A Darknet Dictionary (Work in Progress, with Links!)

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by Ciphas

So, given that there seems to be a lot of confusion about certain terms connected with the darknet and/or dark web, I thought it might be useful to have a “darknet dictionary” here. I must give some credit for this idea to Deepdotweb.com, who featured a similar article at DeepDotWeb’s DarkNet Dictionary Project! This isn’t a carbon copy of theirs, but they inspired me.

Their darknet dictionary is an ongoing project, so I think I’ll do the same with mine. If anyone wants to suggest new entries (or corrections) in the comments, feel free! I just may add them.

NOTE: Some links below may be down.

2FA – Abbreviation for “two-factor authentication.” 2FA is a type of multi-factor authentication (MFA), i.e. a user is only granted access to a site after presenting multiple pieces of authentication. Although used on the clearnet as well, 2FA is used on many darknet markets (and other sites) to verify users’ identities.

Example: a username and password, plus a separate PIN or a security question.

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Active at Dark Markets? – A Tor hidden service set up by Dutch law enforcement to warn darknet market users that they are being tracked.

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Ahmia.fi – A search engine that finds Tor hidden services and I2P eepsites. Also available on Tor at http://msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion/.

ahmia

Alienet – A VPN-based hidden network that offers messaging, mail, IRC, and hidden services. Not as well known as some other darknets, but it is real. Their site is at http://darknetproject.info on the clearnet, or https://unionsoe3yw6fxaq.onion on Tor.

alienet

AlphaBay – Currently one of the top darknet markets on the Tor network. Uses both multisig transactions and a traditional escrow system (depending on the vendor). Access it at this link: http://pwoah7foa6au2pul.onion/register.php?aff=41211

AlphaBay-Home-e1440639625779

AYW – All You’re Wiki [sic]. The Hidden Wiki with all CP links removed.

allyourewiki

Besa Mafia – A fake hitman service that (surprise, surprise) turned out to be a scam. Though a number of people paid to use their “services,” no one was ever hurt or killed. The admin of the site did escape with a number of people’s bitcoins, however.

besa

Bitcoin– A digital currency created by the mysterious “Satoshi Nakamoto” in 2009. Bitcoin incorporates encryption techniques to regulate the creation of new units, and to verify the transfer of funds. The smallest units of bitcoin are called “satoshis.”

bitcoins182way

Bitcoin billionaire yet?

Bitcoin Mixer – A service used to disguise the trail of bitcoins back to their original owner. Often used when buying and selling illicit goods on darknet markets. A few examples of bitcoin mixers are: BitCloak, Grams Helix, and BitBlender.

bitcloak

Blackbook – A former social network on the Tor network, modeled after Facebook. Used to be located at https://blkbook3fxhcsn3u.onion.

Blackbook

Black Market Reloaded (BMR) – A former darknet market on Tor, and one of the oldest, which is currently offline. Plans have been announced for it to restart.

black-market-reloaded-screenshot

Blockchain – A public ledger of all bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. This applies to other cryptocurrencies as well.

blockchaininfo

BotDW – Boss of the deep web.

botdw

Candydoll – A term referring to non-nude photos of children in suggestive poses or sexy clothing. Softcore child pornography, more or less. (Also may refer to makeup kits that are designed for this style of photography.)

NOTE: The screenshot below is from one of the sites selling the makeup kits.

candydoll_makeup.png

Carding – The trafficking of credit cards, bank accounts, website accounts, and other financial or personal information. May or may not take place within larger darknet markets. Some vendors on the dark web specialize in this type of crime.

darknet_forum

Cheese Pizza – Another slang term for child pornography.

Cipherspace – The “hidden internet,” built on top of anonymity networks like Tor, I2P, Freenet, and others.

Clearnet – The “normal internet” accessible without special software or configurations. (e.g. Google, Bing, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) Also sometimes referred to as the “surface web” (though this term is wildly inaccurate and confusing.)

surface-web-anz-tech-anztech-pc-fix-in-manukau-computer-repair-in-penrose

Enough with the icebergs, already!

Cold storage – Keeping a reserve of bitcoins offline (e.g. on a USB drive or encrypted media) to prevent tampering or theft.

coldstorage_bitcoin

CP – An acronym for “child porn” or “child pornography.”

Cryptography – The art of writing and solving codes. With regard to the dark web, it is a means of encrypting data (messages, etc.) that you send over the network.

Daisy’s Destruction – An infamous film made by child pornography producer Peter Scully (see entry), through his company No Limits Fun. The film shows the sexualized torture and abuse of several young girls, one of whom is referred to as “Daisy.” However, the film has reached mythological status on the web, with the details and facts about it being blown out of proportion.

daisy

Darknet – An overlay network that requires specific software, configurations, or permission to access. Examples include: Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet. Some of these networks (like Freenet) have both “darknet” and “opennet” modes, where you can choose whether to connect only to peers that you trust, or connect to anyone.

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Darknet Heroes League (DHL) – DHL is an escrow market comprised of old school vendors who were invited to sell there. Access it at http://darkheroesq46awl.onion.

dhlmarket

Darknet Market – A market hosted on an anonymity network (such as Tor) that often (but not always) deals in illicit goods. Popular purchases include drugs, drug paraphernalia (like pipes), firearms, hacked PayPal accounts, skimmed credit cards, counterfeit money, porn accounts, and fake official documents.

dream_market_drugs

Dark0de (a.k.a. Darkode) – A notorious hacking and cybercrime forum, originally hosted on the clearnet, which transitioned to the Tor network.

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Dark Mamba – A new “private military company” that claims to offer murder-for-hire services, run by the admin of the old Besa Mafia site. (i.e. another fake hitman site.) Located at https://darkmambawopntdk.onion.

dark-mamba

Dark Web – The part of the web that exists on darknets like Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet, and other networks, and requires special software, configurations, or permission to access. The dark web is a small part of the deep web. The word “dark” does not refer to the content, but rather the fact that the networks are special access.

SIGAINT-attack

Dark Web News – A news site that reports on events that take place on the dark web. Also features bitcoin tutorials, links, and a comparison of darknet markets. Located at https://www.darkwebnews.com.

darkwebnews

DBAN – Darik’s Boot and Nuke – free erasure software that automatically deletes the contents of any hard drive it can detect, developed by Darik Horn.

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Deep Web – The part of the web not indexed by traditional search engines, like Google. This term is often confused with “dark web,” but the two are not synonymous.

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Deepdotweb – A site that releases news, articles, and occasionally tutorials about the dark web (primarily Tor). They also keep an accurate, updated list of darknet markets that’s very reliable. Can be found at Deepdotweb.com or https://deepdot35wvmeyd5.onion.

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DisconnectA clearnet search engine that prevents other search engines from tracking your searches. It used to be the standard search engine on the Tor browser. Located at https://search.disconnect.me/.

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DNStats.netA site that monitors the status of various darknet markets and a few other sites on the Tor network. Located at https://dnstats.net/ on the clearnet, and https://dnstatstzgfcalax.onion/ on Tor.

dnstats

Doxing – The act of researching and posting someone’s personal information (e.g. phone number, address, full name) on the internet. Takes place on both the dark web and clearnet.

doxbin

Doxxters, The – A group who offers a doxing service for pay. Located at https://doxxtereufvckkiz.onion.

doxxters

Dream Market – Another top darknet market hosted on the Tor network, which uses a traditional escrow system. Access it at http://lchudifyeqm4ldjj.onion/?ai=1675.

dreammarket-drugs3

DuckDuckGo – Currently the standard search engine used on the Tor browser. Is popular with privacy-minded users. Located at https://duckduckgo.com/ on the clearnet, and https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion on Tor.

duckduckgo

Dump – The sharing of stolen data, such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account data. Also takes place on the clearnet, but is more infamous on networks like Tor.

dumpsad

Eepsite – The name for hidden services hosted on the I2P network. They end in the domain name .i2p.

eepsite

Freedom Hosting – A former Tor specialist web hosting service which, at its height in 2013, was the largest hosting service of its kind. Was the target of an attack by Anonymous, as well as a large law enforcement operation headed by the FBI. Has since been succeeded by another service dubbed “Freedom Hosting II.”

freedom_hosting

Freenet – A peer-to-peer network for censorship-resistant communication, touted as an alternative to other networks like Tor and I2P. It features anonymous messaging, email, social networking, and site hosting. A typical Freenet URI looks like this:

USK@MYLAnId-ZEyXhDGGbYOa1gOtkZZrFNTXjFl1dibLj9E,Xpu27DoAKKc8b0718E-ZteFrGqCYROe7
XBBJI57pB4M,AQACAAE/pyFreenetHg/31/

Download it at https://freenetproject.org/.

freenet_mainpage

Freesite – The name used for Freenet’s hidden services.

freenet_fms_setup

FullzIn carding terms, “fullz” refer to full database records of personally identifiable information. Such things might include names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account information, social security numbers, passwords, etc.

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Galaxy2 – A popular social network on Tor. It is a follow-up to the original Galaxy social network, created by “Lameth.” Located at https://w363zoq3ylux5rf5.onion.

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GNUnet – A free software framework for decentralized peer-to-peer networking. It includes P2P applications, such as chat, file sharing, and VPN.

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Grams – A Tor-based search engine for darknet markets, which helps compare goods, prices, and vendors. Tor link: http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion/

grams-black-market-search-engine

HANSA Market – A darknet market with a multisig escrow system. Tor link: http://hansamkt2rr6nfg3.onion/affiliate/110

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Hard Candy – Slang term for an underage girl – roughly age 12-16, on both the dark web and clearnet. Also can refer to child pornography featuring girls of this age.

Harry71’s Onion Spider – A popular link repository on Tor. Is respectable because it’s updated daily, and the links are generally accurate and active. Tor link: skunksworkedp2cg.onion

harry71_onion

Helix Light – A bitcoin cleaner available from the developers of Grams. Tor link: http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion/helix/light

helix_light

Hell – Infamous hacking forum formerly hosted on the Tor network, where users share hacking tips as well as stolen data. There is another site currently going by the same name, but it is actually a clone site made with a stolen private key from the original site.

Hidden Wiki – Name for a popular wiki on Tor that links to and describes some basic Tor hidden services (for noobs). The main one is located at http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. There are several other sites that use the name Hidden Wiki as well, but this one is usually the site in question.

hiddenwiki2

Hitmen/Assassins – A service that’s supposedly easy to find on the dark web. All of the sites offering these services have turned out to be elaborate scams, but the myth continues to be perpetuated by creepypastas and rumors.

hitman_network

Hurtcore – Most extreme form of child pornography, involving such things as physical injury and rape, which can be found on the dark web. Avoid at all costs.

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Credit: allthingsvice.com

I2P – An overlay network and darknet that allows applications to send messages to each other anonymously and securely. Download it at https://geti2p.net/en/.

I2P_router_console_0.7.7

L33TER – A vendor shop started by L33Ter, vendor from most of the early darknet markets. Specializes in digital and physical products. Located at http://l33ter2w7q4bytfh.onion.

l33ter

LE – An abbreviation for “law enforcement.”

Litecoin – A peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that is based on bitcoin. Find out more at Litecoin – Open source P2P digital currency.

litecoin

Lux – Username of Matthew David Graham, convicted (and imprisoned) owner of child pornography sites PedoEmpire, Hurt 2 The Core, and Love 2 The Core (among others).

matthewdgraham

Mesh routing network – Networks made up of radio nodes arranged in a mesh topology. Examples include Netsukuku, GNUnet, Hyperboria, and CCNx. Many of these are still in beta mode and have not been officially released, but they have been advertised as alternatives to the traditional internet structure being used right now.

netsukuku

Multisig – An abbreviation for “multsignature.” The requirement for more than one key to authorize a bitcoin transaction.

multisig

Credit: deepdotweb.com

not Evil – The premier search engine on Tor. Was originally designed to look like a parody of Google. Located at https://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion.

notevil-chat

Onionland – A nickname for the Tor network.

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OpenBazaar – A decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace that sells a variety of goods for bitcoin and currently runs on the Tor network. Not a “darknet market,” per se, but uses a similar concept.

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Operation Onymous – An international law enforcement operation targeting darknet markets and other Tor hidden services in 2014. Supposedly shut down over 400 sites (although many were clone sites).

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Outlaw Market – Another of the top darknet markets on Tor. Sells drugs, digital goods, weapons, and other merchandise. Access it at http://outfor6jwcztwbpd.onion/indxx1.php.

outlaw.png

Pedo – A slang term on the dark web for “pedophile.” Refers not only to the people themselves, but related sites and materials. (e.g. PedoEmpire)

PedoFunding – A now-defunct website on Tor run by convicted freelance photographer Richard Huckle. Huckle has since been imprisoned, and received 22 consecutive life sentences.

PGP An encryption standard created by Phil Zimmermann in 1991. The initials stand for “Pretty Good Privacy.” PGP is frequently used to encrypt and decrypt messages on the dark web.

public-key

PlayPen – A large child pornography site that, in 2015, was seized by the FBI and used to catch pedophiles who were accessing the site. This has been one of the more controversial cases, as some have questioned the legality of the FBI’s actions.

Qubes – A security-focused operating system that aims to provide security by isolation. One of many distros that can help provide security and anonymity. Official site: https://www.qubes-os.org/

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/r/darknetmarkets – A subreddit dedicated to information and discussions about darknet markets.

/r/deepweb – A subreddit dedicated to factual information about the deep web and dark web (as opposed to urban legends).

Red Room – A series of mythological sites on the dark web that supposedly feature live torture and murder (see “Shadow Web”). Entrance to these sites (in theory) requires bitcoin, as well as special credentials, such as a password given by an administrator. They are, more or less, an extension of the urban legend of “snuff films.”

All of the ones that have become public knowledge have turned out to be scams, yet many creepypastas and YouTube videos have continued to perpetuate the myth.

darkredroom

Scam/Scammer – In the context of the dark web, someone who purports to be selling certain goods or services, and doesn’t follow through, or misrepresents their intentions (e.g. a drug vendor who never delivers their goods, or a “financial service” designed for identity theft).

sheep-scam1

Credit: Deepdotweb.com 2013

Scream, Bitch! – A hurtcore forum on the Tor network. For those of you thinking of joining, registration is closed.

sb_darkweb

Scully, Peter – An infamous Australian pedophile and producer of child pornography, most notably the film Daisy’s Destruction, which has achieved internet notoriety. Scully had formed his own production company to make these films, called No Limits Fun.

peter_scully

Shadow Web – A fictitious part of the dark web perpetuated by creepypastas and YouTube videos. Supposedly features live torture and murder shows for those who pay the right price. A number of sites on Tor claim to offer access to the Shadow Web, but they are all scams. Here’s one example: Shadow Web Gateway 2.0

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Silk Road – An online black market, considered to be the first modern darknet market. Launched by founder Ross Ulbricht in 2011, the site was shut down by feds in October 2013.

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Silk Road 3 – An escrow market that used to go by another name, but adopted the Silk Road brand. There has been much speculation as to whether or not the market will exit scam or will be taken down, but it is still currently running. Located at reloadedudjtjvxr.onion.

silkroad30_login

SSH – Stands for “secure shell.” SSH is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network. As with PGP, SSH uses public and private keys to authenticate users.

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Suicide Apartment – Members-only social network on Tor (which used to exist on the clearnet). It’s meant to be a site for people who are suicidal and want to find someone else to “leave the world with.” The only way to become a member is to receive a voucher from an existing member.

suicideapartment

Tails – A popular Debian-based live operating system that many dark web users install for extra protection. “Tails” is an acronym for “The amnesic incognito live system.”

tails_screenshot

TLA – An abbreviation for “three-letter agency.” Includes federal agencies such as the CIA, FBI, NRO, NSA, DEA, DHS, and others, who are looked upon with suspicion in the dark web.

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Tor – An anonymity network on which many “dark web” sites are hosted. The name “Tor” stands for “the onion router.” Frequently, people who say they’re on the “deep web” are referring to Tor. Download it at https://torproject.org.

tbb-screenshot3

TorBay – A Tor-based social network and forum which more or less replaced Blackbook.

torbay

Torch – A simple Tor search engine. Located at https://xmh5752oemp2sztk.onion

torch_search

Traderoute – A traditional and multisig escrow marketplace on Tor.

traderoute

Valhalla (Silkkitie) – Originally a Finnish-only darknet market, now available in English. Valhalla is invite-only, and offers both traditional escrow and multisig transactions, 2FA, and PGP. Requires a referral link to register as either a buyer or a vendor.

silkki

Vendor Shop – Smaller shops started by some of the major darknet market vendors, usually specializing in certain types of items. Examples: Mollyworld and MegaPack.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) – A private network which extends across a public network (internet). Many experts recommend using a VPN in addition to using Tor! (hint hint)

vpn10

Welcome to Dark Web Links and More! – Link list for Tor hidden services. Notable because they do not accept submissions of CP links, and also feature links to Usenet groups. Access it at https://jdpskjmgy6kk4urv.onion/links.html.

welcometodarkweblinks

Zion Market – A newer multisig darknet market without user wallets. Buyers have the option of selecting 2-of-2 (the server and vendor have the keys), or 2-of-3 (the buyer also has a key). Uses 2FA, automated PGP, and Bitmessage alerts. Access it at http://zionshopusn6nopy.onion/_reg23.

zionmarket

Zocalo – A former darknet market specializing in marijuana, hash, and various paraphernalia associated with it. Recently closed due to lack of business.

zocalo_market_weed

Zork – A 1980’s text-based RPG that is now playable on the Tor network (via the not Evil search engine).

zork

P.S. As I said above, this list is far from finished. So I’ll either add more entries in later, or do a part 2 to the post. Anyhow, hope you had fun, and feel free to add your suggestion

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Interview: Eileen Ormsby, Author of Silk Road & All Things VICE

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Photo credit: Philip Gao Photography

I must say, it’s always interesting (and enlightening) to meet people who actually know their stuff when it comes to the dark web. Not long ago, on Twitter, I had that opportunity.

Eileen Ormsby, the Melbourne-based author of Silk Road and All Things VICE, was the perfect person to talk to regarding the ins and outs of the dark web in all its shady glory. According to her, her interest in the dark web emerged as a result of doing research for the Silk Road book, and eventually led to the creation of the blog.

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Given that I, too, am aiming to find the truth about the dark web amongst all the disinformation, it seems that Ormsby and I have something in common.  We even touched on my “favorite” dark web myth, red rooms!

Secrets of the Dark: What were your initial experiences on the dark web? Did you use Tor or some other service?

Eileen Ormsby: Yes, started with Tor and, specifically, Silk Road. It was some time in 2011 when a friend who was using it showed it to me. Instant fascination!

silk-road-site (1)

The original Silk Road Marketplace

SoTD: You have interviewed a number of individuals who are involved in various aspects of the dark web. Which interviews did you find to be the most informative or interesting?

EO: Probably the most interesting for me was my interview with the administrators of Atlantis when they were trying to break Silk Road’s stranglehold on the darknet markets. They contacted me and asked for the interview – in fact, several times before I agreed to do it.  They’d been asking whether I would carry their paid advertising (no) and then were always sending me snippets of news to put on my blog. They sent me previews of their infamous Youtube commercial before it was put on. They were really marketing hard, desperate to get some sort of good publicity because Silk Road monopolised the market and their customers were a really strong, loyal fanbase. Nobody trusted Atlantis, even though they offered a smoother interface, lower commissions and better customer service.

Eventually I agreed I would interview them provided it would be real-time, candid and I would not make it positive if I didn’t feel it should be. I agreed to give them a hearing and be fair. It was all done over real-time encrypted chat (I think it was cryptocat, which is now defunct after being proven to be not that crypto after all!) [actually, it’s back up again! – ed.].

It lasted several hours and I did, indeed, feel it was candid. I think they were trying to make a better market, but it failed because of distrust among DNM users and loyalty to Silk Road.

Other than that, I interviewed or engaged with most of the staff of Silk Road from time to time, including [Dread Pirate Roberts] 1&2 and still remain in contact with several of them to this day – the difference being that I now know the real identities of many of them!  I was in constant email contact with Peter Nash, the Australian moderator, during his time in prison in the US and served as his communication to the outside. He gave me an awesome interview when he got out.

SoTD: What are some of the urban legends and dubious information that, in your experience, continue to pass around about the dark web? (e.g. hitmen services, red rooms, bizarre things for sale)

EO: The one that is most persistent is the myth of the “Red Room” – live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!).  People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist[ing] all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them.  It’s ridiculous.  They don’t exist.  They certainly wouldn’t exist on Tor.  But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with “You can’t prove they don’t exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist.”  Picture my eyes rolling here.

I don’t think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. And of course, after the Ross Ulbricht trial, people kept pointing to his alleged attempts to have hits carried out as pointing to him trying to use ‘hitman sites,’ which wasn’t the case at all.

People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.

SoTD: Have you used networks other than Tor to explore the dark web? (e.g. I2P, Freenet, GNUnet, Netsukuku)  If so, how did the experience compare?

nerdageddon_updated

Nerdageddon on Freenet

EO: I used I2P and Freenet back in the beginning when I was researching the dark web in general, but they just weren’t as user-friendly as Tor and didn’t have the user base.

SoTD: What kind of research did you do when writing your book Silk Road (beyond just visiting the website itself)?  What did you discover in the process?

EO: In a lot of ways, I didn’t do any research at all.  I was in there from the early days, an active part of the community.  I spent part of pretty much every single day in there for two years.  I got involved in stuff.  I spoke to people, sometimes they came to me with their stories.  It was totally organic.

As well as the ground-level stuff, I got involved with a lot of the academics involved in researching cryptomarkets. Dr. Monica Barratt was one of the first – we’re still friends today – and she has probably done more rigorous academic analysis of the darknet markets than just about anyone in the world. Nicolas Cristin was another one who could be counted on for impartial analysis. There’s now a large circle of people involved in cryptomarket research and we have a very cool private forum where we share stuff.

SoTD: Have you found that you needed to increase your knowledge of internet security in order to research networks like Tor (i.e. to protect yourself and your identity)?

EO: Well, I’ve always hidden in plain sight.  Once I came out on Silk Road, I used the name OzFreelancer everywhere on the dark web. Everyone knew who I was. I always thought being up front about who I was to be the best way. Of course I have second logins for everything under different names, but they are usually for lurking rather than contributing.

The one thing I’ve found invaluable and that everyone – not just journos or DNM users but everyone – should take the time to learn is PGP. It is the one thing we can still count on.

SoTD: On your blog All Things VICE, you seem to get a lot of comments from the owner(s) of the Besa Mafia website; do you have any inside information as to what the truth is about the site? Is it a scam, honeypot, or what?

EO: LOL, yes I have inside information which I can’t go into detail about at the moment, but it will all come out at some point. Yes, they are a scam, but a very successful one – they have stooged a lot of people out of money.

besa_mafia

Besa Mafia’s website

SoTD: In spite of the negative attention that darknet markets have received, do you think that they have any positive aspects?

EO: The drug markets certainly do. They offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system – if someone is selling 25i as acid or pipes as ecstasy, they will very quickly be called out for it and their ratings will plummet. That’s not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.

SoTD: Have you explored some of the darknet markets that are still in business, such as Alphabay, Dream Market, Valhalla, Python Market, or Hansa Market? If yes, what was the experience like?

applemarket2

Apple Market

EO: Yes, all of them. And they are boring. Which is exactly what a market should be to stay in business. One of Ross Ulbricht’s biggest mistakes was being too damn interesting and developing a cult following. It really got up the nose of the TLAs and they threw a ridiculously disproportionate number of resources into tracking him down and prosecuting him. There’s been several markets far larger than Silk Road ever was, but law enforcement just don’t care (or at least don’t care enough) because they are quietly running as a commercial enterprise and don’t have any political or disruptive motivations. They certainly don’t have enigmatic leaders posting rousing calls to arms with devout followers drinking the Koolaid. None of us journos are writing about them much, so they are out of sight, out of mind for politicians.

I don’t mean to say that LE doesn’t still work on arresting DNM dealers and, where possible, closing the markets. It’s just that the political pressure to close them down is off.

Ulbricht_Passport

Ross Ulbricht, a.k.a. Dread Pirate Roberts

SoTD: There are many, many so-called “horror stories” that pass around about the dark web; do you have any of your own to share from your research?

EO: Haha, none! I did get bombarded by the owner of Besa Mafia (hitman site) after my article about them, with emails telling me he knows where I live and was sending people around to “beat and rape” me, but I was never really worried that he would go through with it. My partner on the other hand gets nervous about what I do sometimes.

Of course, there’s been disturbing things. I attended the court hearings of people involved in hurtcore sites. I heard and saw things that I need to put in little compartments of my brain that I lock away and rarely visit. But never any of the creepypasta stuff people love to boast about on Reddit.

SoTD: Do you think that Tor is still a good tool for journalists to use, or as a privacy tool for people living under repressive regimes? (e.g. North Korea, ISIL)

EO: Absolutely. Every journo should have a working knowledge of Tor, VPNs and PGP. Especially PGP.

SoTD: Given that darknets and other privacy tools are still being developed, do you think that something else may eventually replace Tor?

EO: Yes. I’m not clever enough to know what though.

SoTD: Answer this question once and for all: is it called the “deep web” or the “dark web”? Or are they two entirely different things?

EO: They are two different things. You know when you hear that stuff about the deep web being 500x larger than the surface web? That’s true (well, I don’t know the exact figure – nobody does – but it is massively larger). But that is all boring stuff, being anything that’s not indexed by search engines. So anything behind a paywall, or password protected, backend stuff for companies, etc. The dark web is a very small part of the deep web. Teeny tiny. It is just a media-friendly way of saying Hidden Services.
I have to admit, I hate seeing people use “deep web” when they mean “dark web.”

 

Me too, Eileen!  Me too.  Well, I encourage you to check out All Things VICE.

And next time you hear some crazy rumors about the dark web…check there first.

 

 

Meow: of Course Catcoin Exists!

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I was discussing bitcoin with someone the other day, and I mentioned the fact that Dogecoin also exists.  Then, innocuously, I said, “I wonder if there’s a catcoin?”  Silly question, right?

Of course there is!  Apparently, they’ve been around since December 24, 2013, but I only heard about them this year.  They must not be as popular as some of the others, though, because I had checked one of my new favorite sites, alternativeTo.net, and it wasn’t yet listed as an alternative to Bitcoin.  So I did the honors and submitted Catcoin as an alternative, of course!  (Last I checked, it hadn’t been approved yet.  But that may change.)

Catcoin (CAT) is a Scrypt version of Bitcoin, with a limit of 21 million coins to be mined at 50 coins per 10 minute blocks.  I don’t recall if I explained Scrypt in a previous post.  Scrypt and SHA-256 are the two most often used algorithm systems in use by cryptocurrency miners to validate blocks of transaction data, according to  CoinPursuit™.

Naturally, I don’t have a CAT wallet yet, but maybe that would be something worth investing in!  At the time of this writing, I only have bitcoins and Dogecoins, with a total cryptocurrency of $0.01992843.  I feel like a millionaire!

It’s no big deal – I really didn’t get interested in this with the hope of becoming a catcoin quintillionaire.  What would that look like, anyway?

 aristocat-memes

For those who were hoping to strike it rich by investing in catcoin, According to CoinMarketCap, one CAT is currently worth 0.00000234 BTC, or $0.001011. Yeah, that isn’t much, but if it were to gain some popularity, who knows?  I’m sure bitcoin wasn’t worth that much when it first started either.

Nonetheless, if CAT interests you, head over to their homepage at Catcoin, and check out how to get set up.  They feature wallets for both Windows and Mac systems, as well as a Catcoin SubredditCatcoin Facebook Page, and others.

And for the curious, here’s the Catchain: Catcoin Block Explorer, which is the public ledger of all Catcoin transactions (so apparently, you can buy things with it).

I had been wondering the same thing about Dogecoin, since I actually have a few of those (more than any other cryptocurrency at present).  Actually, now that you mention it, here’s a good link for that: Spend Dogecoins – List of Stores Accepting Dogecoins.

You can really tell that CAT hasn’t taken off yet, because when you try to type “catcoin” into Google, autosuggest says: “Did you mean bitcoin?”

So, readers – if this interests you, then spread the word about it!  Who knows?  If the price takes off, you just might be able to say:

“I knew about Catcoin when it wasn’t worth a fraction of a cent!”

 

Dogecoin: wow such crypto much shibe!

dogecoin

A couple of my readers had asked me recently, “Where have you been?”  Off doing research, honestly!

Well, I’m excited to say that I’ve earned my first five Dogecoins through the Eobot app (which I discussed in the previous post).  Initially, I was rather skeptical about it, because anything that promises to give you money for little to no work is probably a scam…right?  (Just ask all of my dark web buddies.)

Granted, a Dogecoin isn’t worth nearly as much as a bitcoin right now:

1 Bitcoin = $430.94 USD

1 Dogecoin = $0.0002951 USD

Still, it’s exciting to be earning some cryptocurrency at all, since I’m somewhat new to the field, and it can be tricky to break into it. In truth, I wasn’t looking to become a bitcoin billionaire or a Dogecoin decillionaire overnight. My first love was, and still is, writing. Of course, if I can earn some money in the process, that ain’t so bad either!

What I would like to do, in addition, is to learn more about some of the other cryptocurrencies (Ethereum in particular) so that I can gain expertise in that area, and perhaps even make a coin or two!

In the meantime, I shall head back out into the field. It looks as though there’s a lot more waiting to be discovered…and don’t tell me otherwise!!

(Have fun, ladies and gentlemen.)

 

 

Eobot: Genuine Cloudmining?

Tales from the Cryptocoin 

 

The more I travel down the cryptocurrency path, the more I realize I don’t know (though I suppose that’s true in most fields).

I’ve been doing a lot of bitcoin-related tweeting lately, and I happened upon an account called Eobot (@eobot).  They describe themselves as “[t]he easiest way to mine Bitcoin, Litecoin, Namecoin, Dogecoin, Dash…” and a host of other cryptocoins.

So I decided to actually try out this service (the free version, anyway).  As you might expect, you don’t simply get bitcoins or any of the others for free, although you may get some as incentives at certain times.

coincloud

As you can see, I haven’t earned much yet, but you can buy or mine coins in various ways.  One of the popular methods used on Eobot is cloud mining, which (in simple terms) means mining using shared processing power from remote data centers.

It sounds good, in theory, because you wouldn’t have to be doing the work, but it also sounds rather dubious.  (I’d referenced something very similar in my earlier post Dark Web Sites That *Claim* To Be Red Rooms).  Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.

(Edit: I have, since writing this post, earned 0.00003375 BTC and 9 DOGE through the app.  I’m sure I could earn more, but I’m not willing to invest thousands of dollars at the moment.)

Also of note: if you have any adblockers (like Privacy Badger or Adblock Fast) active on Eobot, you won’t receive your daily rewards!

Eobot is only one of many sites that offer this service.  Others include MineOnCloud, HashFlare and Genesis Mining.

Eobot also offers such services as Cloud SETI,  Cloud Folding, and Faucet.  In addition, they also offer a service called Eobot MyPool, in which you rent a cloud miner and mine directly to your own pool.  The advantages, supposedly, are that you don’t have to pay any fees, and also that you can mine coins that aren’t supported by Eobot.

If you want to know what Cloud SETI is, you might want to sit down.  And I quote: “Mining turns your machine into money, while SETI turns your machine into an alien finding satellite.”  Wait…what?

“Help the world find aliens. SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) simply by running a piece of software on your computer or in our cloud.

“The problems we are trying to solve require so many calculations, we ask people to donate their unused computer power to crunch some of the numbers.”

The difficulty with all of this is that there’s no way to know whether any of these services are trustworthy, and this whole aliens thing has unfortunately tipped the scale toward “no.”

On the plus side, in my case, there really isn’t that much bitcoin they could steal, if it were fake!   And I haven’t paid any money (as in dollars) toward the service.

I could be wrong about this – I have earned a little bit in the short time that I’ve used this service, but this alien thing really has me shaking my head.  (And this is coming from someone who is interested in the paranormal.)

To their credit, Eobot at least warns you if any sort of coin will be removed from the mining cloud, so that you can withdraw, like this:

“NXT will be removed, please withdraw your coins.”  That’s good to know!

All in all, I may be wrong about the possibility of earning some coins from this service, but I think I’ll just wait and see what happens with the free version for now.  Who knows?  Over time I may earn a little bit.

Anyone want to help me study for my MSc in Digital Currency degree? (I kid, I kid!!)

No, you know what?  I think I’m going to do that alien thing.

 

 

 

 

 

Bitcoin/Dogecoin Apps: BitMaker and DogeRain

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Gimme some of that bitcoin!

Given that I’m new to the whole Bitcoin arena, I’m perfectly aware that there’s huge potential for me to be scammed.  And just in general, I keep in mind the phrase “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

So, with that in mind, I decided to look into some Bitcoin and Dogecoin apps, specifically for Android devices.  There are, naturally, quite a few, such as Flap Pig, Bitcoin Billionaire, and Bitcoin Fighter.

BitMaker

The bitcoin app that I’ve used the most so far is called BitMaker, and it’s technically a bitcoin faucet (albeit one that drips very slowly).  Oh Lord, the jokes…  (But I digress.)

bitmakerapp

You can also download the app from BitMaker’s official site.  How does it work?  First, you have to connect it to one of your bitcoin wallet addresses in order to earn anything.  As you can see in the screenshot above, the interface is relatively simple.  The counter starts at 30:00, and each time it gets to 0:00, you’ll see an ad (from which the bitcoins come).

Thankfully (in my opinion, anyway), BitMaker has both “day” and “night” modes.  In the day mode, the ads have audio (which can get annoying if you forget that the app is running).  On the contrary, in the night mode, they’re just single-frame, silent ads.

If the app is working correctly, you should earn 500 Satoshi each time one of the ads plays.  Granted, 1 Satoshi = 0.00000001 Bitcoin, so it can take quite a while to actually earn a single Bitcoin.  It seems, as well, that as you start to earn more Satoshi, you have to watch several more ads per 30 minutes in order to gain the rewards (which can also be irritating sometimes).

And if you’re wondering, “Is this a scam?”  Well, no – at least in the sense that you do actually get paid at the end, but yes, in the sense that you won’t become a Bitcoin Billionaire overnight.  Honestly, I never expected that; on the other hand, I’ve technically earned my first Bitcoin through this app, so that’s not too bad!

In addition to the “normal” way of producing bitcoins, the app has an option called “Earn More,” in which you can sign up for various services and earn bitcoins in return.  For example, one offer is “Sign up for Rhapsody Music Player now!” for which you supposedly earn 21,250 Satoshi.  These offers, unfortunately, reek of spam, so I’d be very careful about taking any of them – but you can try them out if you get impatient with the “500 Satoshi” method.

All things considered, I like BitMaker – it’s not a “get rich quick scheme,” but you will earn a fair amount over time.  Although sometimes I feel like this:

bitcoin-meme-2

Try it out, though.  It does work well if you’re looking to earn your first few satoshi/bitcoins.

DogeRain.  Such Coin.  So Shiny.  Much Collect.

videoplay

As those of you who use DogeCoin at all know, it was designed to be more “fun” than bitcoin, and I have to agree that it is.

And DogeRain fits right in with that concept.  It’s more or less along the lines of a DogeCoin faucet, in which you share DogeCoins with others who have the app.

dogerain.png

In the interface, you swipe upward from the coin at the bottom, and depending on your settings, others using the app will receive DogeCoins as a result.  (And when you send coins, the app says things like “So!  Many!  Coin!  Doge!” in true meme fashion.

In the settings under “Rain Mode,” you have the choice of “active gets most,” “nearby gets most,” or “all get equal.”  I’ve found that if you use the “all get equal” setting, you seem to receive the most coins in return.

Occasionally, I’ve had problems receiving any coins, but it may be because I don’t have that many to begin with, or because fewer people near me are active on the app.  Again, as with BitMaker, it’s not as easy as it sounds to just rake in the coins.  Over time, and with experience, you can probably collect a lot more – I’d like to be that person in the screenshot above, actually!

You can see it in action here: DogeRain in Action (it’s an older version of the app, but the same idea applies).

So, while I may not have earned tons of DogeCoin yet, I have to say that the app is at least fun to use, and I plan on taking advantage of it more, if at all possible.

You know, come to think of it – there are loads of other apps like these out there…so I’m off to the crypto-world again!

 

 

 

Leaving the Dark Web (for Now)

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This statement may come as a surprise to some of you, since this blog was originally built around the subject of the dark web.  For the time being, I’m walking away from it.

I’ve encountered a few things that have really made me question whether or not I should be there, and I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

On the bright side, this doesn’t mean I’ll stop writing the blog; I think I’ll just alter the subject matter more toward privacy-themed technology, and security (which I’m interested in anyway).

I do understand that my page views tend to go up whenever I talk about the dark web – and I may still discuss it from time to time, but that doesn’t mean I need to actively be in it.

Red Flags!

danger-darkweb

To be fair, I had received some warning signs already.  Several times, I was nearly the victim of an XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) attack, and had I not been using the NoScript plugin, I likely would have received the full brunt of it.

I also once attempted to visit a site with, shall we say, “questionable” motives, and I received a message that my IP address had been banned. It looked something like this (but a little less dramatic):

Your-Ip-Banned.png

So, if those experiences weren’t warning enough, I’d hate to think what other horrifying things lay in store for me.  I certainly don’t want be doxed and have my personal details posted on the dark web, or to have my identity stolen…or worse.

On the bright side, as someone said to me, “You can only write about the dark web so much before it gets old.”  As I thought about that, many of the YouTube videos and blog posts about it say the same things: “Ooh, it’s shocking!  There are hitmen!  There are drugs!  There are cats!”

I may as well find some things that aren’t being said everywhere else.  So, don’t be disappointed, readers!

I have been looking more into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, so there’s plenty more to say about that. Plus, there are hundreds of different privacy apps and general security issues that I’m becoming more aware of each day.

I’ll keep the blog interesting.  Just give me some time to do more research.