What is the Clear Web, Deep Web, and Dark Web?

dark web

We don’t often discuss online security. As budgets shift from CIOs to CMOs, though, it’s critical that marketing executives build their awareness of the risks associated online. For that reason, we’re going to begin sharing pertinent information that will help our readers recognize and avoid those risks. First up… the Dark Web!

The Internet is loosely classified into 3 regions:

  1. Clear Web – the region of the Internet that most of us are familiar with, this is publicly accessible web pages that are largely indexed on search engines. This is also known as the Surface Web.
  2. Deep Web – the Deep Web are regions of the Internet that are hidden from the public. Marketing SaaS platforms, for instance, are built in the deep web. They require authentication to access the data within.
  3. Dark Web – within the Deep Web are regions of the Internet that are intentionally and securely hidden from view. It’s an area of the web where anonymity is critical. Criminal services can be shopped for here but don’t look for a refund if you get ripped off.

The most common access to the Dark Web is through a Tor network. Tor is short for The Onion Router. Tor is a non-profit organization that researches and develops online privacy tools. Tor browsers disguise your online activity and you may even need to be invited to access specific .onion domains within the Dark Web.

Everything that we can find on search engines makes up just 10% of the web  Tweet This!

It’s not all scary, though. The Dark Web also enables people to communicate freely in countries where that freedom could get them in trouble. Facebook, for instance, is even available via the Dark Web.

CartwrightKing Solicitors produced this infographic on the Dark Web, and also provide these ten ways to avoid risking your personal or business information there:

    • Stay away from the Dark Web – don’t give in to curiosity.
    • Keep all your software up-to-date, not just your anti-virus software.
    • Use many strong passwords – don’t have a single password for everything. We use Dashlane for this!
    • Be vigilant when using public WiFi. It may not be as secure as you are told or think it is.
    • Check all your privacy settings on your social media accounts.

Look for a padlock or HTTPS in your browser window – especially when online shopping.

  • Don’t open or download attachments from unknown email addresses.
  • Don’t click any links within email messages if you don’t know the sender.
  • Make sure your firewall is installed and don’t disable it!
  • Have a set-limit on your credit card for online transactions.


I would add that you should enable two-factor authentication to everything. I don’t have a single critical account that I don’t have to first enter my password and then get a second pass phrase texted to my phone or looked up via a mobile application.

What is the Clear Web, Deep Web, and Dark Web?

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