What’s the difference between Deep Web, Dark Web and Darknet?

What is the Deep Web?

The Deep Web is a part of the Internet that for various reasons is not indexed by traditional search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. For example, because it is content that belongs to the private sphere of companies, state agencies or universities.

This is what differentiates it from Clearnet in which the services and social networks that are used daily are included and that therefore are accessible from any Internet browser. In addition, according to studies, it is assumed that the information stored on the Deep Web represents about 90% of the existing content on the Internet.

However, within the Deep Web there are also other concepts such as the Dark Web and the Darknet.

The Dark Web

The Dark Web refers to Internet sites that, in addition to not being indexed by conventional search engines, require specialized programs to access them. Furthermore, they belong to digital networks protected by complex communication systems in which anonymity predominates. That is why in the Dark Web there is a proliferation of illicit businesses that include arms trafficking, child abuse networks, drug trade, etc.

The Darknet

On the other hand, the Darknet is made up of all the anonymity networks that bring together the pages that belong to the Dark Web, the best known being the TOR network, derived from the TOR (The Onion Routing) project, an open source software designed to freely browse the Internet, since the technology on which it is developed makes tracking and, therefore, censorship impossible.

But there are also other less popular networks that are part of the Dark Internet such as Freenet, I2P, etc.

How to access the Darknet with TOR

Fortunately, not all content on the TOR network is illegal, as its purpose is not focused on this aspect. Rather, it favors free browsing in countries where there is strong censorship of Internet content. For this, it has its own browser of the same name: the TOR browser.

This browser allows you to connect to the TOR network and to all the sites protected by this anonymity network, which are characterized by having the ONION extension instead of the known .COM or .NET, among others. In addition, it has a specialized search engine on ONION sites such as DuckDuckGo.

Its download and installation is very simple. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to the official page of the Tor Project and click the Download Tor Browser button.
  2. Next, click on the version of the operating system installed on your computer (or mobile device).
  3. Run the setup file and open the program.
  4. Once this is done, all you have to do is configure an adequate level of security for browsing rogue sites. To do this, click on the Menu button located at the top right and select Settings.
  5. Then, click on Privacy & Security and scroll down to the Security section.
  6. Under Security Level, check the Safer box and close the tab.
  7. Finally, set the ONION version of the DuckDuckGo search engine as the default search engine. Go to Menu > Settings and click Search.
  8. Under Default Search Engine, select DuckDuckGoOnion and close the tab.
Setting DuckDuckGoOnion browser as default in Tor browser

To start browsing Dark Web sites you can access the Hidden Wiki service, a directory of links to pages accessible from the TOR network.

Final Recommendations

Given that in some countries it may be penalized to enter pages with harmful or illegal information, we recommend that you be very careful when using sites that belong to the Dark Internet. We also recommend that you avoid downloading files from dubious sites because they could contain risky programs for your PC or mobile device.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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