What is the dark web?

The dark web is one of the most unexplored parts of the Internet, and certainly, the most mysterious one. Quite possibly, you have at least heard of it on TV news or read in an article. Yet until now, the majority of us might still not even understand what the dark web even is? We thought it will be a great subject to focus on and provide useful insights that we hope will be shared forward.


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What is The Web?


The web (formally known as World Wide Web) is the sum of website pages stored in web servers and connected to digital devices (such as computers, laptops, mobiles or tablets) through the Internet. These websites contain text pages, digital images, videos, and more. Users can access the website’s content via search engines such as Google. The web is an immense network, separated into three parts: surface web, deep web and the dark web. The iceberg image is commonly used to illustrate those parts of the Internet.


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Surface web


When we think of using the web, in fact, what we access is the “Surface Web” also known as the “Visible Web”. The surface web is all the online content, indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing, accessible to the public. According to worldwidewebsize.com, in 2021, search engines have indexed at least 2.16 billion pages. Interestingly, these 2.16 billion pages make only 4% of all the information on the Internet.


The Deep web


The deep web is the part of the web that rests below the surface and is not accessible via standard search engines. The deep web accounts for approximately 90% of the websites, and the contents range from pages such as private databases (this could include your business data file collections), internet networks, or anything else that requires sign-in credentials. The deep web is used by most internet users on a daily basis, to access their work online platforms, emails, bank details or any other online accounts. The deep web also includes the portion of the dark web, but these two shouldn’t be confused.


The Dark web


The dark web, similarly, to the deep web, is a part of the internet that isn't indexed by search engines. The main difference between the deep and the dark web is that requires the use of a specific browser- Tor, which is specifically designed for anonymous browsing. Another difference is that the web is unregulated, hence it makes a perfect base for criminal activity. The illegal activities include buying stolen credit card numbers, subscription credentials, hacked accounts and software that helps break into other’s people computers, searching and buying all manner of drugs, guns. On the dark web is possible to hire hackers to attack computers. Although, as bad as this sounds, the dark web surprisingly is not illegal, and accessing the dark web is legal. Some people or parts use the dark web for anonymous chats, messaging platforms, email services or even participate in book clubs and chess communities. Unfortunately over the years, the purpose of the dark web has attracted the wrong crowd and for the wrong reasons.


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Our advice for securing your data


Finding your business data for sale on the dark web, sadly, can be possible. Data breaches that we regularly hear or read about, seem to be an issue that we think is never going to come any close to our businesses and workplaces. With that being said, we have listed a few tips that can help you stay safe online, and protect your data.


  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi


Almost a quarter of the world’s public Wi-Fi hotspots don’t use any type of encryption. This gives easy access for hackers to enter any digital device used nearby. Using public Wi-Fi when working remotely should be categorically avoided. Although, you can protect your device with a VPN service, to ensure that your connection is protected, and no other third parties can intercept.


  • Never use the same passwords


Accessing your multiple accounts with the same password can be as dangerous as connecting to public Wi-Fi. For the best protection, each of your passwords should contain a variety of different digits and symbols added to your main word. You should also avoid using passwords that contain wording associated with your life events, such as place of birth, or your pet's name. Overall, using one password for multiple accounts is like using a single key to unlock multiple houses. Not the best idea, right?


  • Avoid opening emails from people you don’t know


If you receive an email at work from an individual or a source you don’t recognise, don’t open it. Make sure that you don’t click on any links or attachments that are inserted into this type of email as they can transport and spread various forms of viruses and other dangerous programs that can permanently damage your files, even your device. It’s also recommended that you won’t forward e-mail if you are not sure if it is safe to do so. The best thing is to immediately contact your IT manager and make sure that such email is removed and your computer device is clear and safe to use.


Because the dark web has become a network for buying and selling stolen personal and business data, it can be very dangerous to any size enterprise, even if they have never accessed it. Therefore, it is very important that your cyber security is in place, all of the information and data protected and monitored by an IT specialist.


For additional tips on how to protect your business from data breaches, have a look at our insightful blog post here!


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ADT Systems has been working with small to medium businesses since 1993, providing tailored IT solutions, support, and specialist advice. 

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ADT Systems Team