Inside the dark world of deep web

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Only 4 percent of the information available online can be accessed by users beyond which lies the “deep web”

In the late 1960s, the first workable prototype of the internet was launched and since then it has become an all-pervasive force in everyone’s life. The medium has grown phenomenally with statistics showing that there are above three billion internet users worldwide. What is surprising is that in a world that has so many layers, an average user can access only 4 percent of the information available. Beyond the “visible web” or “surface web” which includes the search engines and social media lies the world of “deep web” or “dark web”, the mysteries of which can leave anyone befuddled.

It is interesting to note that more than 90 percent of the web is the “deep web” which cannot be found using regular search engines. Out of this, there are some web pages that have been intentionally hidden and are inaccessible through standard web browsers; these collectively are known as “Dark web” which is 6 percent of the entire web. One can access the surface web directly from the source. This direct approach tracks the information downloaded, from where and when it was accessed, and users’ exact location.

But the information on the deep web cannot be accessed directly. This is because data is not held on any single page, but rather in databases, which makes it difficult for search engines to index. Deep web can be accessed only by using a certain browser.

“Deep web provides a secure connection for those looking for anonymity. On it, one can
find online black markets selling illegal drugs and weapons”

One of the most commonly used browsers is TOR (The Onion Router), but other options such as l2p and free net offer an alternative solution. It provides a secure connection for those looking for anonymity. On dark web, one can find online black markets where it is possible to purchase illegal drugs and weapons. What attracts users to the dark web is its anonymity. Anything that one would want to purchase or consume anonymously is found right at the finger tips.

Whether accessing the dark web is dangerous or not depends on where you access it from, because in countries like China loading TOR itself will be considered a crime. Accessing dark web can result in the hacking of user’s device and it can be attacked by various viruses or Trojans which will result in the leakage of personal information.

Some of the most popular and damaging malwares have infected thousands of computers through the dark web. To avoid this, one should never download binary files from untrusted sources as they may contain dangerous malware. Whether accessing dark web is illegal or not depends on what activity a user performs there and what websites he open. If he uses dark web to buy or sell something that is against law that would be considered as illegal. Accessing dark web can damage user’s psychological state as there are many underground communities which can be a source of highly illegal materials, such as drugs and weapons. Coming into contact with these materials can have a negative impact on some people.

Other than the huge amount of information deep web contains, it is still an ambiguous part of the internet world. A lot of internet users are not aware about deep web and dark web and believe that internet is only what they see on their Google search results and this is all the web has to offer. Regarding this, government should take some measures in order to solve the problem of dark web and should organize awareness programs so that more and more people become mindful about this, and don’t fall into the vicious circle.

There have been many documentaries made on this topic in the past, but the one which mainly focuses on how deep the web is and how dark it is, is the Israeli documentary, “Down the Deep, Dark Web” which was premiered on July 16, 2016 at the Jerusalem Film Festival. It is directed by Duki Dror and Tzahi Schiff and narrated by Israeli-American filmmaker Yuval Orr. The documentary examines the argument that the dark web is not a safe place, but then suggests that it may be our only hope for freedom in the digital age.

This documentary gives an insight into security and privacy in the digital age. “Down the deep dark web”, in fact, is not a simple documentary, as it not only tells us about how deep web works, but it also opens up philosophical and political interpretations of how the deep web functions.

It gives viewers the chance to ask themselves important questions related to the compromises people need to accept in exchange for security and how individual freedoms are often compromised against the control of terrorists and criminals.

The following is the link of the documentary “Down the Deep, Dark Web”, curated by the The Atlantic.