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Deep Web and Dark Web: the differences

Are there any differences between the Deep Web and the Dark Web? The answer is yes: here are what these two hidden aspects of the internet are and what they are.

Deep Web and Dark Web recall, right from the name, the spy and science fiction films in which computer wizards infiltrate networks, access secret information, meet with others like them. Reality isn’t as glamorous as Hollywood presents it, but the Internet is actually full of gray areas, and even deliberately hidden places .

Before diving headlong into the depths of the Net, it is important to understand a few differences. Deep Web and Dark Web are by no means the same and the way to get there is also different. Here are the differences explained.

Deep Web and Dark Web: the differences between the two “hidden worlds”

Unfortunately, in common use, and in particular in Italy, Deep Web and Dark Web are considered practically synonymous, at least in common use. There are actually fundamental differences .

How does the Deep Web work? Like the normal web, but you can’t see it

In practice, all the sites that we can normally see with the usual browser, but which are not listed in search engines , are part of the Deep Web. These include both public but not indexed pages, and pages protected by passwords or other access blocks, for example some discussion groups or some sites.

Technically, and wanting to stress the concept a little, the pages of our online bank account are also part of the Deep Web, since they are only visible to us, as well as the forums that are still part of it, for example. on some Internet sites.
In the common saying, however, usually the term Deep Web refers above all to those sites that are deliberately kept hidden, because they are located at the limit of legality (or completely illegal in some cases).
In contrast to this term, the “normal” web is called the Surface Web .

To simplify a bit, the sites that are part of the Surface Web are those that we can normally reach through search engines, while the deep websites are those that we need to have the address of, or that are “behind” an access. password protected.

In some cases, Surface Web and Deep Web are linked: there are several sites that are normally reached by search engines, but which require registration in order to be consulted. From this point of view, and again to stress the concept a little, a good part of Facebook is also part of the Deep Web : we can only see it if we are registered on the platform.

How does the Dark Web work? Completely anonymous and invisible, it can be reached with specific tools

Here things get more complex, even from a technical point of view. In short, when our computer connects to the Internet, it receives an address (called an IP address) which makes it recognizable and which is used to correctly receive data and information. Even if this number changes every time our “modem” or router connects to the Internet, the providers still have the possibility to trace who was connected through this number at a precise moment.

The first characteristic of the Dark Web is that, thanks to some technical tools, this number is masked by a long series of intermediate steps, making it impossible to trace back to the computer or device (Note: in reality the mechanism is more complex and involves numerous technical passages, here we report an explanation of the principle behind the mechanism).

The second feature of the Dark Web is that the sites present in it are reachable only with proprietary addresses , which can only be reached by specific programs only if we are connected to the anonymous network created by one of the aforementioned tools. Today the most widespread anonymous network is the one called Tor , developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to combat state censorship in countries that block or restrict Internet access.

Precisely because it guarantees a much higher level of anonymity than normal, the Dark Web is the “place” of the network where the greatest percentage of illegal activities are found, and where the phenomenon of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin , anonymous, untraceable digital money and uncontrollable, it has grown.

How to access the Deep Web?

First of all, we reiterate the above: to access the Deep Web you just need to have the addresses and type them or reach them through a link . Then, some sites may need specific passwords to enter, but these are usually found along with directions to reach the site. In short, for this part of the Deep Web, you have to spend time looking for sites and pages to explore.

How to enter the Deep Web (which is actually the Dark Web)

Things change (a lot) when it comes to the Dark Web. In that case, the first thing to do is get a suitable program . In this case there are no very simple solutions, but the most effective is Tor Browser, which we can download from the official website of the project .

Once Tor Browser is installed, we need to launch it from the Desktop or Programs.

Let’s start it and wait for the system to tell us that the link is working.

Now we can use it both as an anonymous browser for the S urface web , and as a tool to access the Deep Web, using dedicated search engines, which we will see below.

How to access the “Deep Web” from a smartphone

Even our mobile devices have different tools available to access the Deep Web, even if we probably have to get used to a little more inconvenience: these “clandestine” sites are unlikely to follow marketing logic, and may not be optimized for mobile devices .
In any case, here is a list of applications that we can use:

To access the Dark Web with Android

The choice here is basically between three main applications: Orfox , an anonymous browser based on Firefox, one of the most complete but which also requires the Orbot anonymity app to work properly, or Fire.onion which does everything by itself. Finally DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser , even if it is first of all a browser for those who are attentive to privacy, has the ability to search and reach sites with the .onion extension on the Dark Web

To access the Dark Web with iPhone

In this case the choice is mainly divided between two tools: Onion Browser and Tob , both quite similar in both appearance and functionality, are browsers that integrate the connection to the Tor network.

What to look for in the “Deep Web”?

Basically, the Dark Web, even if it is known above all as a starting point for computer and non-cybercrime, is also a place where free information circulates, particularly for those in areas of the world where the Web is censored, and many alternative subcultures.
In many ways, it is reminiscent of the Internet in the 1990s , when it had not yet become a phenomenon within everyone’s reach. Here are some search engines you can use to get started browsing the deep web.

We reiterate the distinction between Deep Web and Dark Web

Once again, however, let’s clarify: what is reached through the Tor network is the Dark Web . The ones below, even if in the common idiom they are identified as Deep Web search engines, are actually used to find sites on the Dark Web , the part of the Internet that is protected and inaccessible without the tools we have seen above.

Deep Web search engine, here are a few

As far as the Deep Web is concerned, there really aren’t any big possibilities. Precisely because it is a part of the free-to-air Web that somehow “doesn’t want” to be found. But as far as the Dark Web is concerned, there are already several search engines, which we can reach using the .onion addresses typical of the anonymous network.

  • Torch  xmh57jrzrnw6insl.onion; one of the first tor search engines, and also one of the most famous.
  • notEvil – hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion
  • Candle – gjobqjj7wyczbqie.onion
  • – msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion or (one of the very few engines to also have a “traditional” address)
  • ParaZite – kpynyvym6xqi7wz2.onion/links.html (not really a search engine, but a list of links)

Remember that the Tor browser and other tools for browsing the dark web are compatible with normal sites but not vice versa, so the addresses indicated do not work in a normal browser . To get there easily the simplest thing is to copy the .onion address, for example xmh57jrzrnw6insl.onion for Torch and paste it into the address bar of the Tor browser.

Technically, both the search engines for the dark web and all the other Onion sites can also be reached by typing the address into the browser . But the very structure of the addresses, which look like random letters, does not make it particularly easy to rewrite the addresses. Good old copy and paste is your best bet.

What are the risks in the Dark Web?

Let’s make a comparison with real life: if you go to the slums, you know perfectly well that, alongside many interesting things, you increase the risk of being pickpocketed or robbed. Let’s approach the Dark Web with the same awareness, knowing that the risks are higher than normal.
This does not mean that our computer will be infected after ten minutes , nor that our identity will be sold on the black market the next day. But simply that the chances of this happening if we are inattentive or superficial are higher than normal.

In short, if there is a place to avoid like the plague, “click here!” and above all to go only with an excellent, well-updated protection suite , this is the Dark Web. And of course, if you want to buy something, we must strictly use a cryptocurrency or at least a “disposable” credit card.