Deep Web vs. Dark Web

A Headshot of Joel Caskey

Written by:

Joel Caskey
Senior Technology Business Engineer
NET Xperts LLC

The internet is a great tool for finding and sharing information. You can find anything from the origin of the Statue of Liberty to an awesome peanut butter cookie recipe just by the click of a button. Did you know, though, that cybercriminals can also use the internet to trade your personal information for profit? 

You may have heard the terms “Deep Web” and “Dark Web” before… but what do these terms actually mean?  


There are basically 3 different “levels” of the “Internet Iceberg”: 

Surface Web – This is where the majority of the public spends most of their time.  The Surface Web is where any public information can be found (in a nutshell, if you can search for it, it’s on the surface web).  Some examples of this would be a public website or a public YouTube video.  Hackers can use this layer of the internet to deploy malware to computers, so just as a reminder – when you’re on the surface web, always think before you click! 

Deep Web – This is the space of the internet that is more of a private space.  The Deep Web encompasses information that is not readily searchable because it’s “hidden” or protected by firewalls or logins.  Online Banking information, corporate websites requiring a login, or even Office 365 operates at a “Deep Web” level because you have to log in to obtain information. 

Dark Web – This is the part of the internet that is very well hidden.  Typically this part of the internet will require tools that the average user would not have access to.  Because of the different layers of anonymity that are built into the access methods for this layer of the internet, it’s a great place for cybercriminals to “hang out” and perform illegal activity under the cover of disguise.   An example of how someone might use the Dark Web would be the trading of confidential information that was stolen or obtained from illegal sources.  Cybercriminals can basically go here to purchase different lists of information that can be used for fraud, such as a list of social security numbers and names, or a list of credit card information.  This type of information can be sold rather cheap (still at a profit because it was stolen), and then can be used fraudulently to gain more profit. 


The importance of knowing what’s out there is significant. 

Do you know if any of your personal information is being traded on the Dark Web?  That’s where Dark Web Monitoring comes into play.  Although Dark Web Monitoring can’t “remove” your information from the dark web, it can give you a heads up so that you can protect yourself before your information gets used.  For example, if you have an E-mail address and password that shows up as being sold on the dark web, and you’re alerted by Dark Web Monitoring, you can react to that and change that password before the cybercriminals have the ability to take any action with that stolen information. 

NET Xperts can help to protect your organization’s information from being compromised via the dark web with our NET X Dark Web Monitoring program. 

We constantly scan the Dark Web for information that is relevant to your organization, and alert you if anything is found that may compromise your network.  Knowing is half the battle, and taking proactive steps to mitigate a breach is always the least costly solution in both monetary value and reputation. 


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