How secure do you feel on the web? It seems like every day there are more revelations about the government tapping your phone calls, reading your email, and watching what you do online. In this week's episode, Tech Talker will be talking about the dark side of the web that Google won't show you.
The internet is huge. I'm sure many of you know that, but it's almost unbelievable that when Googling the term "cat videos" that Google can serve up nearly a billion hits from all across the web. Now keep in mind there are 7 billion people on the planet. It's mind boggling.
But what if I were to tell you that Google and other search engines can only search a fraction of the web. This number varies from source to source, but the most generous term that I've heard is that Google can search about 10% of the world wide web. So what's in the other 90%?
Well I can assure you it's probably not another billion cat videos!
What's in the Deep Web?
This other 90% of the web goes by many different names: Dark Net, Invisible Web, Dark Web, Deep Web, Deep Net...
Just keep interchanging the words, "internet", "web", "dark", and "deep", and you'll come up with all of the "names" it falls under. For the sake of this episode I'm going to try and explain what these terms mean. Because the very nature of this stuff is widely unkown means that it often lacks official names. I'll try and use the most well-known terminology, but just keep in mind these terms change often and are known by many different identities.
This other side of the internet is made up of a ton of different things. The broadest part of this side of the web is called Deep Web, Underweb, or Invisible web, this is basically everything that today's search engines can't make sense of. For instance, there's a lot of database information, dynamic content (like temporary webpages) and other obscure data that sites like Google don't deal with. It's pretty much that junk drawer in your house where you stash all of your random stuff (or in this case the Costco-sized warehouse full of random stuff).
Within this obscure jumble of stuff is what's called the Darknet. Now if the internet were like a big outdoor shopping mall, this side of the web would be like a dark back alley. There are many things this side of the internet has to offer, anything from drugs, hit men, and pirated content, to evangelists of free speech, privacy minded individuals, and even its own marketplaces.
One of the largest markets in the Deep Web was recently shut down by the FBI, and this marketplace was called the Silk Road. This underground website has been described as the dark Amazon or eBay where you could by a ton of illicit material.
The FBI arrested the individual who ran the site, and have since taken it offline. In order to buy many of the items on the site users would deal in Bitcoins, which I’ve talked about in an earlier episode.
Many people thought that the shutdown of the website would spell doom for Bitcoin, because of its heavy use there. However, just the opposite has happened. Since the shutdown Bitcoin prices have shot up due to an increased legitimacy of the currency as well as it shedding its ties to any shady business deals.