What (and where) is the Deep Web?

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By its most basic definition, the deep web represents the web content that is not indexed or searchable by standard search engines. When we surf the internet for news, research, entertainment, and other common content we are only accessing just a small portion of the content that is out there. In fact, experts estimate that the Web we know and use every day makes up less than 1% of the entire World Wide Web.

If we are just scratching the surface of the web with our searches and surfing, what kind of content is available on the deep web? Let’s take a closer look at the concept of the deep web.

The major search engines we use to explore and navigate the internet constantly index pages. Indexing, the process of adding eligible pages to search results, is done by following links between sites (crawling) and gathering static pages.

Search engines are not able to crawl and index dynamic pages or deeper content that lies beyond the search box. Pages that are kept behind private networks or those which are standalone and connect to nothing are also not indexed and considered part of the deep web. Personal accounts like email, online banking, social media, and gated pages and private databases are deep web content because they are not found on search engines.

Here is an easy way to identify deep web content: if you must log in to an account with a username, password, or some other form of authentication, the information you access is on the deep web.

A layer of security protects the public from accessing deep web content – and for good reason. Deep web content should not be available to everyone. Over 96% of online content is on the deep web and requires authorization to access. If the public could access this data, private and proprietary information would be visible and available to the world.

It is possible to access the content of the deep web with a direct URL or IP address, but will typically require a password or some type of security access to see beyond public web pages. The most common content on the deep web is believed to be databases, both public and those which users must pay to access.

Intranet pages are also on the deep web because of their internal and proprietary nature. For example, a company might store personnel files or business plans on a corporate intranet. If that information were public, it could be disastrous for that company’s reputation and bottom line.

The concept of the deep web is commonly misunderstood. Many confuse it with the illegal and nefarious activities conducted on the dark web which is not accurate. For the most part, the deep web is a harmless portion of the internet and is quite important for protecting personal and sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

The AJTC team are experts in data and network security and can help your company protect sensitive and valuable information. We will work with you to create and implement solutions to best suit your business. Contact AJTC today to learn more about our managed services, hosted services, and customizable technology solutions. You may also visit AJTC here or call 708.942.8200.

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