Unveiling the Layers of the Internet: Deep Web vs. Dark Web

When we discuss the vast realm of the Internet, we’re not just talking about the websites easily accessible through search engines and web browsers. The Internet has layers, some visible and some concealed from the public eye.

First, there’s the deep web, a hidden realm of information not readily accessible through conventional search engines. This portion of the web often consists of databases, many belonging to various companies, with restricted access via usernames and passwords. For instance, your Gmail account’s emails reside in the deep web, as does the confidential data within your bank accounts.

dark web

In addition to the deep web, there’s the dark web—a mysterious and clandestine corner of the Internet associated with illicit activities. The dark web encompasses content that isn’t publicly available and is largely connected to illegal endeavors. It’s where pilfered data from hacked platforms frequently ends up, including compromised email accounts and corresponding passwords, traded among the highest bidders.

The dark web isn’t solely a hub for illegal activities, though; it’s also utilized to bypass censorship in certain countries.

Accessing the dark web requires more than mainstream browsers like Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. Instead, users turn to specialized browsers such as Tor, designed to route information through a network of servers to access concealed content. If you’re curious about whether your personal information circulates on the dark web, simply using Tor for searches won’t suffice—it’s a more intricate process. Fortunately, Google offers a solution.

Checking for Personal Information on the Dark Web: To determine if your personal data, including usernames, passwords, date of birth, and full name, has been compromised in a breach and is circulating on the dark web, Google provides a monitoring service through Google One. Here’s how to use it:

  1. If you have a Google One subscription and storage space, follow this link to access the Dark Web Report section.
  2. Click on “Configure” to set up the monitoring service.
  3. Click “Start monitoring” to initiate the dark web scanning process. Google will keep an eye out for any instances where your primary Gmail account, linked to your Google One subscription, appears in lists of personal data being traded on the dark web.

Additionally, you can add up to 9 extra email accounts for monitoring, whether they’re Gmail accounts or from other providers, along with 9 phone numbers. Monitoring extends to your full name, date of birth, and address.

This monitoring service helps safeguard your personal information by notifying you of potential breaches, allowing you to take timely action, such as changing passwords and securing your accounts, should any compromise be detected.