The three layers of the Internet
The Internet is primarily divided into three layers – the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. The surface web includes the content which can be easily found using conventional search engines such as Google, Bing and so on.
The deep web comprises data which is not indexed by the search engines. The deep web refers to almost 90% of the data on the Internet. Data such as passwords, webmail pages and so on are included in the deep web. The deep web is used for services such as online banking, government resources, legal documents, and so on. The deep web can be accessed through direct links to them.
The dark web is a subset of the deep web, including websites which require special tools or software programs to access them. The dark web is different from the deep web because it is accessible only through special programmes. The dark web is widely used for illegal activities such as drug trafficking, sex trafficking, child pornography, phishing and so on. While it has legitimate uses as well, it is mostly employed for criminal activities. The dark web is often confused with the darknet.
The dark web vs the darknet
Although the terms ‘darknet’ and ‘dark web’ are used interchangeably, they differ from each other. The darknet is an overlay network, that is, it is built on top of the Internet. The dark web is a part of the darknet. While the darknet refers to the network, dark web refers to the websites built on the darknet, which use the same logic as that of the darknet. The darknet ensures that the information on it cannot be accessed by the traditional search engines and browsers. It includes peer-to-peer networks such as Tor, I2P, and Freenet, which are used to access information on the dark web. Tor is the software mostly used to access the dark web. It is important that users be careful while accessing the dark web.