We at Terbium classify the dark web as all the places online where you would not want your information to appear, particularly for sale or vandalism. These places online include Tor hidden services, major dark web marketplaces, password-protected forums, paste and dump sites, and the more illicit parts of the clear web. Generally speaking, the dark web requires specific software and configurations for access (e.g., Tor browser), tools which are designed to anonymize users’ traffic and activity online. This anonymity has given rise to illegal activity on the dark web, creating hubs where personally identifiable information and drugs, for example, can be widely sold and shared.
There are many sites that you can access through search engines and standard internet browsers that we consider to be a part of the dark web. Many of these clear web sites are just as harmful as sites that require special browsers to view, and they often sell large quantities of stolen data. These sites are strategically hosted in countries where the site owners and administrators believe they will face minimal legal risk.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the dark web is its size; the dark web is purported to be significantly larger than the clear web, and is often compared to an iceberg. The comparison is misguided in its depiction of the tip of the iceberg as the clear web, and the deep and dark web as the immense mass of ice beneath the surface. While it is difficult to accurately report how many dark web sites exist, many indicators show that the total is much less than that of the world wide web as a whole.