Web.
The Dark and Deep Webs are both parts of the Internet designed to provide different features than the public, searchable Surface Web. However, they are designed to fulfill different purposes and have different intended audiences.