Have you ever been curious about the “Deep Web?” The truth is, you likely have been there as well. You see, the “Deep Web” is simply that part of the internet that isn’t indexed by the search engines, usually because it is behind some type of password protection. Those pages that are indexed by Google and other search engines is known as the surface web, and it is open to everyone to see. This includes places like your website, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs.

The Deep Web on the other hand is hidden from search engines and includes places like online banking, medical records, and private networks. The Deep web is much larger than the surface web.

Now, hidden below the Deep Web lurks an area called the “Dark Web.” The Dark Web is where cyber criminals hang out and illegal activity occurs. The Dark Web is actually a small part of the Deep Web (in that those sites are not indexed). While you should avoid the Dark Web,

the Deep Web is probably part of your life already! But what does that have to do with how you actually use the internet?

A rule of thumb: If you have to log in to one of your accounts by providing a user name, password, or some other type of authentication, the information you access is on the deep web. That’s a good thing. The deep web can help protect your personal information and privacy. The deep web is a pretty safe place even compared to the surface web.

The problem is the murky water in-between: those pages where you have to enter your password. It is here that you want to make sure your password is not intercepted before you reach the other side. Be sure to keep your privacy software up-to-date and change your passwords frequently whenever you are accessing deep (un-indexed) web pages. Never enter your password other other personal information on a site that is not protected by SSL (https). Also, use a virtual private network — commonly known as a VPN — which can encrypt your data and help protect your online privacy.

See this recent article to determine if your password or other personal data has been leaked.