There’s a lot of talk about the Deep Dark web. These words are used interchangeably, but they are very different.

Surface or Clear Web

This is what most of us are familiar with.

Anything searchable by Google (hence indexed or crawled by search engines) is part of the Surface web 🕸. We may think that this is all the content on the internet, but you’ll be surprised, it’s estimated that this accounts for only 4% of the content on the internet.

Deep Web

This is where 90% of the content lives. You’ve come across it all the time, but probably didn’t know that it was categorized as Deep Web. This is everything you CAN’T search with a popular search engine like google, (who uses Bing or Yahoo 🤷🏻‍♂️), DuckDuckGo, etc. Like, Uber ride fairs from point A to point B. You must do so by searching within their own databases, you have to search DEEPER. Things like eCommerce websites, property info, people search engines, traffic violation data, flight records (although google has Google Flights ✈️ that taps into airlines databases deeper using APIs). Anything that requires login access, or personal data like health records, government records, bank transactions, paid educational/training content, subscription sites, etc.

Dark Web

This is a very small subset of the Deep Web. They layman will never access this data or ever come across it accidentally. This is because it requires a special browser called TOR (The Onion Router). It creates a secure portal to this underground world. The Dark Web can be really dark! It has rudimentary sites, with mostly text. Not a lot of emphasis is given to design and aesthetics. But some of the content is scary. You can find sites that sell blackmarket (probably stollen) electronics 💻, illegal drugs 🌿, weapons 💣, child/human trafficking, fake passports 🎫 and drivers licenses for a lot of countries, real working credit card numbers of people, social security numbers in bulk for cents per person, illegal porn (child) 🔞 and if that wasn’t bad enough, you can hire a hitman 🔫 as well!

They all use cryptocurrency like BitCoins 💰 to keep their transactions secure and anonymous. A lot of them are scammers and don’t fulfill their end of the deal. The FBI, CIA, NSA 👮🏻 constantly monitors those sites, pose as buyers, in an attempt to put an end to their illegal activities. (Silk Road was a famous site that sold all the above, the creator thought he was doing people a favor by getting the dealers off the streets and online. He got 2 life sentences!). Even with all that risk, a lot of them are still very successful, unfortunately.

There are a lot of creepy forums there as well, about how to summon spirits 👻, forums for cannibals 🤢 on eating human parts, yes you read that right 😧. I’m saving you the trouble from actually reading it!

On a not so darker side, they do provide a platform for protestors of oppressive regimes to voice their opinion on forums without being tracked and targeted by their government. Leak info that the news media otherwise could not get (WikiLeaks). It’s also a platform for whistleblowers for the same reasons. You can also buy stuff from other people that is not illegal (sort of like craigslist).

It’s like fire 🔥, you can use it for your good or for harm. Unfortunately it’s well known for the bad. A devils playground 👺.

⛔️ I would advise the common internet user not to explore this avenue simply because you may become a target to the authorities if things every go south. You may also get tempted to dig deeper into evil and fall prey.

Dark Data

If you think this is all the data contained in the Dark Web, then no.

Dark Data is all the data that is not indexed by search engines nor used by any sites for any useful purpose for the public. All the un-utilized data in the Deep Web. (You would think they would come up with a better term, like Deep Data! But it doesn’t have a ring to it.)

Examples include: log files for websites that include data on who’s visited, geolocation, browser data that may help make business decisions. Analytical data on employees that could be used for statistical analysis. Everything has an IP nowadays, so other untapped data is: Camera surveillance data, car data, nest thermostats, meta data collected by Amazon Echo and Google Homes, appliances, smart electric meters, traffic cams, GPS, WiFi, the list goes on!

You could say it’s the little brother of Big Data that we don’t see much use for right now, but has great potential over time and will grow up to be Big Data (something we can use for benefit). That is why we’ve kept so much data on everything. Analysts say that Dark Data accounts for ~90% of Big Data!

The above can be summarized in the image below (you didn’t really have to read any of it 😚).

Web Types