Posted on

The Real “Deep Web Levels”

Ever since those ridiculous “infographics” came out in 2013 claiming that there were “levels” to the deep web, people seem to constantly be asking how to access them. Specifically, this is the one I had in mind:


I know I’ll never convince everyone of this, but as I mentioned in my previous post, there are no levels to the deep web, or dark web.

What really exists are different anonymity networks, which achieve this in different ways. Obviously, the most widely used one is Tor. I’ve probably explained how it works in earlier posts, but Tor disguises your identity and location by encapsulating your communications in layers of encryption, analogous to the layers of an onion.

The sites that people frequently refer to as “deep web sites” are technically called “Tor hidden services.” Tor makes it difficult to trace the locations of the servers from which these sites are running, thus why they tend to involve criminal activity, like fraud, narcoctics, and weapons sales.

Beyond Tor, there are other networks, like I2P, Freenet, ZeroNet, and Umbra. And, as I mentioned in my last post, there are also the mesh routing networks, made up of radio nodes. These networks accomplish anonymity in different ways than Tor does, but they mostly have the same purpose: send email, send messages, share files, and set up websites without revealing your identity.

I’ve discussed Tor, I2P, and Freenet in various posts, but haven’t talked about the last two yet.

ZeroNet is a newer network that uses bitcoin cryptography, as well as Tor, to achieve anonymity. The way that it uses Tor is that your communications are sent through the Tor network, much like if you were using the Tor browser itself.


As with Tor, you can use ZeroNet to send email, build websites, send messages, and download files anonymously. ZeroNet, at the moment, doesn’t have its own unique browser. However, you can configure Firefox or other browsers to use ZeroNet. It’s actually not that difficult.

ZeroNet’s downside, at present, is that only a small community of users seem to be taking advantage of it. So, if you want to build the community, join and tell your friends about it!

Umbra, on the other hand, I have yet to experience, but I’m planning to try it out as well. Its creators are the same innovators behind the Shadowcash cryptocurrency. I think Umbra should be the subject of a future post. The GUI of Umbra, oddly enough, looks similar to ZeroNet. I’m not sure if one influenced the other in any way.


Anyhow, as for “deep web levels,” the only thing more confidential than these networks would be the top secret networks used by the U.S. government, like SIPRNet, NIPRNet, JWICS, CAVNET, and GWAN, which are used to share sensitive or classified information. Other governments have similar networks, though at the moment, I don’t know their names.

Even if you were to access them, they probably wouldn’t be as interesting as the movies make them out to be. Too bad, huh?

I’m sure that no matter what, I’ll never convince everyone that there are no special “deep web levels” that you can somehow access, but one person can only do so much.

My suggestion is to check out the real networks that do exist, and educate yourself on what you find. You never know – it could be fascinating!

(Unlike the one below – if it’s so secretive, why is it using Windows 3.1?)



About secretsofthedark

Have you heard of the dark web? Simply put, it's the "hidden internet" built on networks like Tor. "Secrets of the Dark" chronicles my dark web experiences, but is also aimed at demythologizing it and teaching about it. Want to reproduce one of the "horror stories"? Contact me at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s