It’s easy to be frightened or intimidated by the dark web – it’s elusive, secret and contains a lot of
shady stuff, but what is the dark web, does it pose a threat to your business, and is it the same as
the deep web?
In this article, we’ll be running through all of the above, as well as everything you need to know
about the dark web in order to keep yourself, your people and your business safe.
The internet is far, far more expansive than many people realise, and much of it remains totally
inaccessible without certain measures.
Many people use the dark web in order to remain absolutely anonymous. It’s almost entirely hidden,
making it a haven for criminal activity, but it’s also used by people such as journalists, or by those
living in countries where communications are monitored or limited.In order to properly understand the dark web, try to envision an iceberg.
– At the tip of the iceberg is the surface web, this is where you are right now.
– Below the surface sits the deep web, which represents private intranets and databases
(including social media).
– Deeper still is the dark web, which can only be accessed with dedicated software.
The surface web makes up for roughly 5% of the internet, the deep web forms about 90%, and the
dark web is estimated to comprise the remaining 5% of the internet (although the actual size of the
dark web is incredibly difficult to know).
What’s the difference between the surface web, deep web and dark web?
The surface web (or the open web) is everything that’s accessible without a password, app or
This includes search engines such as Google, and many business websites (although lots of business
websites also make use of the deep web, but we’ll talk about that in a moment).
All of these sites are indexed, which means that search engines can ‘index’ the web by visible links.
Google can crawl the surface web, and this is what you browse when looking for something on
The deep web includes everything below the surface (the dark web is technically included in the
deep web, but we’ll get to that in a moment).
Much of the deep web is perfectly legal and safe, but simply isn’t indexed, so cannot be accessed via
search engines. In fact, you likely use the deep web every day – if you use passwords, or access web pages via personal links rather than browsing through a website, then you may well be familiar with
the deep web. It also covers:
– Databases – any file collections that aren’t connected to other areas of the web. These can
be public or private.
– Intranets – Used for internal communications by enterprises, governments, schools and
Is the deep web dangerous?
Just because we’ve mentioned that the deep web is regularly used by most people, doesn’t mean
that it’s entirely safe.
Users of the deep web still need to remain vigilant so that they don’t fall victim to scams or viruses.
Many users of the deep web use it for piracy and other hazardous content. This doesn’t require any
special tools to access like the dark web, but can pose significant risk to users in the form of viruses
The dark web is the final, deepest part of the internet. Dark web sites are not indexed at all, and are
only accessible by using specialist web browsers.
It’s not easy to access, and most people will never have a need to visit it. The dark web has:
– No webpage indexing, meaning that they’ll never appear on search engines.
– A randomised network infrastructure, meaning that it’s almost impossible to predict its
– Full encryption, meaning that traditional browsers will never find a dark web site.
Is the dark web illegal?
The dark web, and the tools used to access it, are not inherently illegal, and are regularly used by
legal parties who need to remain anonymous, such as journalists wanting to protect their sources,
freedom fighters who are seeking regime change, or people wanting to access social media sites,
such as Facebook, in countries where they’re banned.
However, many people use the dark web in order to hide illegal activity, or to purchase illegal things.
What do people use the dark web for?
What do people use the dark web for?
Very few people will ever interact with the dark web, and it’s often sought out for very specific
reasons, such as:
– Buying drugs or weapons
– Human trafficking
– Buying fake currency
– Hacker services
– Buying login details
– Communicating with people who live under oppressive regimes
– Remaining anonymous, especially by people who feel they’re in danger
– Whistleblowing or sharing other sensitive information
Does the dark web pose a threat to your business?
The dark web itself isn’t necessarily a threat to your business. However, actions taken by criminals
on the dark web pose a significant threat to your business, and should be mitigated against.
If you suffer from a data breach, your data may well be sold on the dark web, which presents a
significant risk to your capital.
How to protect your business from the threat of the dark web
There are many cyber security measures that you should be taking in order to protect your
organisation from the dangers of the dark web:
– Don’t allow your employees to browse the dark web on company devices.
– Ensure two-factor authentication is used at all times.
– Generate strong passwords using a password manager.
– Get Cyber Essentials certified.
– Trust cyber security experts to monitor your organisation’s network.
Want to find out if any of your company passwords/domains have been compromised and are on
the dark web? Click here to get your free dark web report.
If you’re concerned about the dark web, or are worried about cyber-attacks, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our cyber security specialists here at Nebula.