Friday, 12 February 2016

Deep Web: The hidden truth of Internet that lies beyond Google

What is deep web?

Deep Web is that portion of World Wide Web content that is not indexed by standard search engines.(like Google, Yahoo etc.) The so-called Surface Web, which all of us use routinely, consists of data that search engines can find and then offer up in response to your queries. But in the same way that only the tip of an iceberg is visible to observers, a traditional search engine sees only a small amount of the information that's available -- a measly 0.03 percent.

As for the rest of it? Well, a lot of it is buried in what's called the Deep Web.

No one really knows how big the Deep Web really is, but its hundreds (or perhaps even thousands) of times bigger that the surface Web. This data isn't necessarily hidden on purpose. It's just hard for current search engine technology to find and make sense of it.

There's a flip side of the deep Web that's a lot murkier -- and, sometimes, darker -- which is why it's also known as the dark Web. In the dark Web, users really do intentionally bury data. Often, these parts of the Web are accessible only if you use special browser software that helps to peel away the onion-like layers of the dark Web. This software maintains the privacy of both the source and the destination of data and the people who access it. For political dissidents and criminals alike, this kind of anonymity shows the immense power of the dark Web, enabling transfers of information, goods and services, legally or illegally, to the chagrin of the powers-that-be all over the world.

The shadow land

The Deep Web may be a place of untapped potential, but with a bit of skill and some luck, you can illuminate a lot of valuable information that many people worked to archive. On the Dark Web, where people purposely hide information, they'd prefer it if you left the lights off.

The Dark Web is a bit like the Web's id. It's private. It's anonymous. It's powerful. It unleashes human nature in all its forms, both good and bad.

The bad stuff, as always, gets most of the headlines. You can find illegal goods and activities of all kinds through the dark Web. That includes illicit drugs, child pornography, stolen credit card numbers, human trafficking, weapons, exotic animals, copyrighted media and anything else you can think of. Theoretically, you could even, say, hire a hit man to kill someone you don't like.

But you won't find this information with a Google search. These kinds of Web sites require you to use special software, such as The Onion Router, more commonly known as Tor. It does this in part by routing connections through servers around the world, making them much harder to track.

Tor also lets people access so-called hidden services -- underground Web sites for which the dark Web is notorious. Instead of seeing domains that end in .com or .org, these hidden sites end in .onion.

The most infamous of these onion sites was the now-defunct Silk Road, an online marketplace where users could buy drugs, guns and all sorts of other illegal items. The FBI eventually captured Ross Ulbricht, who operated Silk Road, but copycat sites like Black Market Reloaded are still readily available.

Oddly enough, Tor is the result of research done by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which created Tor for political dissidents and whistle-blowers, allowing them to communicate without fear of reprisal. Tor was so effective in providing anonymity for these groups that it didn't take long for the criminally-minded to start using it as well. That leaves U.S. law enforcement in the ironic position of attempting to track criminals who are using government-sponsored software to hide their trails. Tor, it would seem, is a double-edged sword.

Anonymity is part and parcel on the Dark Web, but you may wonder how any money-related transactions can happen when sellers and buyers can't identify each other. That's where Bitcoin comes in.

If you haven't heard of Bitcoin, it's basically an encrypted digital currency. Like regular cash, Bitcoin is good for transactions of all kinds, and notably, it also allows for anonymity; no one can trace a purchase, illegal or otherwise.

Bitcoin may be the currency of the future -- a decentralized and unregulated type of money free of the reins of any one government. But because Bitcoin isn't backed by any government, its value fluctuates, often wildly. It's anything but a safe place to store your life savings. But when paired properly with Tor, it's perhaps the closest thing to a foolproof way to buy and sell on the Web.

Article by Rishibha Tuteja
Last minute Blogger, fangirl by profession. A Bibliophile by heart, Tech–Enthusiast by choice.
She breathes dreams like air and can be reached at
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