Only 4% of the web is visible to the general public. Most people spend time online on apps like Twitter and YouTube, e-commerce sites, or browsing the traditional internet or "clear" web.
Beneath the surface exists 96% of internet content not intended for the general public. The deep web comprises the most significant portion, accounting for 90% of the internet. Like the surface web, deep web content is accessed by standard internet browsers and applications. It is not indexed or visible to search engines. However, unlike clear web content, which is viewable to all, deep web content is access-restricted, requiring some form of authorization or permission to access, protected by login credentials, paywalls, or otherwise. We all access and use the deep web every day. Examples include private emails, social media direct messages, private banking or financial information, medical records, and academic databases.
The remaining 6% of the internet hides in the internet's dark underbelly: The dark web. The dark web is an encrypted ecosystem of sites requiring special software access. These sites exist adjacent to traditional internet infrastructure but are separate from the World Wide Web. The dark web is unindexed and unregulated. Its sites are not "web" but "onion" sites - with cryptographic domain names compromising a randomized string of letters and numbers ending in the .onion suffix. Dark websites often require an application called TOR, the Onion Router. TOR masks users' IP addresses by encrypting, rerouting, and anonymizing web traffic. The promise of anonymity and privacy on the dark web has made it a haven for hackers, extremists and criminals alike, giving rise to a thriving underground black-market economy.