Deep Dark Web - The Internet Underworld

Deep Dark Web - The Internet Underworld

Ordinary web users like me will be shocked when they get to know more about Dark web. When I first heard about the existence of the Deep Web, I was really shocked. The size of Dark web is hundreds of times larger than the current web. As per reports, 96 percent of the internet is beyond search engines such as google and bing.

Before going to Dark web we shall go through the differences between Deep web and Dark web. We all know this is something related to internet.

The Deep Web: The deep web is a subset of the Internet that is not indexed by the major search engines like google, bing. This means instead of searching over search engines, you will have to visit those websites directly. For example, whatever I post in Facebook timeline won’t be available for public when they search any keyword related to it. The content is seen only to my friends, not the general public. Similarly, many searchable databases won't come up in Google result search engines even though anyone can access them.

The Dark Web: The dark web is the portion of the deep web that has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible through standard Web browsers.  The Dark Web is also not indexed like the deep web, but it also requires something special to be able to access it. This means to access those websites, we need specific software or authentication.  Originally designed to protect privacy, now it is often associated with illicit activities.

Ordinary search engines like Google or Bing use software called “crawlers” to find content on the web.  They are computer programs that browse the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner and are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine that will index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches. When you develop a website, files such as robots.txt and sitemap.xml can be used to control the website getting indexed by search engines. These files tell the search engines what they can and can’t look at on the site.

People use dark web for buying and selling drugs, weapons, spreading terrorism, human trafficking and other cyber crimes. It is just like an underworld over the internet. Not only selling drugs or other items, services such as “hitmen for hire” and arms dealers are available on the deep web. This was something shocking for me. This is one area where security or defence agencies should be more vigilant.

Today, the US government (via DARPA) is combating these kinds of activities by creating the ‘Memex’ search engine to get better visibility into the Deep Web. Unlike traditional search engines, Memex searches out specific pieces of information related to things such as human trafficking and slavery.  As per the reports, users' identities and IP addresses will still not be revealed through Memex results, the use of an automated process to analyse content could uncover patterns and relationships that could potentially be used by law enforcement agencies to track and trace dark web users.

As an Information Security professional, it is vital that we should block communication from your network to these networks. Illegal contents, wares, etc are extremely common in these websites and allowing users of your network to access that can put them and the organization at great risk. 

It is critical that organizations understand that content on these networks can be illegal to view or open even by accident. This has to be included in the Information Security Awareness campaigns so that the employees will be more aware of the after effects of browsing to those. At the same time, it is important for these organizations to have a look at these websites to make sure that there won’t be any content pertaining to them being shared such as potential attacks, leaked data, or stolen accounts being sold to allow direct access into their network. For that efficient Penetration Testing team has to be in place.

In general, using Deep Web is not illegal. Many services and websites that appear there will break the law, and they are or will be seized by security agencies. Again through this article also I reiterate the need of Global laws that can control the cyber world or else in future, things will become more challenging and hard to control.

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Thanks Aju Nair for sharing the article. Frankly for the first time, I came across words like 'The Deep Web' and 'The Dark Web' and their linkage with InfoSec. 

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