I don't know Heimdal Security, but I just found this article by Miriam Cihodariu where she lies her ass off about the deep web and dark web. It gets worse the longer it goes, and by the end... well, I won't spoil it.
What is the Deep Web?
First of all, the deep web and the dark web are not one and the same thing, though they can overlap significantly.
[She correctly explains the concept of the deep web.]
Also, the deep web can include significant parts of the legitimate, mainstream web (like Netflix or Amazon pages), simply because they are personalized for users and not all URLs are meant to be indexed.
"The legitimate, mainstream web" - here it starts with the insinuation that anything illegal is "illegitimate", that all laws are just.
What Is the Dark Web?
The dark web is a layer even deeper: technically also part of the deep web (which makes it inaccessible unless you know exactly where to go), but focused on illegal activities and services. It can be pretty gruesome. Some people call it the place where humanity's darkest side surfaces.
Oh my fuck... combining anonymous authority with embarrassing appeals to fear. And she describes it as a "layer" to make it sound like a distinct thing when it isn't; it's just an arbitrary division of content. And by her own definitions, nothing about the dark web requires it to be a subset of the deep web, but she has to insist on that because it suits her scary narrative of a "deeper layer".
So what exactly is on the dark web?
On the dark web, you can expect to find any and all of the following (sensitivity trigger, better scroll down if you don't want to be appalled):
Nothing on the following list calls for a sensitivity trigger, though the article itself does.
- Marketplace for various drugs, from mild recreational and borderline legal ones (like weed) to the hard stuff;
Part 1: if politicians decided you should be assault or kidnapped for having it, you definitely shouldn't have it.
- Marketplace for various fire weapons and ammunitions, obviously unregistered;
Fuck, ordinary people can get access to the same realm of weapons the most dangerous criminal syndicates all have! Quick whip up some propaganda to scare them off!
- Software needed for deeper browsing (like Onion Browser) and listing directories (lists of other deep web / dark web websites and their links, so you can access them);
This is where I really want to strangle this woman. The "Onion Browser" is on your fucking "legitimate web".
- A few rare books, scanned (yay for scholars everywhere, right?);
Cool, yes it is yay for scholars everywhere!
- Lots of blueprints for 3D printing stuff, from legal things to illegal things;
I'm surprised she didn't explicitly combine this with the one about guns for extra fearmongering power. Seems like an obvious reference to Defense Distributed.
- Some building plans boasting to offer undetected access (via secret tunnels) to important buildings;
I'm calling it: she's making this up completely. She thinks it sounds surreal and scary enough to serve her goal. She probably got the idea from National Treasure.
- Wikileaks documents;
Wikileaks is also surface web! They're legal.
- A so-called Hidden wiki portal, claiming to be 'The Original Wikipedia' plus its mirrors;
You mean this other surface web site?
They don't claim to be "The original Wikipedia". If they do have those words somewhere on the site, I'm sure it's as a slogan and not the literal statement she's implying.
- Files claiming to contain nude photos of various celebrities (all behind a Bitcoin wall and probably fake, of course);
- Websites with videos depicting abuse towards children, animals, war prisoners etc.
Depicting abuse toward children? You mean twitter? You mean buzzfeednews, abcnews, and a bunch of other surface web sites with videos of police brutally assaulting people?
That's what a sensitivity warning is for.
- Child pornography content;
Look, making child porn is horrible but viewing it doesn't make it any worse.
- Racist content and content promoting violence against various minorities (like Ku Klux Klan propaganda or videos of actual hate crime being perpetrated);
As with any claim about violence, it applies far more to politics than it does to anything illegal. All of politics is promotion of violence against some minority, since a single person is certainly a minority. The most widespread racism is definitely liberal counterracism, followed probably by police racism.
- Marketplace for hiring hitmen (though for the most part these services are reported to be yet more Bitcoin scams - still, some of them are for real);
Honestly, that describes politics, except politics isn't a scam; you really can get thugs to murder people who do stuff you don't want by backing political campaigns to make it illegal.
As you can notice if you read the list, many of the things for sale on the dark web are shams, designed to get your bitcoins without making good on the promise. Of course, if someone is actually looking to buy access to such things, they don't earn a lot of sympathy as victims of the scam. However, the fact that in many cases the services advertised are just scams doesn't make the dark web less dangerous or disgusting.
Yes, it does make the dark web less dangerous if the worst things on it are scams.
The main marketplace for all these things is the so-called Silk Road hub. Authorities have managed to take it down and arrest its owner, then the marketplace was rebuilt by one of his lieutenants, who was recently arrested as well. It remains to be seen for how long this main black market can be kept down, but there are other minor hubs on the dark net for buying and selling illegal stuff.
This would be a good time to take a moment of silence. Ross Ulbricht is one of the saddest victims of the cruel "war on drugs". Anyone glorifying what the state did to him is a monster who deserves to take his place.
The dark web is where the parts of moral-lacking economy and society come together.
You've got nothing, you psychopathic liar and murderer worshipper.
As far as the relationship between them goes, not all deep web is dark web, but all dark web is deep web.
Again, she insists that all dark web is deep web because otherwise the dark web wouldn't be a "level 2" and that wouldn't be as scary.
More Webs: Surface Web and Shadow Web
Oooohhhh... fuck. We're not done.
The surface web is what it sounds like. The "shadow web"?
Finally, the last concept you should know about is the shadow web. This is allegedly a layer of internet even deeper than the dark web, the well-known hub for criminal activity. Rumors say that this shadow web is a place where even darker, more serious criminal activity takes place.
Darker than hiring hitmen? How?
And yeah, she really wants that layering effect. There's a LEVEL 3 of the scary internet, even though she's not giving any real distinction between it and the "dark web".
Still, according to investigations by the world’s best cybersecurity researchers and hackers, this shadow web is just a rumor.
More anonymous authorities... I'm very surprised she used "hacker" in the goodguy sense.
Sadly, this only contributes to the defamation of cryptocurrencies, which in themselves are not a bad thing for the economy and society.
I'm really surprised to see her throw this olive branch out there. After everything she did? Maybe she doesn't perceive a motive to lie about that in particular?
However, since the shadow web concept is online and ardently discussed on some Reddit groups and other forums (which sound more like conspiracy theories authored by people who don’t understand much about how the internet actually works), this doesn't mean it can't become real at some point in the future. Still, even if it were real or will be real, paying for access is not the way to go.
When the propagandist admitted it doesn't exist so she appeals to a completely unsubstantiated future hypothetical to scare you.
Is It Illegal to Access the Deep Web or the Dark Web?
In short, no, it is not illegal to go browsing on a non-indexed page. Or to use a high-privacy like Tor, traditionally associated with browsing the deep web and dark web.
Imagine it being illegal to access non-indexed pages :D I don't know what she was thinking, since she already explained that almost every surface website relies on them, so no matter how ignorant the audience, no one who followed what she said could've needed to hear this.
What Is the Intellectual Dark Web?
Oh wait, more? We're talking about this now? I heard of it not too long ago myself. I knew more or less what she was going to say, but even I was shocked by how far she goes.
It consists of a bunch of conservative intellectuals, who traditionally were the only ones allowed to speak in public, aka they were the most visible on traditional information dissemination hubs. Mostly they are the WASP elite middle-aged or older, which weighed in as experts on television shows, published editorials in the biggest newspapers or taught at the biggest universities.
_What the actual fuck?!?_ I'm... do I even need to say anything? It's hysterical to claim "conservatives intellectuals" were ever "the only ones allowed to speak in public".
Since the alternative orientations have started getting their voices heard more, about a decade ago, these 'classic' intellectuals (many with alt-right orientations) are complaining that they are censored. They claim the media is now oriented towards leftist, progressive voices which are all about minorities, political correctness, and decolonization. Hence, they claim to have been relocated to an intellectual dark web, because no one hears their opinions anymore.
Censorship is a fact that the censorers openly and proudly admit to. Almost every website's terms of service say you aren't allowed to express many conservative ideas. Although on platforms like Twitter, this is often not enforced unless the censorers decide they don't want you in particular anymore.
And I'm not conservative, lord no. I hate defending them.
Funnily enough, they still own those traditional big channels of communication and there are still plenty of people following the same orientation as them. They just don't like the fact that other opinions can also be heard nowadays.
What traditional big channels? Liberals own them all nowadays. There isn't a single one, unless you count individual ideological outlets like The Daily Wire.
Sooner or later, some of your data will spill over to collections available for sale on the dark web. What you can do to protect yourself is to make sure that data is not accurate anymore, not detailed enough to cause harm, and that you have multi-factor authentication enabled everywhere you can use it. Having reliable anti-malware protection active is also very important.
More blatant lies. She implies the data she's talking about is passwords, since nothing else makes sense to mention multi-factor auth as a solution for. It's anything but "sooner or later" that your passwords will spill over.
If you really need to go to the dark side to check it out, take precautions. Use an encrypted privacy browser (like Tor), don't share any real info about yourself there, don't buy anything and don't talk to anyone. Don’t install any software you come across while there. A guide on all this to follow soon.
"don't talk to anyone". She sounds like an over-"protective" mother who can no longer stop her child from going near strangers.