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A dark black valley of the Internet: Deep Web

Only 10% of the network that we call the “Internet” is visible to the general public. Hidden below the virtual waterline lies a tangled and secretive network known as the Deep Web.

The internet is like an iceberg. Although people can only see one face, it has a larger second face under the sea. The face that people see is referred to as the Common Web, Surface Web, and Bergie Web. Common Web is for the daily usage of Internet. Surface Web is the search engine. Bergie Web is the website you can access through traditional ways. However, this is not the end of the Internet.

What is Deep Web?

Deep Web is information, web pages, files, videos, pictures, and more, which cannot be accessed from search engines. First of all, what are search engines? How do they work? Why can’t some data be accessed by them?

Search engines are online services that allow you to search for websites, images, and other files inside their database. Some examples are Google, Bing, Naver, Yaani, and Yahoo.

Google’s indexing system begins with a process called “crawling.” A web crawler is a program that scans a page to give you links. Once it finds the links, it opens them and scans pages they lead to. During the whole process, they store every page in their database, which you search through when you use a search engine.

There is a problem with this technique, and the problem is that there are some web pages that are not linked to others. Therefore, they cannot be found via web crawlers – which means that they are not accessible through search engines. These pages are what is referred to as the Deep Web. Only 10% of the network that we call the “Internet” is visible to the general public. Hidden below the virtual waterline lies a tangled and secretive network known as the Deep Web. Unindexed by search engines, and accessible only with special browsers such as “The Onion Router (Tor),” the Deep Web is made up of peer-to-peer connections that allow users to share files directly (and secretly).

It is in no way as simple as it seems, since the Deep Web, unlike the Surface Web, doesn’t only consist of pages and files, but of databases as well. These databases are virtual places in a way, where every piece of information of the Internet is stored. The Deep Web includes confidential information such as passwords, access keys, government archives, and much more. The Deep Web has no boundaries or restrictions and does not limit illegal activities.

There are some popular and rather disturbing sites on the Dark Web, which are onion sites, meaning that they are inside the TOR network. Dark Web has a lot of illegal websites. Technically, the Deep Web is harder to access than the Dark Web due to the fact that it requires hacking skills in order to leak databases, while the Dark Web only requires special software that can be easily installed on a personal computer. So, who are the managers of the Deep Web & Dark Web sites? They are the hacktivists or the hackers.

What is a hacktivist?

A hacktivist is a combination of Hack and Activist, and hacktivism is an act of hacking a website or computer network in an effort to convey a social or political message. The person that carries out the act of hacktivism is known as “Hacktivist.” These people are different from conventional hackers. Hackers aim to access confidential information and private data, whereas the hacktivists hack websites in order to share their political ideas and to find more people who share their mentality. Acts of hacktivism may include website defacement, denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), redirects, website parodies, information theft, virtual sabotage, and virtual sit-ins.

A few examples of hacktivists

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist. He was a co-founder of the social news site Reddit. He believed that the information is power. So, it should be free, but like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. He wrote for the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto.

In 2011, Swartz was arrested connecting a computer to the MIT network in an unmarked and unlocked closet, and setting it to download academic journal articles systematically from JSTOR using a guest user account issued to him by MIT.

Over the next year and a half, the government added multiple counts to the original charges, eventually offering him a plea deal. However, asserting his innocence, Swartz refused this. Swartz was left feeling more and more trapped, fearful of the federal charges and their implications.

By January 2013, Swartz was in depression, and his demeanor was making those around him nervous. On the night of January 11, fears of his friends were realized when they found Swartz dead in an apartment in Brooklyn.

Anonymous

Anonymous is a hacktivist group, which was established in 2003. Their symbol is a smiling man mask. Their slogan is “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not Forgive. We do not Forget. Expect Us.” They have members from all around the world who do not know each other. For this reason, the number of members is unknown. The group’s reactions to political events usually show up in their attacks on the websites of state organizations. They do not have fixed political goals. Their aim is the “Freedom of Internet.” For this reason, Wikileaks documents propaganda is made on the streets by Anonymous. They usually use DDoS weapons in their attacks. The group protested Israel’s Gaza operations in 2012 and leaked the Israeli government’s websites. They called this cyber-attack “OpIsrael.”

Ayyildiz Team

Turkey also has a hacktivist group, which is called Ayyildiz. The group aims to prevent cyber-attacks, and does not hesitate to provide information about themselves as their actions are not illegal. The Ayyildiz team previously hacked the Pentagon’s website and shut the system down for 8 hours. When the attack is compared with the DDoS attack, the Communication Presidency (TIB) made an attack on the counter-attack by blocking it.

*Written by Kevser Taslik. 

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