The deep Web may be a shadow land of untapped potential, but with a bit of skill and some luck, you can illuminate a lot of valuable information that many people worked to archive. On the dark Web, where people purposely hide information, they'd prefer it if you left the lights off.
The dark Web is a bit like the Web's id. It's private. It's anonymous. It's powerful. It unleashes human nature in all its forms, both good and bad.
The bad stuff, as always, gets most of the headlines. You can find illegal goods and activities of all kinds through the dark Web. That includes illicit drugs, child pornography, stolen credit card numbers, human trafficking, weapons, exotic animals, copyrighted media and anything else you can think of. Theoretically, you could even, say, hire a hit man to kill someone you don't like.
But you won't find this information with a Google search. These kinds of Web sites require you to use special software, such as The Onion Router, more commonly known as Tor.
Tor is software that installs into your browser and sets up the specific connections you need to access dark Web sites. Critically, Tor is an encrypted technology that helps people maintain anonymity online. It does this in part by routing connections through servers around the world, making them much harder to track.
Tor also lets people access so-called hidden services -- underground Web sites for which the dark Web is notorious. Instead of seeing domains that end in .com or .org, these hidden sites end in .onion. On the next page we'll peel back the layers of some of those onions.