Deep Web Investigation

Keeping up with the growing number of illicit Dark Web marketplaces requires law enforcement cooperation on a global scale. But this is only one part of the solution.


Cybercriminals frequently sell stolen credentials, passwords and intellectual property on the Dark Web. Leveraging Dark Web monitoring and investigation tools can help organizations prevent data breaches from occurring.

What is the Deep Web?

The deep web is an area of the Internet where information is not indexed with mainstream search engines like Google and Bing. It contains information that requires a username and password to access, including fee-for-service sites such as Netflix and academic research resources. However, it also includes piracy websites and politically radical forums. The deep web is much larger than the tiny “surface web” that is visible to everyday users, and it may be used for illicit activities such as drug dealing, child exploitation, and cyber attacks.

The Deep Web is accessed using a specialized browser called Tor, which encrypts your communications and hides your IP address. This makes it impossible for authorities to track your activity on the site and ensures your privacy.

While the deep web can contain some legitimate content, it is more commonly used for illicit activities such as drugs and firearms, sex trafficking, child pornography, and cyber attacks. It also houses a number of black markets where stolen credit cards and personal information are sold. In addition, it is possible to buy services such as paid assassinations and cyber attack infrastructure on the dark web. Although it is not illegal to visit these sites, doing so could put you on a watch list or lead to arrest if you are caught. This is why it is important to be aware of your digital security.

How do I access the Deep Web?

The Deep Web is all content online that isn’t part of the surface web – think password-protected websites, private forums and personalized resources. It’s also the portion of the internet that search engines can’t index or catalog, so you can’t Google your way to it like you would a typical website.

To access the Deep Web, you need to use a specific type of browser or specialized search engine. You also need the web address of a particular Deep Web site or a link to get there, as these sites aren’t indexed by traditional search engines. For example, you’ll need to use a Tor browser to visit sites on the dark end of the web, which requires special software to operate.

Tor is a network of servers that obfuscates your identity and protects you from malicious cybercriminals who could intercept your traffic and try to steal data from you or hijack your web browsing sessions. To use Tor to visit the Deep Web, you can download and install the free Tor browser on your computer or mobile device.

As you can imagine, it’s not easy to protect yourself from cybercriminals when surfing the Deep and Dark Web. But there are ways to protect your digital privacy, including using a VPN service that encrypts your data and routes it through a secure network of servers. For instance, NordVPN has an excellent deep & dark web protection feature called Onion Over VPN, which makes it incredibly difficult for anyone to spy on your browsing.

What can I find on the Deep Web?

Unlike the surface web, the deep web is not indexed by popular search engines. Instead, it requires a unique set of tools to be accessed. This includes personal networks, peer-to-peer configurations and special authorization to access its content. Some parts of the deep web include password-protected email accounts, paid subscription services like Netflix and Spotify and intranets used by schools, businesses and government organizations.

In some cases, the information stored on these sites can be exploited for illicit purposes. For example, hackers may be able to hack into databases and steal sensitive data like hotel bookings, online purchases or medical records. This can then be sold to identity thieves and scammers.

To help prevent this from happening, it is important to practice basic cyber hygiene and use a secure browser when browsing the deep web. This means always using strong passwords, never connecting to public Wi-Fi and installing antivirus protection.

The deep web also contains illegal marketplaces for stolen credit card information, illegal firearms, malware and drugs. These sites can also be a breeding ground for botnets that can be used to launch denial of service attacks. To mitigate this risk, it is recommended to browse the deep web with a specialized browser such as Tor. Tor is a free software framework originally designed to hide spy communications, but it can be used for deep web browsing as well. It works by routing your connection through a series of encrypted servers known as “nodes” and encrypts your IP address for added privacy.

What can I do on the Deep Web?

The Deep Web includes everything on the Net not indexed by search engines and requires password credentials to access, including private social media accounts, library catalog numbers, fee-based content requiring logins, and medical records. It also includes a subdomain known as the Dark Web that uses encryption software to hide its contents and requires Tor browsers or other special-purpose browsers to access.

Most people don’t need to access the deep web, but those that do can encounter cyber threats like data theft or identity theft. However, basic cybersecurity hygiene – having strong and unique credentials on all online accounts, changing the default passwords provided by websites, and maintaining antimalware protection — can mitigate these risks.

The deeper portions of the deep web can contain pirated content, and shady marketplaces for credit card information, weapons, drugs, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials and computer hacking tools. But there are other valid reasons for utilizing the deep web, including bypassing Internet censorship to communicate with sources and protest repressive regimes (WikiLeaks has its own site on the dark web), protecting whistleblowers who face government retaliation, and acquiring services not available elsewhere online. The good news is that the rules for navigating the deep and dark web safely are very similar to those for the surface web.