HackerCombat: Secure in the Dark Web?

Before I start, I should say – I’m not writing this to make enemies in the dark web world; I just like to get proper info out there. Like when I say there’s no “Marianas Web.”

344ccaec766c2c29d15345ff5bd0f54d664865116bf1120bfb78b08cfb0248ab

That being said, one of the sites I subscribe to is Hacker Combat, and I happened to notice that they had an article today called Stay Secure While Venturing into the Dark Web. After having read lots of similar content, I tend to be skeptical of articles that give advice about “being secure in the dark web.”

I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, though. Let’s see what they have to say:

Well, there are many users who still think that the dark web and the deep web are the same. In fact, the dark web is just a part of the deep web and comprises that part of the internet that’s “hidden” and needs to be accessed using specific software and configurations. So, you need to use Tor, Freenet, I2P or Riffle to access the dark web. It’s a well-known fact that even the Google search engine doesn’t show results of the dark web. 

This is partly true, but it’s the last sentence I take issue with. Actually, Google will show results from the dark web (Tor, at least), but it doesn’t pick up all the sites. As I’d mentioned on the post Can You Access .Onion Sites Without Tor Browser?, it is possible to reach .onion sites without using the browser. These sites use what’s called a Tor2Web proxy, which is basically a middleman connecting you to Tor.

Thus, some of these sites will show up in Google results. For instance, Psycho Social Network, which I’ve talked about a few times, will show up on a Google search, but clicking on it uses the proxy:

psycho_social_google

To put it in simple terms, it’s like asking a cab driver, “Can you take me to this onion site?” The cab driver says, “Sure!” On the other hand, you don’t know for certain if this cab driver will try to take advantage of you, just as you don’t know if a proxy is trustworthy.

Anyhow, let’s see what else the article says.

Using a VPN Service is good- Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service is always advisable; it adds to the anonymity factor. You should always remember to turn on the VPN before beginning to use the Tor browser or any such service; this gives you added anonymity plus security.

I also take issue with the idea that a VPN gives you added security, unless you’re the one who designed the VPN. A VPN can help you hide your Tor usage from your ISP, but then the VPN provider also has a record of the fact that you’re using Tor, and may or may not keep logs of your activity. Some claim not to keep logs (e.g. IPVanish), but if the time came where they were subpoenaed and told to give up your info, that may be a different story.

Have an up-to-date antivirus program- This is basic to security; you need to have an antivirus software even if you are not venturing into the dark web. But when you are doing it, you must have an anti-virus software. That helps add to the security.

This is true to a degree, although it depends on the kind of attack you’re trying to prevent. Some antivirus programs don’t have the capability of stopping certain types of attacks (such as ransomware). Anyhow, I suppose having one is better than not having one.

Keep your webcam covered- Webcam spying is reportedly common in the dark web. So, while you’re on the dark web, it’s always good to keep your webcam covered. You just don’t know; someone could spy on you and later subject you to extortion scams. Stay safe, cover your webcam.

This part I agree with – it is definitely possible to crack a webcam’s security, and covering it with tape is about the most basic way you can keep someone from looking at you.

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The article offers more advice as well, but these were the parts that stood out to me. Whether you agree with the points they make or not, I suggest reading it anyway. If you’ve never ventured onto Tor before, it could make a good field guide.

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Linux Drama is Over! (For Now.)

I’m happy to report that my “Linux drama” has ended (for the moment). See?

gnome_desktop.png

Unfortunately, this required me doing a factory reset of my machine, so I lost all my data – yeah, tease me all you want. That’s why you do backups, right? Fortunately, nothing I had was irreplaceable, with the exception of a few drafts I had written.

I did get rather frustrated with the process, but I know that that’s part of coding and using computers/smartphones in general. Can I get back to the dark web now? Sure. Let’s hope it doesn’t compromise my system.

At the moment, I’m going back to the terminal and attempting to reinstall some of the missing programs I had before. Easy, right? You would think so.

More specifically, I’m attempting to install HexChat, which is one of the IRC clients I liked, and the terminal is saying that the repository I’m trying to use doesn’t exist. I’m assuming that it’s just on a different repository, but I’m not sure which one that is. This is strange, because right before my system went down, I  was using HexChat without any problems.

Is there another client I should be using? WeeChat, perhaps? (Oh no.)

YFy0a

My friends mess with me about being technically incompetent, but usually my problem is that I overthink things and get stuck on one or two steps – I think that’s the curse of coding in general.

Anyhow, it’s good to be back! Have any requests for posts? Please share.

Linux Drama Part 2: Trolling!

I found a great quote on bash.org today that applies to my Linux dilemma:

I discovered that you’d never get an answer to a problem from Linux Gurus by asking. You have to troll in order for someone to help you with a Linux problem…Instead, I did what works. Trolling. By stating that Linux sucked because it was so hard to find a file compared to Windows, I got every self-described Linux Guru around the world coming to my aid. They gave me examples after examples of different ways to do it. All this in order to prove to everyone that Linux was better.

So OK then. Linux sucks! It’s shit! Windows was better! There, I said it. (haha.) Just kidding.

In all seriousness, as I’d mentioned on my earlier post, I attempted an update, and it seems that I really messed up my system. At present, I’m working on booting the system with GRUB, which, to be honest, is completely new to me. It’s not complicated at all, though!

IMG_20180707_080447_475 OK, maybe a little complicated. What I was attempting to do was choose the previous kernel from this menu, but then I got a message that I didn’t have permission to do that. I’m not entirely sure how to change the permissions so that I can choose it.

So, I’m asking the Linux users out there – is this the right route? I don’t want to further mess up things in the process of trying to fix them!

In the meantime, I’m writing this blog from whatever machines happen to be available (including my phone).

It’s weird – this is the kind of thing that people expect to happen when they’re on the dark web, and yet it happens to me without any “help” from the dark web. If need be, I’ll just completely reinstall everything, but it might help to know where to start!

And I used to get annoyed with this:

Blue_Screen_Of_Death_by_Xentalion

 

 

Red Triangle Wiki Deleted!

For those of you who have been following this whole “red triangle” puzzle like I have, you may be disappointed to find out that the official wiki (on wikia, at least) has been deleted for not being a valid community.

red_triangle_wiki_deleted

Not valid? Why? Were there not enough fans?

Chapter_4

I’m not sure why this is the case – perhaps the mods of that site didn’t find it to be relevant enough. However, there are some other sites with information about the puzzle (Reddit, of course!) Here’s the reddit thread (under r/ARG) for those who are interested: The Red Triangle – Cryptic deep web puzzle

Also, there are some YouTube videos about it – are you surprised? YouTube loves this kind of stuff!

Fright Knight, whose content I haven’t checked out much yet, has an in-depth video about it: The Unsolved Mystery of the Cryptic Deep Web Red Triangle Puzzle

There’s also some basic information on Steemit by (who else?) Defango, who brought attention to the whole thing in the first place: The Red Triangle Puzzle – updates.

Like Cicada 3301’s puzzles, there’s an endless amount of speculation and debate as to what these could be about. Are they a recruiting tool? Are they just for fun? Do they hint at something more sinister?

I don’t have any definitive answers about this, but since the wiki is gone, you puzzle solvers could use my blog posts as a reference, if you like! Unfortunately, I don’t have all the detailed lists of solutions that the wiki had previously.

In any case, it’s no big deal. I’m sure lots of other puzzles and mysteries will come along, but this one just happened to be one of the more intriguing ones as of late.

If you have any other mysteries to pass along, readers, feel free to share them in the comments. I like a good challenge.

 

 

 

Linux Drama: I Was Frozen Today!

Before they make memes illegal here too, I’ll post this:

i_was_frozen_today

Now that that’s out of the way – this morning, I was doing an upgrade to my Ubuntu system, and everything seemed to be going well. As a guide, I was following this article: How to Upgrade To Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

linux_upgrade

I started with the command:

$ sudo apt-install update-manager-core

Afterwards, I followed up with:

$ sudo do-release upgrade

This didn’t work, and I believe the issue was that the release wasn’t available yet. So, here’s where my big mistake happened. I attempted to force the upgrade by entering:

$ sudo do-release upgrade -d

This was where I clearly screwed up, because afterward, I was unable to get past the login screen on my system. Well, let me take that back – I could get past it, but all I would see is a blank desktop, very similar to this:

ubuntu_blank

Interestingly, some other users on Ask Ubuntu have had similar issues:

ask_ubuntu

Fortunately, another user on that same site had a good solution. He suggested opening the GRUB menu and selecting the previous kernel. This sounds like my best option. If I did actually lose all my data, thankfully there wasn’t anything irreplaceable there.

It’s funny – I have times when I can do all these advanced coding-related things, and yet something simple like this will put me out of commission.

You can’t keep a good man down, though!

 

Getting the Hang of Linux! (Really.)

Some of the bros on MadIRC were messing with me about giving some variety to the blog, and suggested that I document my Linux learning process for you all. After all, the “dark web” isn’t always as fascinating as it’s made out to be.

So, as I’ve mentioned, my particular Linux distro is Ubuntu, which is considered to be a good distro for a beginner. I suppose that, after time, I may move on to something more advanced (yes, that’s what I tell myself…).

As some of you may know, Ubuntu at least has a GUI to start off with (I’m using the GNOME desktop), as opposed to, say, Arch, which is bare bones. Maybe I’ll get to that one day.

Mine looks very similar to this one:

cinnamon2ubuntu-large_001

One of the major adjustments, of course, has been using the Terminal, and learning the associated commands. I assume this will become second nature at some point. I’m already used to typing:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

And getting the message “Permission denied, are you root?” That’s so much fun, isn’t it?

http_cdn5.howtogeek.comwp-contentuploads201203apt-get-update

One of the major reasons I switched to Linux was that I was tired of getting viruses on Windows, and as many had told me, “Don’t use Windows with the dark web!” I guess they weren’t kidding, huh?

Another reason is the fact that it’s open source, and that there seems to be a lot of Linux community support. In particular, I really disliked Windows 10 – I felt as though it was collecting way too much info about me, and had numerous glitches.

Anyway, a lot of the learning has been trial-and-error, but I subscribed to Linux Hint, which is helping, and plus, I know a lot of Linux users, so they’ve been giving me useful hints along the way. Hints like, “Type ‘yes [string]’ on the terminal.”

funny_commands-yes

Very funny guys.

Of course, I use Tor with it too, which seems to run very smoothly. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but it seems faster. Is it?!

tor_browser_ubuntu

In addition, I liked the idea of running Tor from the terminal, with a command like:

start-tor-browser

I plan on documenting more of my Linux/dark web drama as it unfolds, so expect to hear more!

Besides, I know that some of you readers are also Linux users, so do you have any terminal hints for me? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

angry_penguin

 

Hidden Clubs: What’s the Password??

The first rule of Hidden Clubs is – you do not talk about Hidden Clubs.

Lo and behold, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a dark web site with numerous exclusive “clubs” that either require an invite or can only be entered with a certain number of “points” on the site.

If you want the link, here it is: http://x7giprgefwfvkeep.onion/

hidden_clubs_edited

To register, you have to use a fake email address, as in “gebryotes@fake.onion.” Once that’s done, go through the “Club Directory” pictured above, and find things that interest you.

Of course, I had to join the MadIRC club, because they’re awesome, right? At the moment, that, and a few other clubs (as you can see in the screenshot) are the ones I’ve joined. So far, I’ve “gained access” by asking for an invite. I imagine this isn’t the case with all of the clubs, if they’re more “secretive.”

In fact, after taking a closer look at the site, this is true:

hidden_clubs_secret_edited

So I have to wonder – what are these “secret” clubs all about? Whistleblowing? Perhaps they’re darknet market or hacking related, and only want to include specific members. My guess would be the latter, but that’s just conjecture on my part. I base this on the fact that I have become a member of certain invite-only sites, and they were involved in the sale of illegal goods (albeit electronic ones, not drugs or weapons).

If they’re anything similar to sites like Suicide Apartment or the now-defunct dark0de, then it’s near impossible to get an invite – but you never know.

One of the more interesting clubs I came across was called “Silk Road,” (yeah that), and claimed to be a “new” market, or something along those lines. If you want my opinion, the Silk Road brand is dead, but good luck!

JERTPRINTCAMELDOG-WEB

So, what’s the point of all this, then? I suppose that, like much of Tor, it’s intended for privacy and anonymity – or just to sound cool. I’ve noticed that, any time I say that a site is exclusive or members only, people keep asking how to get in. Ironically, once they do get in, the sites have a tendency to look disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong – I think Hidden Clubs is entertaining, but so far I haven’t figured out anything all that secretive about it. Maybe the problem is that I haven’t earned enough points yet.

That being said, I should start my own club on there. Any suggestions as to what to call it?