Red Rooms Don’t Exist (Here’s Why)

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by Ciphas

In an effort to get more connected with you, my readers, I’ve decided to do a little how-to here. So I thought that, rather than just say “all red rooms are fake,” I’m going to go through how to spot a fake red room on the dark web.

What prompted this? Well, on my previous post, I received this comment:

redroomcomment

In case that’s hard to read, here it is in slightly larger text:

“there are many red rooms its [sic] just a matter of finding them although I wouldn’t suggest it, i posted a link below. http://222222222kjhiqzb.onion/”

I actually checked out that link, and it looked all too familiar. Why’s that? Well, Mutahar (a.k.a. SomeOrdinaryGamers) featured it on his “Deep Web Browsing” series: THE “REAL” RED ROOM!?!

darkredroom

I watch those videos purely for entertainment, but yes, Muta does visit some real sites on the Tor network. (And a few on the clearnet too.)

That does not mean, however, that any of these are real red rooms. In fact, he even says so in the same video!!

The experts say they’re all fake (and I’m inclined to believe them), but let’s just play devil’s advocate and say that there are a few real ones.

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I have come across more than my fair share of sites on Tor (and elsewhere) that claim to be red rooms. Most of them have a few things in common:

  1. They claim to show video streams of live torture, murder, and other acts.
  2. They require you to pay – usually large amounts of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
  3. They often ask you to download “special software,” like an alternative browser.
  4. They sometimes will link you to an alternate site to do the transactions.
  5. They almost always use a Tor-based email service – a common one is SIGAINT.
  6. They sometimes have a graphic image on the main site, usually taken from a horror film, to symbolize the acts of violence that would take place in the red room.
  7. They sometimes have a login page, which you can supposedly access after you pay.
  8. They won’t show you any sort of sample content beforehand.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.

Anyhow, if any of you have really used Tor, you probably have some idea of how slow it is. If you don’t understand why it’s slow, then allow me to direct you to their FAQ: Why is Tor so slow?

Part of the answer is: “Before we answer, though, you should realize that Tor is never going to be blazing fast. Your traffic is bouncing through volunteers’ computers in various parts of the world, and some bottlenecks and network latency will always be present. You shouldn’t expect to see university-style bandwidth through Tor.”

OK…but the red room sites say that I have download a special browser to watch the show!

Why is this? Because, in all likelihood, if these sites are asking you to download and install special software, the software in question probably has some kind of malware embedded in it.

Do you know what a RAT (remote access trojan) is? Allow me to direct you to TechTarget: What is RAT (remote access trojan)? Essentially, it’s a type of malware program that includes a back door to allow remote access to the victim’s computer.

I don’t know this from personal experience, but it’s my best educated guess. And a lot of these sites started popping up on Tor after the creepypastas and YouTube videos about red rooms became more popular – are you really that surprised?

The Shadow Web – Re-Re-Visited!!

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I’ve done several previous posts about the so-called Shadow Web, an urban legend which I believe became popular after the creepypasta “A Warning To Those Accessing The Shadow Web” passed around.

After this, a plethora of sites popped up on the Tor network (and other networks, like Freenet) claiming to offer access to the Shadow Web.

In a similar manner to the red room sites, the Shadow Web sites claim that this is a special portion of the dark web only accessible through “special software” that you need to pay to download.

Again, not to repeat myself too much – I’ve never gone so far as to actually download the software, but I suspect that it’s infected with some kind of malware – what, I couldn’t say. I’m glad that I haven’t fallen victim to this, to be honest.

I have actually corresponded with the admin in charge of some of these Shadow Web sites, and he basically told me what I said on the “fact list” above – it’s a live torture show, you need to pay, and you need download a special browser to view it.

And yes, I know that lots of the creepypastas on Reddit and YouTube talk about the “shadow web”; I assume that they’re all bullshit. I still find them entertaining anyway. But I also find The Texas Chainsaw Massacre entertaining!

If any of you want to take the risk of paying for this and viewing it, go right ahead. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I imagine there are other sites like this, too – but I have my doubts that any of them are genuine.

Questions? Comments? Please! Let me know!

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Is the Shadow Web a Reality? (Updated)

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Short answer?  Yes, I believe that something like it exists, but I don’t think you can get there from the so-called “Shadow Web” site.

There was a site, at one point, that called itself “The Hidden Gateway to the Shadow Web,” and it looked exactly like this:

shadowweb_ss

I had never actually paid my way through to the supposed sites, but as the story goes, there was some extremely sick content on there.  Oddly enough, this very same site had a link to a creepypasta entitled A warning to those thinking of accessing the shadow web has increased its “urban legend” status.

My gut feeling is that the creepypasta was made up, but having seen some very sick and disgusting pages on the dark web myself, I was willing to believe that there were worse things in existence.

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Photo courtesy of darknoise.co.za

Currently, there’s yet another series of sites up on the Tor network that also refer to themselves as “The Gateway to the Shadow Web,” but I’m starting to become even more skeptical of these.

The new ones look like this:

shadowweb_2

I’m still suspicious, because the site above appears at least seven different URLs on Tor, which leads me to believe that it’s some kind of trap by law enforcement, or merely a scam.  Anything where they want you to download special software, or something like that, is something I would not want to get involved in.

It would be extremely difficult to do something like this over the Tor network, because its speed is akin to that of dialup networks (like the old internet of the ’90s).  On the other hand, if you were accessing the dark web through some other method, it would, in theory, be possible.

So What’s the Answer, Damn It?!

Here’s one of the reasons I’m not completely discrediting the “shadow web” idea.  I did talk to one reputable Quora author (whom I won’t named here) who said that not only does something like it exist, it was the sickest thing she had ever seen.  Actually, she didn’t specifically call it “the shadow web”; she just said it was another part of the deep web that was harder to access.

She said that she “invested in a non-American SSH Tunnel that I trusted and started digging even deeper.  I had read stories on the surface web relating to these things, and I do not care what absolutely anybody has to say about it.  I know that these sites are not a joke and for somebody to minimize the very real existence of these sites and their victims is not only abhorrently disrespectful but flat out ignorant.”   On top of that, she said that it was her reason for getting off of the dark web completely.

Here’s my take on it:

I think something like this could and does exist.  It may be technologically difficult, but if you were to have enough security protocols in place, I think it could be accomplished.

There are IRC chat rooms that you can access through the Tor network, where people are into some very sick and disturbing things (IMHO, at least).  So, if you contacted someone in one of these chat rooms who had knowledge of such things, they could probably point you in the direction of a site like this.

The caveat, of course, is that if it were the real thing, not only would it be illegal, but it would probably cost you a very high amount of money.  If a group were organizing such a thing, it wouldn’t make sense to offer it for free.

I did come across a similar site on the Tor network, which offered films of women getting raped, as well as videos of real deaths (they just weren’t live streams).  It was more along the lines of something like Faces of Death, which was a shock film, but the filmmakers hadn’t actually killed the victims.  Not that I spent very long on this site, but they basically offered samples of the videos for free, and then you had to pay quite a bit of money to subscribe.  (I’ve talked about the site in another post).

I imagine the same would be true of the so-called “shadow web,” that is, if something like it existed.  I’m trying to be rational about this, believe me!!

So there’s my two cents.  Take it or leave it.