Creeping Back to the Dark Web!

by Ciphas

So, after the brief setback I suffered in Looking for Linux!!, I’ve found a temporary solution.  I have an old computer I can use for the time being, so I can continue writing, coding, etc.  It looks a lot like this:

Datapoint_Corporation_(CTC)_Datapoint_Turbo_8665,_Datapoint_2200_Desktop_Computerm_(1970,1971),_Datapoint_8600,_in_front_of_MITS_IMSAI_8080

Author: Clusternote 2015 Wikimedia Commons

One of the things I have in mind to do for future posts are to try out some of the webmail services on Tor and other networks, so I can come up with a good recommendation.

Currently, I am using SIGAINT, which is one of the more popular (and controversial) services, but there are certainly others.  (It’s been attacked more than once by security agencies, which I’m well aware of, thank you!)

SIGAINT-attack

If you go by 1EarthUnited’s List of Secure Dark Web Email Providers in 2016, you may find some good recommendations, but it is partially a matter of personal preference.

I’ve hunted around the Tor network and found a number of other email services, but as to whether they’re the most secure, that remains to be seen.  Some of the ones I intend to try out are OnionMailSquirrelMail, Mail2Tor, and Roundcube, which have both clearnet and darknet URLs for their landing pages.  Those links go to the clearnet sites (just so you can find out more about them).

I’m also in the process of researching live CD and USB operating systems, which is something I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile, but I occasionally had some compatibility problems with my system. That’s one reason I’m researching a good Linux system (besides the fact that I just like them).

Beyond just Tails and Whonix, I’d also like to try out these, specifically:

Kali Linux kali-linux_605634_full.jpg

Knoppix

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Debian

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Arch Linux

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Linux Mint

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And a few others that I won’t list at the moment.  Ooh, each one could be a future post…how interesting!!  I could make up a cheesy Linux song to go with it (but I don’t want to torture you).

It looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me.

What, No More Dark Stuff?

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Hey, I didn’t say that!  It’s just that the dark stuff takes time and effort to research.  Plus, to be honest, the more I investigate the dark web, the less scary it becomes.  There are still some terrifying things on it; don’t get me wrong.

I just would like to share both the good and the bad.  There’s nothing “wrong” with that, is there?

Besides, what I’ve realized is that if you actually want to be taken seriously when talking about the dark web, you can’t only tell horror stories.  Do you think I want to be another Takedownman?

Wait…forget I even said that.

 

 

 

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Dream Market: Drugs, Data, and Digital

by Ciphas

DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only.  I do not condone the use of illegal substances and/or services.  Anything you do on the dark web is at your own risk!! 

Good morning, readers!  In my earlier post Interview: Eileen Ormsby, Author of Silk Road & All Things VICE, I thought of one of Ms. Ormsby’s answers to the question: “Have you explored some of the darknet markets that are still in business?”

Her answer began with: “Yes, all of them.  And they are boring.  Which is exactly what a market should be to stay in business.”  Ormsby was making this statement in comparison to the Silk Road market, which attracted a lot of buzz and public interest.  I see her point, but I still wanted to find out for myself if some of these markets were as “boring” as she claimed.

So, one of the markets I chose to look into was Dream Market, which is currently one of the top darknet markets.  (And as I always say, I’m sure you dark web veterans already know about it.)  It’s an escrow market (established in 2013) that can be accessed via the Tor network.

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Dream Market – the real one.

What I’m tending to notice as I explore more of these markets is that they look very similar (as far as site design goes).  On the sidebar are usually the various categories of goods, and within those, you can navigate to specific products and vendors.  The difference, often, is with the individual vendors and products.

As I’ve said before, I haven’t exactly gone through and snorted all the coke and GHB to see if it was high-quality.

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7.8/10 – Too much water.

Drugs seem to be the most popular product by far, which isn’t really that surprising – but they aren’t the only thing for sale, believe it or not.  Also popular are drug paraphernalia (pipes, needles, etc.), and then, of course, there are many non-drug-related products as well (even…gasp!…legal things).

Register, Please

In my opinion, the registration process for Dream Market was very easy – but if you want a more in-depth guide (that you can access without Tor), look at How To Access Dream Market.

Basically, like most sites where you have to register, you create a username and password, and also a security PIN.  Unlike markets such as Python, Acropolis, and Apple Market, you don’t need an invite or referral to join this one; you just sign up and boom!

You also need to have a bitcoin wallet of some kind in order to purchase the goods (hey…tell something I don’t know!).  There are various bitcoin mixers (a.k.a. tumblers) that help obscure the transactions, such as Grams Helix or BitCloak.

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Screenshot credit: deepdotweb.com

So, that’s the easy part.  The question is – how does it compare to other markets?  Well, if you go by the reviews on Deepdotweb: Dream Market, it’s a very good site (although sometimes these reviews are made by the vendors themselves).  You can’t trust anyone, can you?  (Well, sometimes you can; other times, you just learn the hard way.)

dreammarket_reviews

Short of trying the products yourself, it can also be helpful to visit the official Dream Market Forum, in which customers often share their experiences.  If there are scammers within the market (and this seems to be a frequent occurrence), they usually get outed sooner or later.

I Don’t Like the Drugs…

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As I mentioned before, drugs aren’t the only product available, even if they are the most popular.  Though I have yet to actually purchase any goods, I’ve half-considered buying some of the legal goods (like the books on hacking), to see if I would actually receive the product.

If I succeed at this in the near future, I’ll definitely post about it.  Other products you might come across include include pornsite accounts (that you would normally pay a fortune for), hacked accounts (PayPal, etc.), skimmed credit cards, computer equipment, and other things.

For those of you who’ve never ventured into any of these markets (but might be curious), feel free to visit Dream Market and experience it for yourself.  As Eileen Ormsby said, the site itself might be boring, but if you’re the type to do drugs (or what-have-you) anyway, this is probably a safer alternative than buying them on the street.

Some people do get scammed out of their bitcoins, and others do sometimes get arrested in the process, just to warn you.  On the other hand, that seems a bit less common than it used to be with the “Silk Road” markets.

So…if you do decide to shop at Dream Market, just know what you’re getting into.  And don’t tell them I sent you.

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?

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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.

 

 

A Chat With the Directors of The Darkest Alley!

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Those who know me in person probably also know that I’m a big film buff. In fact, I happen to be a fan of dark and disturbing films like The Bunny GameIrreversible, and Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, so it doesn’t seem like that much of a surprise that I would be intrigued by the dark web.

I had been tweeting one of my blog posts related to red rooms (i.e. alleged dark web sites in which someone is tortured to death on a live stream), and a guy by the name of Rohit Kumar (@Raw_Heat420) tweeted back, “I see you are interested in red rooms hahaha.”

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Do you like the red room?

This sparked a brief conversation between us, and in the process, I learned that Kumar and his cousin, Mayank Kaushal, are making a film about the dark web (including red rooms) called The Darkest Alley.

Apparently, the catalyst for making this film was a story (or some would say creepypasta) told by YouTuber Corpse Husband, entitled Horrifying Deep Web Stories: “Why I Quit Hacking”.  I, too, had heard this story, and regardless of whether it’s true or not, I found it to be one of the scariest and most convincing dark web stories on YouTube.  (Actually, in his words, it is true – who am I to say otherwise?) 

It’s told from the point-of-view of a former hacker who ghost hacks into a heavily protected dark web site, and discovers some things that he ends up truly regretting.

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Fast forward: I decided to interview Kumar and Kaushal about their film, as well as their experiences on the dark web. The interview took place over Twitter.  Oddly enough, it turned out we had had many common experiences in the process of exploring the dark web.

Secrets of the Dark: How long have you been into filmmaking? (either of you) In other words, is this a recent thing or have you been doing it for quite some time?

Mayank Kaushal: We’ve always been into making and editing movies for fun for years on YouTube. After a while we began perfecting our craft and slowly we got requests from clients for custom work. Just recently we came to the the conclusion that it was time to see our full potential, exactly what we could accomplish with our skills from over the years.

SotD: I saw on your fundraiser page that you were inspired to make this film by the short story that Corpse Husband told (“Why I Quit Being A Hacker”). Do you think that story is true? Some people say it’s just a creepypasta, is why I ask.

MK: We believe some parts of the story might have been true, but we do think stuff like this happens on the deep web when the user isn’t careful.  This story gave us the idea that there is something about the unknown that is very creepy.  Red rooms being one of those mysterious aspects.  Also, I thought this particular story was magnificently detailed, to the point that I was feeling the same thoughts that the [protagonist] was going through.  That alone got me excited to think what a movie on this would be like.

SotD: I agree!  It was one of the best stories about that subject matter.  In that same vein, are you willing to give a brief summary of what your film is about (without spoiling it, of course)?

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Rohit Kumar: Keep in mind that this movie was inspired by one 20 minute scene which we have adapted into a feature film.  The film [is set] in Houston, Texas, where a college-typical student is struggling to pay his way through college.  He turns to drugs and eventually finds himself on the deep web selling his product.  Everything looks great until he ends up on the wrong site and suddenly his life gets turned upside down.

SotD: Oh, OK – so the film story really is directly influenced by the Corpse Husband story then!  I would still like to see it if I have the chance.

RK: That is correct; we feel like if we leave anything out we aren’t doing the story any justice.

SotD: Gotcha, that makes sense.  Have you already cast all of the actors yet for the film?

MK: We have casted [sic] all of the main actors; we just need to confirm our extras.

SotD: I see, so you’re getting there!  I’ve also been curious about the research you did for the film.  Did you actually visit the deep web/dark web a lot, and did you come across any real red rooms?

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Note: This is not a real red room!

RK: Yes, since this [is] our very first dab at this we are finding out that there is a whole lot of work involved behind the scenes [for] a film of this caliber.

SotD: What kinds of things have you seen on Tor that you’d be willing to talk about?  Or on other parts of the dark web, that is.  (If you’re not comfortable sharing it, then don’t, of course!)

MK: Hold on, this is a long one haha!

SoTD: OK, no problem!! Just trying to clarify.

RK: In order to prepare thoroughly for [the] film and each character we did extensive research in real world scenarios.  I spent around 6-8 months surfing the deep web using Tor until my personal security was compromised due to carelessness.  We studied many documentaries on the production and distribution of narcotics and witnessed real transactions in order to play each part as genuine as possible.

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MK: As for Tor, we were using Skype to screen share some of our sessions, in retrospect a terrible idea, and came across a plethora of underage pornography, many bitcoin scam sites and 2 red room sites.  The red room sites turned out to be fake, but did a good job of showing how one would actually work.  In actuality a red room site [would] not be able to stream in HD the type of content that has been rumored on the clearnet.  It would also be very difficult to find such a website as it would more [than] likely be password protected. We even tried multiple chat rooms for many hours trying to find more information on the subject, but all we found were other curious minds and hackers/trolls.  All in all, the deep web is a great resource; [the] dark side of it is where it has its bad points.  The worst thing we saw were pictures of dismemberment, but we’ve already seen too much so it didn’t really faze us.

SoTD: Hahaha!  I get it – I’ve experienced almost all of the same things.  What experience do you have with special effects that would help you create some of the screen violence?

RK: I am trained with 3D modeling, and visual effects, and…Mayank is a graphics designer.  With these qualities teamed up with practical effects and great cinematography, we will bring this story to life on the big screen.

SoTD: Sounds very exciting!  And you’ve mentioned The Silk Road on Twitter and Instagram…did you visit any real darknet markets in the process?  (Like Alphabay, Silk Road 3, Agora [since closed])?

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AlphaBay Market

 

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Login page for Silk Road 3.0

MK: We used Grams to search particular products and we got return results from the Silk Road, Agora and Pandora.  We also used various directories to lookup [sic] sites, and some of those sites were offering drugs, but those didn’t look as trustworthy as the marketplaces aforementioned.

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The Grams darknet market search engine

SoTD: Trust me, I know what you mean.  Well, how soon do you think we’ll be able to actually see the movie?  You’ve got me anticipating it now!  I didn’t see an official release date…

RK: This…sounds absolutely crazy to me, trying to wrap my mind around [the] fact that this entire [thing] will be shot in under 12 days.  After the shoot, which is in late July, we are hoping to have it edited by February 2017 and will begin early screening in March.  The official release was being debated as a date in May or October 31st.  We ultimately came to the conclusion that the end of May 2017 will be better suited.

SoTD: That’s great to hear!  I really look forward to it.  Those were all the questions I had written for the moment…I’ll make a donation if I get a chance, too.

RK: Those were some great questions man, once again thanks for the opportunity!  Feel free to ask any questions here, as Mayank and I will be monitoring this account in order to build our following :).  Peace and love from the team at #TheDarkestAlley!

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Well, my fellow dark web enthusiasts, I hope you enjoyed the interview.  If the film sounds like something you’d want to see, and you want to help Rohit and Mayank raise some of the remaining funds they need, go to Indiegogo: The Darkest Alley, and make a donation!

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At the time of this writing, they’ve raised $311 of their $1450 goal.  (You get some swag in return for donating, by the way!)

As for me, I hope to see the film soon – best of luck in getting it out there, guys.

 

 

 

Hitmen on the Dark Web? Ooh, I Am Scared!!

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Some of you may read that headline and think, “Dude, they’re gonna come after you next!”  Well, maybe if one of them is actually real.

Let me preface this by saying – I know that real contract killers exist.  Just look at the Zetas, Gotti family, etc.  These are not those guys.

What sparked my inspiration for this was one of the YouTube videos by Top15s entitled Top 15 TERRIFYING Deep Web Facts.  The first “fact” featured on the video reads (and you have to read this like you have a cold – watch the video and you’ll know what I mean):

Another key component of what makes up the world of deep web shopping is the hitman services that are offered by several different sites. Much like the Silk Road, transactions are made using the bitcoin currency to maintain as much anonymity as possible. One site, offers an assassination in the US or Canada for 10,000 dollars and one in Europe for 12,000 dollars. Although commonly prices range depending on the person you’re looking to kill…

Had I never experienced the dark web at all prior to watching this video, I would have found this idea terrifying as well.  Notwithstanding, I’ve gained a lot more firsthand experience and done quite a bit more research since watching these “scare tactic” videos.

If you look at the actual “hitman” websites and break down their claims, most if not all of them don’t hold up.  One of the most comical sites is the *cough* notorious Besa Mafia, who had been featured in these articles:

Pirate dot london: Assassination scams, the next generation

Besa Mafia murder-for-hire scam exposed following hack

VICE Motherboard: This Fake Hitman Site Is the Most Elaborate, Twisted Dark Web Scam Yet.

Don’t believe me?  Have a look at them in person! Besa Albanian Mafia: Hire a Killer or Hitman

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Even without hacking into their site, I still find it rather obvious that it’s a fake.

Forget the fact that their spelling and grammar is awful; you see that on many sites, legit or not.

As Deku-shrub a.k.a. Chris Monteiro, the author of Pirate dot London, points out:

That said, on closer inspection many details don’t add up. First of all you can apply to be a killer on the site directly. This seems highly unlikely given the close-knit nature of the mafia organization that supposedly runs it. 

I would tend to agree, Mr. Deku!  Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You have to see their site menu…

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 Oh, well in that case, I’m definitely the “beater” type!

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Here’s my resume.

And if you think that’s funny, you should read their FAQ.  (Yeah, the assassins have an FAQ!)

13. Why people claim there are no hitmen on deep web or all are fake?

People who claim this are undercover police who want to scare away newbies from using hitmen. On deep web there are fake drug vendors and real drug vendors, fake credit card providers and real credit card providers, fake gun sellers and real gun sellers, it’s only escrow that can protect you

They also offer a hilarious explanation of how Tor works:

1. If you have not done so already, download the Tor Browser . It’s free and protects your privacy by hiding your IP through 3 Proxies and does not leave any traces on your computer about visited sites. You won’t have investigators coming to your door, but if ever that happens they won’t find anything…

Doesn’t leave any traces??  Does it count if I bookmarked your site on the Tor browser?

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Hey, wait a second!  There’s my hitman transaction on the bitcoin blockchain!  Oooops, I left a trace!

And I think the Besa guys need to re-read this and get their facts straight: Tor Project: Overview

Well, if you aren’t convinced yet, Besa Mafia are not the only group on the dark web who claim to be assassins.  There are quite a few others, and just to plead the fifth, I don’t know with absolute certainty that all of them are fake.  They do, however, have several things in common:

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All of these sites claim to offer killings for hefty sums of bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies), and most have a list of whom they will or will not kill.  Or, at the very least, they have much higher prices for, say, someone like a president, prime minister, or secretary of state.  There’s some risk involved, you know!!

Out of all of these, Besa Mafia has to be the corniest one I’ve ever read (in my humble opinion, of course).

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Oh crap – Unfriendlysolution says, “Do not talk about my service in real life or in the clear web.”  Am I screwed now or what?  Hey, I’m giving you free advertising!

Actually, I’ve heard on the dark web that the one above is real, but we all know everyone tells the truth on there, right?  It’s likely that that information may have come from the site owner(s) themselves.

For those who still aren’t convinced that any of these are scams, I’d like to direct you to this flowchart (also courtesy of Pirate dot London):

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I’m still waiting for them to answer my “questions and clarifications.”

Speaking of which, has anyone seen this blog? Fighting Besa Mafia – yeah, it’s written by someone who claims to be “fighting against the Besa-Mafia and the criminal activities carried out by them.”  Excuse me while I stifle my laughter.

I would be shocked, if the blog weren’t every bit as ridiculous as the original Besa Mafia site.  In fact, it looks as if it were made by the same people who created the Besa Mafia site:

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So, why would the same people try to “fight” their own site?  Simple.  It’s an attempt to lend legitimacy to the organization, and make it sound more like a genuine hitman network.

Besides, would a real hitman whistleblower use Blogspot?

I rest my case.

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Zocalo: for All Your Weed Needs!

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Update: I have no idea if this one is an exit scam or not; I’m going purely based on the layout of the site and some of the feedback I’ve heard.  A few people on Reddit were posting “RemindMe! One year – exit scam” links.  So…we shall see!

No, I’m not talking about the Mexican restaurants in this case – although if you buy some of the stuff above, you may suddenly crave Mexican food!

As a matter of fact, a helpful Google+ user informed me that Zocalo is named after the famous business district on Babylon 5.  How very appropriate!!

Zocalo

As darknet markets go, some carry all sorts of goods, but Zocalo (at the moment) specializes in cannabis and hashish. Here’s the URL, for the curious: Zocalo.  It’s a traditional escrow market, and uses an invite/referral system for membership.  (It’s not that difficult to find a referral, actually.)

Although the listings above include such things as “Beverage,” Clothing,” and “Self-Defense,” the most popular sales are still in the cannabis/hash category.  There’s a listing for paraphernalia (bongs, pipes, etc.) as well, but none seem to be available yet.

Because so many of the listings are empty, I’m going to assume that this market is very new.  Perhaps, as more vendors and buyers join, the listings will vary a little more!

As I’d said in a previous post, I haven’t personally tried the marijuana, so I can’t vouch for the quality of that, but I like the site as a whole.  It’s easy to use, and seems relatively straightforward.

You might say that one disadvantage it has, compared to the larger markets like Alphabay, Dream Market, and Valhalla,  is its selection.  If you’re in the market for 420, that’s definitely a good place.  On the downside, it carries no other drug type items (like, for instance, ecstasy or LSD).

On one of my favorite sites, Deep Dot Web: Zocalo, you’ll find a few reviews from people who were apparently customers of the market:

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I’m particularly amused by the “YOU ARE MY ACCET” review.  As for the one at the bottom, “SCAM MARKET ALL USERS ARE ADMINS!” – well, I’m not an admin (I swear), but the reason that so many of the users are admins may simply be because the site is new. Even if you aren’t planning to visit any of these markets, the reviews can be hilarious, by the way.

Of note: weed isn’t the only good for sale on here, it’s just the most popular (by far).  Zocalo also happens to sell books, including some hacking guides, a few sex advice books, and (not surprisingly) books about weed!

By the way, Zocalo also features a messaging service and a forum, which I have yet to try out, but from the glimpse that I got, they looked to be helpful as well. You have to sign up for the forum separately, but it isn’t all that difficult.

Now, as prices go, I haven’t really had the opportunity to compare their marijuana prices against other markets, but I would imagine they’re relatively similar.  I suppose if you’re genuinely interested in purchasing goods from here, it would make sense to comparison shop, so to speak.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any coupons for the place, otherwise I’d certainly offer:

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Note: This is not a joke.

As the one user on Deepdotweb said above, “This market looks like it has some serious potential.”  And I think it does, too.  At the moment, they merely have a limited selection of goods and vendors.

Well, you know what that means, smokers!  If this is the kind of thing that interests you, head on over there!  (Don’t forget your bitcoin.)

P.S. I may have an update on this later, after I gain a bit more experience.  At first glance, everything looks good.

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AlphaBay Market: on the Clearnet?

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Well, sort of.  There’s a site by the name of AlphaBay Market | News, Reviews and How to Use AlphaBay that gives information about the infamous market, but you can’t actually buy any products from there.

They do, however, offer a direct link to the actual market that you can access, particularly if you’re viewing it from the Tor browser: AlphaBay Market.  (NOTE: just because I’m offering the link does not mean I advocate buying narcotics; do so at your own risk!!)

In a sense, this site has a few things in common with my friends Deep Dot Web and Dark Web News.  They feature current stories related to Tor and other darknets, such as New Tool Checks to Ensure Darknet Sites are Truly Anonymous.

It also has an AlphaBay Coin Tumbler Guide, which gives a basic explanation of how coin tumblers work, and then promotes itself as a superior coin tumbler to others that offer the same service (one advantage it features is a fixed fee of 0.001 BTC; many other services take 3% or more of each transaction).

There’s a site similar to the AlphaBayMarket.com that exists, called Mr. Squirrel’s Guide to the Agora Marketplace; that market, however, has since closed down.  Some of its former vendors have since opened their own independent shops.

Ironically, as I was in the process of researching this post, the clearnet site shut down; were they having server issues, or is someone spying on me?  (Could be either!) (wink)

In any case, the clearnet site more or less explains how to register for the market, how to use it, and also features a few reviews (mostly positive, of course).  You won’t see this kind of bold darknet market promotion for many of the smaller markets, though.

Why is that?  It may be that the smaller markets don’t have the reputation of ones like AlphaBay, and thus they don’t feel as confident parading their names around the clearnet. Again, however, that’s just conjecture on my part.

On my earlier post Exploring Darknet Markets: One Pill Makes You Larger, I listed a number of the most popular markets and explained a little about them.  Per contra, I didn’t go into much detail about specific markets, because to be honest, I lacked experience in that area.

Later on, I did in fact visit one called Apple Market, and wrote an actual review: Darknet Markets: Apple Market.  As far as I know, that one is still one of the higher rated markets that’s still active.  It works similarly to its competitors: it offers Multi-Sig transactions, and sells quite a few different products – drugs, hacked accounts, iPhones, iPads (hence the name).

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Though I have visited some more of the markets since then, I will say this straight up: I have never purchased any of their products (check the bitcoin blockchain if you don’t believe me, fellas!).

Still, I find them intriguing for various reasons; I’m interested in the security protocols involved, and also the processes behind running them.  Also, the “dramas” that take place (exit scams, takedowns, etc.) are fascinating.

At the same time, I’m fully aware that it’s a high-risk business, not unlike selling meth on the street (or, take your pick).  In fact, on the abovementioned AlphaBay Market site, they featured a news story entitled Caliconnect, Darknet Market Vendor Busted in CA.

Apparently, Caliconnect (real name David Ryan Burchard) was one of the more high-profile vendors, who had even operated on the notorious Silk Road!  It seems to me that authorities aren’t going to waste their time busting every darknet market vendor.  However, if someone’s as successful as Mr. Burchard in that regard, they’re going to attract attention, and it’s more likely that the feds will want to make an example out of them.

So, readers – once again, I remind you: feel free to explore these markets, but to (mis)quote the old adage:

 

“If you’re playing with bitcoin, you’re gonna get burned!”

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