What’s the State of AlphaBay Market?

alphabay (1)

Update: AlphaBay has definitely exit scammed and is gone for good. Please don’t get your hopes up about it coming back.

If you’re interested in darknet markets and have seen the news lately, you probably know that AlphaBay, which up until now has been one of the most successful markets, is down (and has been since July 4th).

(NOTE: If you’re curious to see some sites you can use in place of it, check DNStats, or its Tor hidden service, http://dnstatstzgfcalax.onion.)

DNStats_alphabay

Numerous media outlets have already covered this story, including the New York Times, The Verge, and Gizmodo. If you haven’t heard about this, here are a few links to catch you up:

AlphaBay, Biggest Online Drug Bazaar, Goes Dark – The New York Times

A Dark Web marketplace is down and users suspect foul play – The Verge

World’s largest online illegal drug marketplace goes dark – Axios

While many of these stories are written by mainstream media outlets and are geared toward the layperson, it’s interesting to think about it from the point-of-view of someone who spends a lot of time on the dark web (or someone who’s bought and/or sold goods on the market, for that matter).

The subreddit /r/DarkNetMarkets, which is your guide to all things darknet market-related, has a bit more inside info, although even those involved with the market aren’t necessarily sure what happened.

rdarknetmarkets_censored

Though he did not give proof, one of the vendors on this subreddit speculated that the market’s downtime might be due to a hardware seizure in Quebec of dark web site owners: Vente dans le «Dark Web»: la police procède à deux perquisitions (As you can see, the article is in French, but you can loosely translate.)

In English, the article says that “…the RCMP’s integrated technology crime group conducted two searches in connection with a global network of illicit drug sales in the Dark Web [sic].” At least that’s the Google translation – no, I don’t speak French.

This points to a couple of possibilities: either the FBI seized one of AlphaBay’s servers (and all the data that would be included, such as hashed passwords, vendor information, private messages, etc.); or that the admins of the site closed it down in anticipation of a raid. Even if it’s the former, I doubt they were able to confiscate everything.

Again, however, just like those in the conversation over on Reddit, I’m just hypothesizing, so don’t take what I’m saying here as gospel. I’m not a member of LE (I swear!), nor do I want to be. Even if the feds did seize evidence from AlphaBay, I hope that it will be up and running again.

If that’s not the case, then I suppose you’ll have to take your business elsewhere.

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye on the developments.

Stay trippy, my friends!

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‘Anonymous’ Proxy List?

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I forget exactly where I found this link – I think it was either Electronic Frontier Foundation or Privacy Tools  – but it’s a list of supposedly anonymous proxy servers, generated by a set of particular search engine terms:

+”:8080″ +”:3128″ +”:80″ filetype:txt

This returns results for lists of proxy servers that use ports 8080, 3128, and 80, which are apparently more anonymous than average proxies.

You’ll get different results if you use different search engines, too:

qwant.com: proxy list

Blackle.com: proxy list

For the curious, here are some of the actual results that you might get as well:

rebro.weebly.com: proxy list

Proxy Spider: short proxy list

kan339: proxy list

lategoodies.tripod.com: proxy list

h3furnitureoutlet: proxy list (yeah, a furniture outlet has a proxy list)

proxy IP list: anonymous

jobabroad.sweb.cz: proxy list

playinator.com: proxy list

Even so, as I mentioned in a few earlier posts, this all depends on whether you trust proxies at all. Which is why I haven’t used any of these, personally.

It’s similar to using a VPN in combination with Tor. Are you really anonymous when doing this? That depends on whether or not you trust your VPN provider! By the same token, it’s very risky to use certain proxies, unless you know what data the proxy server is collecting about you. Never mind the fact that .txt documents can contain malware (just as some PDFs on Tor do). Read Should You Trust Any Proxy? to find out a little more.

Regardless, it’s an interesting experiment to try Googling this, even if you don’t decide to use the proxy services themselves. Most of the sites look like this:

anonymous_proxy

While the idea of “anonymous proxy server” sounds great, in theory, they could be just like malicious Tor exit nodes – intending to steal data or worse.

So yes, these proxies exist. Should you use them? That’s up to you.

Call me paranoid, but personally, I wouldn’t.

 

A Few Pseudo-Random Onion Links

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I’ve been told repeatedly that there is no such thing as “true” randomness, because everything has some kind of pattern to it.

That aside, I’ve been trying to constantly come up with onion links to share, and thought that perhaps I could do this by using the onion list at All Onion Services. What I’m going to do is hit the “Random” button a few times, and then list some of the links that come up.

Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that there will be anything on these links, but it’s worth a shot. If there isn’t anything on the page, either it’s down, it’s unreachable, or no one has built a site at that particular address yet.

WARNING: Visit these at your own risk. I haven’t checked them all out personally.

http://n77rmxpuyhpr2g22.onion/

http://awhrkdwx3qsmgnot.onion/

http://22qbqzw6qcs2eku3.onion/

http://25sewxptlwhap3c2.onion/

http://wmrumtlwo3l37w22.onion/

http://nb2awtjoa4vpmwha.onion/

http://rscnq5uvtwj5x6od.onion/

http://cszmfevi6owywum6.onion/

http://xioqywsfdtsjr33d.onion/

http://li5w5cnmaeuqceou.onion/

http://5tepdchtxovcecp3.onion/

http://3y5d7pcjxpbukzxf.onion/

http://e6o5qjghi2umqech.onion/

http://pa3ldnwz2tyv7hcw.onion/

Tell me in the comments if you found anything interesting. If not, maybe I’ll try this again!

 

Discontinued Darknets??

Given that privacy and anonymity are such a hot topic these days, there are many projects that various people and organizations are developing for just that reason. Several of these I’ve already mentioned multiple times, including Tor, I2P, Freenet, and ZeroNet.

Nonetheless, I find the defunct ones to be just as interesting, partly because some of them used different methods for disguising one’s identity. A few that I’ve had a chance to check out are:

  1. Osiris Serverless Portal System
  2. anoNet: Cooperative Chaos
  3. Umbra (by the Shadow Project)
  4. StealthNet

Some of these, in spite of no longer being developed, are still available for download, so you can check them if you’re just curious.

I thought I would give a brief explanation of each of these, and then let you explore on your own, if you wanted to find out more.

Osiris SPS

osiris

Osiris is a program used to create web portals that are distributed via P2P networking, and are not reliant on central servers (hence the name “serverless portal system”). Data on Osiris portals are shared between all participants. According to the Wikipedia article on Osiris, these are some of its key features:

  • The system is anonymous. It is not possible to make an association between a user and their IP address, hence one cannot trace the person who created a content.
  • Even with physical access to an Osiris installation it is impossible to trace the actual user without knowing his password.
  • 2048-bit digital keys guarantee the authenticity of content (digitally signed in order to prevent counterfeiting) and the confidentiality of private messages (encrypted between the sender and recipient).
  • To prevent the ISP from intercepting traffic, connections and data transfer to a portal (called alignment), Osiris uses random ports which are cloaked during handshake and encrypted point-to-point via 256-bit AES.
  • The P2P distribution allows content to be present in multiple copies as a guarantee of survival in case of hardware failure or nodes off-line.
  • As the portals are saved locally, one can read the contents even if one works off-line.

In some ways, Osiris is also like Freenet, in that it uses P2P distribution of content, has a reputations system, and uses cryptographic keys as identifiers.

Now, for those of you looking for creepy and disturbing stuff, I’ve never found any of that on Osiris. That wasn’t really my intention when I started using it. I was exploring other anonymity networks and software that I had yet to use.

The problem with Osiris is that it seems as though it’s no longer being developed, as I mentioned. Still, for the curious who just want to check it out, click the link above.

anoNet

anonet_6

anoNet was a Wide Area Network (WAN) created in 2005. Its creators were a few people who were tired of the surveillance and constant data collection that still takes place on the clearnet today.

As on Freenet or ZeroNet, they wanted it to have functions like social networking, messaging, email, and website publishing, but the ability to do all of these anonymously. The network used OpenVPN, tinc, Quagga, BIRD, and QuickTun. OpenVPN and QuickTun were used to quickly connect nodes to one another, while BIRD and Quagga were used to exchange routing information with others on the network, allowing all peers to connect to each other easily.

What I’m not entirely sure of is if you can still connect to the network at all, since various sources have listed it as defunct. It may be similar to Osiris, in that it isn’t actively being developed, but the software is still available.

Umbra

overview_wallet

Umbra, like Osiris, isn’t really defunct, but it isn’t being actively developed. It was a division of The Shadow Project, the creators of the ShadowCash cryptocurrency.

It could be used for anonymous chat, messaging, email, and hosting websites (much like Freenet or ZeroNet). I haven’t had the chance to use it yet myself, but I would enjoy just playing around with it, if for no other reason than learning…and fun!

StealthNet

stealthnet

StealthNet was an anonymous P2P filesharing network, based on an earlier model, called RShare. Like many other P2P networks, traffic was routed through other nodes in the network, helping to keep users anonymous.

For better or worse, this project, too, has been discontinued. If you’re just curious about it, however, it looks as though you can download the software. It’s unlikely that there will be many (if any) peers to connect to, which kind of defeats the purpose of a P2P network!

Anyhow…

Despite the fact that these networks have been discontinued, I expect that others like them are being developed right now, or will be in the future.

As I always say, if you’re a budding developer, why don’t you create one? It could eventually be something big!

 

Creating a Hidden Network?

Journey_to_the_Dark_Web

One of my readers, with whom I’ve been corresponding on and off, wrote to me with an idea about creating a hidden network from scratch. It may have been inspired by one of my earlier posts, The “Shadow Web” Cited Me? Awesome!

In this post, I speculated about how you could create your own “shadow web,” i.e. a network that offered anonymity, and that you and only a select few people could access. In response, this reader had a few suggestions for such a network (I’m paraphrasing his (or her?) words here):

  1. One in which you could communicate via Telnet or Netcat over the Tor network.
  2. No DNS, no sites, just chats.
  3. Each user has his own list of peers.
  4. No nicknames, just onion domains.
  5. Everything is done manually, to avoid potential security flaws.
  6. Users select someone to chat with from the peer list and connect via TCP socket over Tor.

 

telnet_screenshot_2

This is, more or less, what I had in mind when I described the idea of creating a hidden network, although I had hoped that you could build websites on top of it too. What I’m unsure of, in his description, is what he means by “no nicknames,” as I would think you would need some kind of identifier to use a chat feature.

Even if the names weren’t user-generated, you could have this encrypted chat generate them for you. To use the example of the “nonsense word generators” again, perhaps the program could generate two names like this:

Hokr

Ngwood

It could also generate cryptographic keys for each identity, like:

6U-^QoM&m{z?H]g~c”AX3VgQqzVVo+

VtjHjR00ZCYVvU7Gs2iuWXQd2lX6oPDi

It’s similar to Freenet’s WebOfTrust plugin, which also generates identities for users of the network. In the case of Freenet, you have to solve some puzzles (which are more or less CAPTCHAs) in order to introduce your identity to other users. This is done to prevent bots from “joining” the network.

setup004

Personally, I love this idea, although I’m still in the process of studying some of this, and I might need a little help getting started. Anyone else have ideas to contribute? Feel free!

Hey, sooner or later I may actually have my own darknet! (And of course, I’d have to make it dark and scary.)

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Fresh Onions: Best Tor Link List?

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It doesn’t surprise me in the least that you dark web explorers are constantly looking for new links.

I used to often use Harry71’s Onion Spider as a go-to link list when I was looking for new and unusual onion sites. Unfortunately, he no longer updates the site (even though the URL is still active).

That being said, have you heard of the site Fresh Onions? It can be found at http://zlal32teyptf4tvi.onion/.

freshonions

Fresh Onions has its fair share of onion links, and like Harry71’s former site, it’s updated frequently. I was going to take a screenshot of the whole site, but on the device I’m currently using, that function was disabled.

Basically, the list of onions can be sorted by URL, Title, how recently it was added, when it was last visited, or when it was last up (i.e. active). At the time of this writing, it lists 4470 onions, and growing.

So you may be wondering – what kinds of sites are on it?? Well, at first glance, I see a lot of tech sites, some markets, a few forums, and some scam sites. Just what I expected!

While I have yet to create my own onion crawler, here’s a short sampling of some of the sites that are listed on Fresh Onions (note – I make no claim as to the authenticity of any of these; if it sounds like a scam, it probably is.):

http://geekrakaz7kioics.onion – Dark Forum (an anonymous hacking forum)

http://answerstedhctbek.onion – Hidden Answers

http://atmskima36v2nqdc.onion – ATM Skimmer for Sale (likely a scam)

http://hbwc3pyawkeixqtk.onion – DeepHouse – Bienvenue sur DeepHouse!

http://sourcel3zg2kzu4k.onion – Sourcery

http://by5cptxw44znwsbn.onion – Index of /

http://onicoyceokzquk4i.onion – .onion searcher

http://kwf4zz4colvmzb42.onion – Ooga Booga

http://4pf5lakpitrmnpnp.onion – Dungeon Masters: Welcome to Pier!

http://tordox5bgdpmnong.onion – couldn’t connect to this one, but it sounds like a doxing site.

http://nsz6gzlqldxhrvex.onion – NEMESIS Ransomware

http://dark666b5l2e3lcu.onion – Dark Host – real TORland hosting with onion address

Anyhow, if you want to check out the full list, visit the Fresh Onions link above. Have fun, dark web explorers, and don’t get scammed (or kidnapped, for that matter)! I kid.

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Dark Web Links: New Tor Search Engine!

In some of my past posts, I’ve mentioned that there are a few search engines on Tor that you can use to find .onion links. These vary greatly in quality, but the main search engine that people seem to use is called “not Evil”: http://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion – in previous posts, I’ve referred to it as the “Google of Tor.”

NotEvilSearchScreenshot

Beyond not Evil, there’s also Candle, Ahmia, TORCH, and (of course) Grams. In a much earlier post, I interviewed the creator of Candle: A Chat With Jobi – Creator of Candle Search Engine.

One of the differences with Candle is that it gets far fewer results – however, Jobi stated in the interview that he focused on getting more accurate results, rather than the largest number. TORCH gets a reasonable number of results, but in my experience, they aren’t always accurate.

torch_search

Ahmia, on the other hand, gets results on its search engine results page (SERP) that are usually quite accurate, but like Candle, it doesn’t return a large number. One of the things I like about Ahmia is that if the results include something like CP, you can report it and they’ll exclude it from future searches. The same goes for not Evil.

ahmia

Where is the Darkest Search?

So what other search engines exist? Well, one of the link sites I like, called Welcome to Dark Web Links and More, added a search engine to their features. While it doesn’t get as many results as not Evil does, it’s interesting to compare the two and see if they come up with anything different.

welcometodarkweblinks

The actual search engine is located at http://bznjtqphs2lp4xdd.onion, and seems to index onion sites differently than the other search engines, although I couldn’t tell you exactly how the algorithms work. If anyone has a link to a repository for this search engine, I would be curious to find out some more!

One difference I’ve noticed between the WTDWLAM search engine and others is that it has an option called “View This Link with Proxy Redirection For Added Security.” Given that I don’t always trust proxies, because you don’t know who’s spying on your traffic, I hesitate to use this one. Plus, it’s Tor, for God’s sake – why would you need extra security?

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Read this WIRED article for more info: Proxy Services Are Not Safe. Try These Alternatives.

Anyhow, I did a few searches with the WTDWLAM search engine, and got quite a few results, although they weren’t always accurate, but that’s to be expected. If you search for the string “red room,” you get 567 results! Are there really 567 red rooms? (Well…no.)

This might be a fun experiment to play around with, and see what mysterious sites you can find. Hint: they probably won’t be much different than the ones you’ve found before.

On the other hand, if you do find anything cool, let me know in the comments!

(Just don’t spam me, OK? Or spam me. I don’t really care.)

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