Given that I’ve written a few past posts about the so-called “Shadow Web,” I was flattered when I came across a more recent site by that name, and they had quoted something I had written a while back when, ironically, I was less familiar with the dark web.
“The reason it’s so difficult to access the shadow web is that first, you would need a browser (such as Tor) that provides easier access to hidden sites (like .onion URLs). Then, you would most likely be given the specific URL by someone in the know, or use a search engine geared toward searching the deep web.”
I find this funny for several reasons: the statements I made at the time were not entirely accurate. Tor doesn’t really “provide easier access to hidden sites,” although at one time it was the only way you could access .onion URLs. Since there are now Tor2web proxies (like onion.to and onion.link), through which you can access Tor hidden services from the clearnet, you don’t necessarily have to have the Tor browser to reach them.
However, using the proxies is not a safe way to do so, because there’s a far greater chance that someone could spy on your web traffic in the process. They even warn you about this on some of the sites:
Also, at the time that I wrote the original post, I didn’t distinguish between “deep web” and “dark web” (which are still confusing terms for most people). I meant to say dark web, honest!!
Regardless of my errors, thanks for citing me as a source, Mr. Shadow Web! The “new” Shadow Web site is located at http://shadowznwuibgi7w.onion, and looks somewhat similar to the previous ones. I attempted to take a screenshot of it, but that function was disabled (of course). In essence, it’s a black background with this picture at the top:
The only difference between my picture and theirs is that theirs says “Access The Shadow Web” at the top. This time around, they feature an FAQ of sorts, to try to “debunk” some of the “myths” about the Shadow Web…
And I quote…
# 1 Shadow Web is a myth or true
ANSWER: IT IS TRUE
# 2 Is Shadow Web somewhere deep hidden under something unbelievable?
ANSWER: NO. THAT WAS A MISSUNDERSTANDING [sic]. ITS [sic] NOT DEEP UNDER, OR SOME MAGIC PROTECTED. IS JUST A SPECIAL INTERNET, SEPERATE [sic], UNACCESSIBLE AND FOR THIS INVISIBLE TO GUYS THAT DO NOT HAVE THE ACCESS-KEYS TO ENCRYPT THE URL AND INFORMATIONS. IN OUR PACKET WE GIVE YOU 1000+ DIFFERENT KEYS. ON SOME SHADOW WEB SITES YOU CAN GET MORE FORE FREE. THERE ARE SOME SPECIAL ONES YOU HAVE TO PAY. THIS DEPEND ON WHAT YOU WANT TO GET. MOST ARE FREE.
# 3 Do I need a Super Computer for Access
ANSWER: NO. THAT IS JUST A STORY FOR STOP [sic] KIDS AND IDIOTS TO TRY.
Aw, man! And I just bought a new super computer! I won’t list all of the “FAQ” section here, but you get the basic idea. Anyhow, according to them, in order to access the site, you need to pay $295 in bitcoin, which seems a bit extravagant.
How to Create Your Own Shadow Web!
In response to this, I thought I’d explain how you could actually create a “shadow web.” Just as there are a number of different ways to accomplish anonymity online, so are there many different networks that use these methods.
It might be something like the network dn42, which is a large VPN using various internet technologies, such as BGP, whois database, and DNS. Participants in dn42 connect to one another via network tunnels like OpenVPN and Tinc – however, dn42 is not technically part of the internet, because it doesn’t use the internet protocol (IP). Confused yet?
In other words, you could create a VPN-based hidden network, using a network tunnel. ChaosVPN, which I mentioned in some earlier posts, is also a VPN-based network. For full details on how to join dn42, click the link above.
Or it could be something like The Darknet Project – as they describe it, “A Darknet is a portion of routed, allocated IP space in which no active services or servers reside. These are “dark” because there is, seemingly, nothing within these networks.”
A third method might be to create a wireless mesh network, as I’d mentioned a couple of posts ago, but one that only you and a small number of people had access to – something like goTenna Mesh (as one example). Or, perhaps it would be something like a Freifunk network. Of course, you would need the right hardware for this, and you would have to find others to join, but that would just take a bit of time and effort.
So, in theory, a “shadow web” might be a private network that uses protocols other than the internet protocol, a darknet of some kind, or a wireless mesh network with a select few participants.
This, however, does not mean there actually is a Shadow Web – I just thought it was fun to consider how you could create one.
Will you be the first to do it? I dare you!