Good evening, readers. There’s something I feel I must address. When I first wrote the post Is the Shadow Web a Reality? (Updated), I was much less educated about the dark web in general, and although it’s one of my more popular posts, I still think there’s a lot of confusion and mythology around the terminology. Since writing that post, I’ve learned a lot more about the dark web, even though I may not know everything.
Let me state this flat out: there IS no Shadow Web. It doesn’t exist!! I hate to disappoint everyone, but it’s just a creepypasta. Nonetheless, I received a comment on that same post today, and someone had linked me to a post called fndv8 on the site https://ghostbin.com/, which claimed to be a list of “Marianas Web” links, ending in .clos and .loky.
Though I have discussed the terminology of “Marianas Web” on this blog before, I don’t think it exists either! All the experts I’ve talked to have told me it’s bullshit, and I believe them. The problem is that there’s a so-called infographic (I’d rather call it a misinfographic at this point) passing around the web, describing it like levels of the ocean. Here’s a “corrected” version of that infographic that aims to debunk a lot of the myths! Check it out; it’s well done: Internet has all my wat?
By the way, if you really want to see a list of all the exisiting top-level domains (TLDs), go here: https://data.iana.org/TLD/tlds-alpha-by-domain.txt. I doubt you’re going to want to read through the whole thing.
Can’t I Go Deeper??
The other things that this person seemed to be confused about were that you could access the so-called Marianas Web by using Freenet and ChaosVPN, which I’ve talked about in a couple of recent posts. (*Sigh*)
Freenet and ChaosVPN have nothing to do with the Marianas Web, but let me explain what they are:
Freenet is a peer-to-peer network for censorship-resistant communication. It’s a self-contained network. (I’ve talked about it in a few previous posts.) Its sites, called Freesites, have very long URLs consisting of hashes (random numbers and letters, essentially) generated from cryptographic keys, like this:
Freenet is one of many alternative networks that I sometimes refer to as the “dark web.” I think it’s a really great network, in spite of its sometimes disturbing content.
There Will Be No Order, Only Chaos
As for ChaosVPN, it’s a virtual private network designed to connect hackers and hackerspaces. I explained how to set it up in the post ChaosVPN Part 2: Hack to School!
It, too, is a thought-provoking network, but still, it has nothing at all to do with these made up .clos, .loky, or other made-up domain names. In fact, the creators addressed this on their wiki:
Now, if you do manage to correctly set up ChaosVPN and connect to it, they do have some sites set up on the network whose URLs end in .hack, such as http://vpnhub1.hack.
.hack is likely a pseudo-top-level domain name; that is, it isn’t part of the official domain-name registry. Tor’s .onion domain names are also considered pseudo-TLD names for the same reason. You can’t connect to .hack sites unless you’re connected to ChaosVPN, however! (Have I confused you yet, readers?)
If you’re really interested in that network, set up the VPN and connect. There’s a full list of instructions for different OS’s here: https://wiki.hamburg.ccc.de/ChaosVPN#Howto_join_ChaosVPN.3F
So What Else is Out There???
In spite of this post being a bit “debunky,” I still think there’s a lot of fascinating stuff out there, even on some of the networks I’ve already talked about. So, you have Tor, I2P, and Freenet, which are the three most widely used anonymity networks.
Beyond those networks, you also have many P2P (peer-to-peer) routing systems like Netsukuku, in which different nodes connect to each other inside the network; some of these are still in beta versions, and haven’t been officially released yet.
The fact that there are so many different networks, with their own routing protocols, and sometimes their own sites built on top of them (like Tor’s .onion sites or Freenet’s freesites), has often further created confusion.
In spite of these networks not having the secret to eternal life or instructions on how to build a Terminator, I still find them fascinating. I’m fascinated with how they work, and what else I can do to contribute to them.
I think the human mind is just naturally curious, and we always want to know more about what’s out there.
So…yes, there are other networks you can connect to, but some of them aren’t nearly as simple to access as Tor. If you want to connect to them, you may have to do a bit of learning, and gasp…reading!!
If you have the technical know-how and patience, I would encourage you to check out some of these alternative networks. That’s where the really fascinating stuff is.
But sorry…there aren’t any .clos or .loky domains.