The Deep Web is larger than the Internet used by most people; it contains links that aren't readily available in search engines and must be accessed via links on forums and search engines on databases that have links to Deep Web content. You can't access the Deep Web with a normal browser -- its URLs are .onion links that require a browser like Tor to display. Some pages on the Deep Web may be useful for finding government or business information, but it can be difficult to filter the negative content on your way to the positive.
Searching the Deep Web gives you access to more pages than you can see when you use with a normal search engine. Most of the Web pages on the Internet aren't indexed by Bing, Google, Yahoo and other search providers; instead, they're designed to stay hidden from programs that grab links and display them in searches. If you know how to search the Deep Web correctly and stay away from the negative content, you have access to much more information and many more pages than you would in a traditional Web search.
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One problem visitors to the Deep Web, also known as the Dark Web, experience is negative content. Types of material that are filtered out of normal search engines are readily available; many of the pages on the Dark Web display illegal content related to drugs, violence, private information or pornography. While you can avoid the material, your chances of encountering it while learning to use the Dark Web are much higher than they are on the Internet indexed by search engines. Some material on the Dark Web is illegal to download, so never accept a file request without knowing for sure what will be saved on your computer. Sometimes clicking on a link you thought was clean will direct you to a site you didn't want to see -- click back and don't return to that link, if it happens.
To stay safe on the Deep Web, only click on links that open content you want to see. If the link isn't identified or doesn't go to a resource that you understand, don't open it. To avoid child porn, don't click on links or download files that include terms like "jailbait," "PD," "CP," "candy," "hard candy" and similar terms. Keeping to search engines that only access certain types of Deep Web content like InfoMine, Complete Planet and TechXtra (links in Resources) also helps dramatically. You can search for scholarly articles and other information on these sites without accessing the illegal content on the Deep Web. Less pages are available through scholarly Deep Web search engines, but they will help you find information more quickly than you would browsing Deep Web forums for scientific, business or other scholarly resources.
Some of the content on the Deep Web isn't intended to be hidden; it's just placed behind cyber-walls that prevent you from accessing it without completing certain forms. When you do a normal Web search, you don't know it's available or on-topic for what you're researching because it doesn't appear in the results. When you perform the same search in the Deep Web, you may get access to the article, Web page or discussion that completes your research. If the information is behind a paywall or password protected, don't access it. Make a note of where the information is located and return to the site on a normal Web browser. Once you pay for the information or register for the site, you can access it legally. Accessing it without permission may break your local laws and will violate the terms of service for the site the content is hosted on. While violating terms of service isn't a crime, unauthorized access is in some cases.
The Deep Web doesn't work as smoothly as the regulated Internet. It's very slow and takes much longer to use both because of the network itself and because some of the information is self-hosted. It's much more difficult to navigate and takes some time to learn to use efficiently. Most sites on the Deep Web are safe, but run your antivirus protection whenever you access it anyway.
- TheNextWeb: Mail-Order Drugs, Hitmen and Child Porn -- A Journey Into the Dark Corners of the Deep Web
- Live Mint: Crawling the Deep Web
- Tech Deep Web: Using the Deep Web -- A How-To Guide for IT Professionals
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: Court: Violating Terms of Service Is Not a Crime, But Bypassing Technical Barriers Might Be
- Terms and Conditions: Terms and Conditions -- Should Ignoring Fine Print Be Illegal?
- The Independent: Exposed -- The Dark Side of the Internet Where You Can Buy Drugs, Sex and Indecent Images
- The Daily Dot: Apparent US Crackdown Cripples Dark Web's Pedophile's Communities
- ReadWrite: DeepDyve -- Indexing the Deep Web
- Nieman Journalism Lab: So, Then...If You Jump the New York Times' Paywall, Are You Stealing?
- The Mirror: Deep Web -- Drugs, Guns, Assassins, Jet Planes All For Sale on Vast, Anonymous Network
- The Guardian -- Technology: The Dark Side of the Internet
- Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: Drugs, Child Pornography and Hit Men -- 10 Minutes in the "Deep Web"
- Complete Planet