Deep Web Vs Dark Web: What’s the Difference?

  • By Emmett
  • Published: Jun 28, 2022
  • Last Updated: Jul 01, 2022

Dark Web vs Deep Web

The internet is like an iceberg; the part you see every day is merely a small section of a huge network of hidden pages and data. Underneath the top Google results and reputable websites is a seedy underbelly of hidden IP addresses and criminal activity. In addition to this darker side of the internet, there is a larger section that simply hasn’t been indexed. This, among other major differences, is how we separate the deep web and the dark web.

Dark Web Vs Deep Web

While the two terms seem interchangeable, the dark web and deep web are two vastly different sections of the internet. The deep web is actually larger than the online area you commonly interact with, known as the “surface web”. All unindexed web pages are part of the deep web, and you’ll usually need specialized software or specific access to find these pages. For a page to be defined as unindexed, that usually means that Google and other search engines don’t include them in their results. This can be due to them not being officially published online or because they don’t meet the criteria that web crawlers use for their indexing process.

What is the Dark Web and How To Know If Your Information Has Been Leaked

The dark web, on the other hand, is actually part of the deep web. The reason for its separate distinction is due to the type of unindexed pages present in this section of the online world. As the nefarious name implies, the dark web is a hotbed for illegal and illicit activity. Using the dark web requires specialty programs like Tor, and can be incredibly risky. If you’ve used the dark web or know anyone near you who may have, you’ll want to run an identity threat scan. This can show you whether your data has been leaked and help you identify what your information may be used for. Scammers often sell user data on the dark web, helping criminals access private accounts and commit identity theft. 

Can the Dark Web be Used Safely?

Differences between dark web vs deep web

While often used by cybercriminals, the dark web does have a number of legitimate uses. Trade organizations and large companies will utilize the dark web, as will some educational establishments. This usually involves the establishment of an intranet system, which requires a passcode and username to utilize. Organizations like using these systems because they let them restrict outside access, helping keep business information or student data safe. 

If you plan to use the dark web, there are a few ways you can stay safe:

  • Don’t Visit Illegal Websites: If you have to use parts of the dark web, make sure to avoid areas where illegal activities are taking place. If you find a site that offers illicit narcotics or other outlawed items, leave it immediately. Even clicking on parts of these sites can cause you to download malicious programs, and any information you put into these pages will be at a high risk of being leaked. Not only that, but you are still likely to be caught. While it is harder to track activity on the dark web, government agencies still have ways to trace users. 
  • Don’t Download Anything You Don’t Trust: While there may be some file transferring if using an intranet system, you should never download a file from a source you don’t trust. This means any unrecognized website, message, or email. If you do need to get a program from a dark website or download a file, make sure you can verify the application completely. Scan the file before downloading if possible, or send a message to the file provider to ensure they’re who they say they are. While it may seem overcautious, it's always better to prevent a hack beforehand than deal with the aftermath. 
  • Don’t Give Out Your Personal Information: Just like with any other part of the internet, you’ll want to safeguard your private data closely. Never give out your legal name, address, phone number, email, or personal account details to anyone on the dark web. Scammers will impersonate company representatives, teachers, and loved ones in an attempt to steal your information. Make sure anyone you contact online is a person you know, and try to keep communications on more trustworthy channels.
  • Make Sure Your Antivirus is Updated: Having a strong anti-virus program protecting your computer can make dark web access a bit safer. While you’ll still need to be careful while utilizing this section of the internet, an updated antivirus can catch certain malware before it gets established within your network. 

Deep Web vs Dark Web: The Hidden Part of the Internet

It's estimated that nearly 90% of the total internet is made up of deep websites, with the dark web occupying a small corner of that massive percentage. There are a number of legitimate reasons to visit the deep and dark web, but no matter why you’re there, make sure to be safe. Keep your personal information close, and make sure to only interact with individuals you trust. If you don’t, you may find yourself the victim of an online scam or cyberttack.

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