Don’t Use the Hidden Wiki – Use These!

thehiddenwikicrop

I’ve noticed that quite a few people recommend The Hidden Wiki as a “starting point” for using Tor.

While it does have some good general information about Tor (and darknets in general), most of the links that it features are scams – at least the financial ones, or anything that you would have to pay money to use. Though I don’t suggest using it, I’ll link to it anyway, just so you can see what I mean: http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion

This probably goes without saying for people who have been using Tor for a reasonable amount of time, but for those new to the dark web, it seems like a lure to ensnare people unfamiliar with it.

Granted, some of the links are innocuous – you’ll see things like the search engines, and some of the “library sites” like the Imperial Library of Trantor. On the other hand, there are quite a few sites that promise things like “bitcoin doubling,” “free drugs,” etc. – these are all scams.

So…if you don’t use the Hidden Wiki, what should you use?

Well, as I’d mentioned in several earlier posts, there are a few Tor search engines that are good:

notevil-chat

Besides these search engines, there are other link lists you can find, one of which I also mentioned in my earlier post, Fresh Onions: Best Tor Link List?:

welcometodarkweblinks

Of course, these sites, too, may have scam links on them, but they’re at least mixed in with other things. And for whatever reason, I also find them to be more interesting than the Hidden Wiki – whether that’s because they have better links, or just look creepier,  I can’t say. Nevertheless, I have found a lot of the interesting sites I discuss on these alternate link sites and search engines.

Besides these, if you’re just looking for a group of people on the clearnet who hunt down onion links like you do, I’d suggest the subreddit /r/onions: Things That Make You Cry. They’re a pretty cool group of folks.

As for me, I’ll make an effort to include more onion sites in some of my future posts. Have fun checking out some of the ones I’ve shared here, in the meantime!

 

 

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What the Deep Web/Dark Web Isn’t!

by Ciphas

torbay

I suppose I should be expecting this by now, but there’s an enormous amount of misinformation about the deep web/dark web floating around. That’s the internet for you, right?

I bring this up because someone recently messaged me and said, “I clicked on a deep web site – am I in trouble??” (Surely I’m not the first to experience this.) So I talked to the guy for awhile, and as it turned out, the site he was referring to wasn’t a Tor site at all – it was just a site on Internet Archive: Wayback Machine, which keeps archives of old websites from the ’90s and early ’00s. One of them is this one:

064

Let me just get it all out there: visiting sites on there is perfectly fine; you won’t get in any trouble. Some of the sites may be creepy, but they are in no way related to the dark web. For those who don’t know anything about either the terms “deep web” or “dark web,” let me try to help out.

According to Wikipedia:

The deep web, invisible web, or hidden web are parts of the World Wide Web whose contents are not indexed by standard search engines for any reason. The opposite term to the deep web is the surface web. The deep web includes many very common uses such as web mail, online banking, but also paid for services with a paywall such as video on demand, and many more.

And as for the term “dark web”:

The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets, overlay networks which use the public internet but which require specific software, configurations or authorization to access. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by search engines, although sometimes the term “deep web” is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web.

welcometodarkweblinks

Confused still? This is why I consistently say “dark web” when I’m referring to sites on Tor, I2P, Freenet, etc. The word “dark” doesn’t refer to the fact that it’s disturbing content, but the fact that it’s hidden or encrypted. The opposite term to the dark web is “clearnet” (the sites which don’t require any special configurations to access).

Granted, sites like The Hidden Wiki show only a small sample of Tor links (most of which are scams, by the way!). They are a part of the dark web, though (regardless of their content).

If you’re looking for a site that offers a lot more links (once you’re connected to Tor), then go to Harry71’s Onion Spider. I’m sure there are scams on here, but the site is at least updated daily, and has a lot of different links.

What people may be looking for is more secretive or disturbing content, which may or may not exist. Trust me – you aren’t going to find the secret to immortality on the dark web. If that sort of thing can’t be found on the clearnet, it won’t be found on the dark web either!

And as for the “deep web horror stories” on YouTube, most (if not all) of them are bullshit. How do I know this? Because the technical details are wrong. Many of them talk about live-streaming video over Tor, which is near-impossible. Nonetheless, I still find them entertaining.

I’ll tell you what, though –  I have noticed that there are sites not listed in any of the link repositories or wikis, which sometimes have darker content, or are very exclusive sites (e.g. a members-only hacking forum that requires a referral from existing members). I’m not saying this to make your imagination run wild, but it’s something I have come across.

Beyond that, I’d say that the only sure way to learn how to discern fake sites from real ones, and myths from facts, is to visit the dark web yourself, and learn the ropes. There’s only so much information you can get from blogs and articles. The downside is that you may get screwed over in the process. A good rule of thumb is: if it looks sketchy, it probably is!

If you are looking for a good, factual FAQ, then check this out on Reddit: READ ME, NOOBS! – The “Short” FAQ

Anyhow, have fun exploring the dark web…and don’t get scammed.

So-Called Red Room Site: A Creepy Experience

red_prison_torture_room

Ah, the legend continues!  I’ve done several posts about the so-called “red rooms” that may or may not exist on the dark web, and it’s been an interesting process.  (I’m leaning toward not, by the way.)  For the newcomers, here are the previous entries:

Are Deep Web Red Rooms Real?

Is the Shadow Web a Reality? (Updated)

Dark Web Sites That *Claim* To Be Red Rooms

Red Rooms Finally Debunked Forever?

A Chat with the Directors of The Darkest Alley! (interview)

In the process, I’ve become more and more convinced that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to host something like a red room on the dark web (Tor in particular).  Not only is livestreaming very difficult due to latency problems, but you would also have the problem of something like a live murder leaving behind evidence for law enforcement.

Nonetheless, in my research process, I’ve continued looking for sites that are labeled as red rooms, or sell themselves on the premise of being a red room.  I have come across several of those while hunting, and most seem to be scams.

Red Room #12589903

red room scam

The alleged “red room” site.

 

Most recently, I found yet another site with a similar premise, located at http://5xcds7yhgisfm6mu.onion/.  As you can see from the screenshot, it’s rather basic looking and gives very few details.  You had to contact them to get any other information.

Once again, out of curiosity, I contacted the site owner (or whomever) via the email address that was listed, and sent a PGP-encrypted message asking how to sign up.  He sent me back a PGP-encrypted message with details on what I had to do, and how much I had to pay, etc.

Now, here is the creepy part: the person who responded actually knew my real name.  That was enough to freak me out, at least a little bit.  I didn’t ask, but I was also concerned if he had any of my other personal information.

(Later, when he found out I was blogging about him, he spewed out a list of other personal info, like my wife’s name, the city I lived in, and several places that I frequent.  But you could honestly find those just by Googling me.)

It reminded me, at least slightly, of some of the “deep web” stories like the previously mentioned Horrifying Deep Web Stories: Why I Quit Hacking or 3 Disturbing Deep Web Stories by Mr. Nightmare.  And yes, I know that those are just stories,  but it was the possibility of someone finding out my real identity that was reminiscent of some of the stories.

His response to my first question, like most of the others, was that I had to pay 2.0 bitcoin (a.k.a. $1344.80) to gain access, and then to actually be the “master” of the show, I had to win an auction (similar to most of the other supposed red room sites).

Once you paid, supposedly, you would be given a username and password to simply access the site.  (You could only access the landing page without it.)

Invasion of Privacy??

panic-lots-you-just-got-hacked

So my question was – where did the guy get my name from?  Well, without asking directly, I had several theories.

When I had used my PGP key on the message I sent initially, it’s possible that my name was encoded into it somehow.  I actually find that less disturbing than some of the alternatives.

Beyond that, I combed through my system with various anti-malware tools, and came up with a few troubling findings.  One of them was a type of trojan (whose name I forget at the moment) that is specifically designed to steal login credentials and personal information.

I was able to remove it, but the question still remained – was that what gave away my name?  I still don’t know for certain, and I would feel more comfortable if I did.

Moral of the Story…

53865-bigthumbnail

So what have I learned from this?  I need to be more careful about whom I correspond with on the dark web, and when I do so, it’s imperative that I have all privacy and security protocols in place, and don’t do anything idiotic.  (Insert “I told you so” here.)

In the meantime, I’m still finding the process enjoyable, and believe it or not, I have learned a few things from my mistakes.

I hope you can, too.

 

 

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

hitman_network

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

besa_mafia

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…

wat-300x140

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

91c37e85dec8d198415e477029cbd8c4

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?

bitcoin-blockchain-2

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:

cthulhu_Resume

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).

unfriendly_solution_

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):

model-1

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:

fighting_besa_mafia

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.

378862

 

Should I Submit Work to the Torist? YEAH!

Thanks to my friends over at Deepdotweb, I came across the article First Literary Magazine Of the Dark Web Released.  It’s called The Torist, and it’s also been featured in Wired: The Dark Web Has Its Own Lit Magazine   Do you know how thrilled I am about this??

The Torist

This is The Torist’s Tumblr: http://thetorist.tumblr.com – onion address on the front page

For similar reasons as to why author Kari Paul of Vice wrote the article I Bought Adorable Cookies on the Deep Web, I believe The Torist aims to show that there are things other than drugs, hitmen, scams, child pornography (and other such lovely material) on the dark web.

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that much, considering that there are also book clubs on the Tor network, but still, this is right up my alley!!

If you want to access their Tor hidden service, here’s the URL: The Torist on Tor.  I’ve said this before, but the Tor network features many blogs, tech sites, and social networks, beyond all the creepy and illegal stuff.

On the other hand, things like the drugs, red rooms, etc. are the type of juicy material that make tabloid headlines and good creepypastas, so are you really that surprised that that’s what you hear more about?

Being that I write poetry and other literary forms in addition to blogging, this really isn’t much of a stretch for me.  I haven’t had a chance to access The Torist’s onion site yet, but I will as soon as I have the opportunity, believe me!

I’ve been wanting to get more of my writing onto the dark web through whatever avenue possible, anyway.  Here’s my chance, I suppose!

I’ll follow this post up when I actually get around to exploring The Torist a bit more.

In the meantime, readers, keep having your dark web fun…and watch your backs.

41AMUPeZuKL

 

 

 

Blackbook Shuts Down; Where To Now?

Blackbook

All right, I admit it – I couldn’t stay away from the dark web forever.  Since I’d started the blog based on that topic, I almost felt lost without including it somehow.

What I decided to do was use a “throwaway” computer that I didn’t really care about much, so it wasn’t as big a deal if it got infected in some way.

In my earlier post Fun with Dark Web Social Networking!!, I had mentioned the social network Blackbook, which was a lot like the “Facebook of Tor.”  Nevertheless, the last I checked, Blackbook had been shut down (permanently).

To be honest, although I had made some friends there, I wasn’t that attached to the site itself; there are quite a few other social networks.  I’m not entirely sure of the reason it was shut down, but I recall that there were some “questionable” posts on the news feed (for lack of a better word) from time to time, and that may have had something to do with it.

Strangely enough, the site now directs visitors to a site called Torbay, which sounds a lot like an Ebay-style marketplace (and it is partially that, but it’s also a plain old forum).

torbay

As far as I know, some of the former members of Blackbook have migrated over there, while others have joined similar social networks such as Galaxy2.

Perhaps I should do the same – well, initially, when I tried to sign up, I continually received an error message, but the site wouldn’t tell me what the error was!  I have a feeling that my password was too long.  Since when is 50 characters too long?? 😉

I don’t know what I’ll actually do on the forum, but who knows?  I may make some friends or find out new information.  (By the way – if anyone from Tor is reading this, not to worry…I won’t give your secrets away.)

Beyond that, for research purposes, it would be fun to investigate some of the other “alternative” social networks (excluding the ones for pedos, of course).  The question is…where to find them?

Well, I can’t imagine it would be that difficult.  Believe it or not, things still travel by word-of-mouth on the dark web.

Oh, might they know who I really am now??  Noooooooooooooooooooooo….

 

 

TsalalNet: Another Urban Legend? Probably.

In the process of writing this blog, I’ve been doing a lot of research, and a common factor that keeps coming up is that there are “deeper” levels of the dark web than the ones that we commonly see (e.g. Tor, I2P, Freenet).

One of the urban legends of this nature that’s been passed around is that of the so-called “Mariana’s Web,” which was likely based on the infographic that described levels of the web as being akin to layers of the ocean.  I’m almost 100% certain that this is pure myth, and was invented by someone who wanted to troll people who had never used Tor or other darknets.

And now, supposedly, I’m hearing about another layer of the web called “TsalalNet,” which I’ve come across on sites like this one: Girls Who Like Dragons: tsalalnet.  While I’ve never “been to” this part of the web (if it exists at all), my feeling is that it should be lumped together with the Shadow Web and the Mariana’s Web – a pure urban legend. I believe this in particular because the paragraph below has been reproduced entirely on several different websites; they call them “creepypastas” for a reason!

Notwithstanding, I’ll share the source of the “legend” with you here:

“A lot of discussion has been going around on the subject of the Deep Web (also called Deepnet, the invisible Web, DarkNet, Undernet or the hidden web), though little has been discussed on TsalalNet. I could understand why though; it’s one of the more obscure sites in there. Even for veteraned [sic] members of the deep web, it still remains to be one of the less discussed sites on there.

TsalalNet is a site reserved for the unexplainable areas of the deep web, a place dedicated to media and discussion of the strange and unusual.  Most videos and images contain the usual content found on deep web sites, including child pornography, snuff videos, etc., but with what is described by many as an unusual edge or underlying factor to it all.

The content found in TsalalNet may trouble even some of the [veterans, as] the raw footage of acts including necrophilia or snuff contain a layer of the mystical or unnatural that could not be explained.  Unworldly sounds are heard in accompaniment to the usual grotesque sounds, whilst visuals suggest something ritualistic at play.

This can even be found in pornographic content, with videos of nude children covered in animal entrails becoming subjects to strange ceremonies performed by men in dark suits.  Popular videos include footage of women having miscarriages of grotesque creatures, complex and perhaps occult snuff videos, videos of unexplainable events deemed too graphic and unusual for other sites, and more. 

There are several parts to this story that raise doubts in my mind, in particular the “raw footage of acts…contain a layer of the mystical or unnatural that could not be explained,” and “…footage of women having miscarriages of grotesque creatures.”  If this site does exist at all, then it’s more than likely that these videos are staged.

83768525.gif

Although I did find this one picture…

Beyond the fact that it sounds dubious, I had actually searched for the word “TsalalNet” on Tor and Freenet, and came up with nothing.  I would think that if it existed, people would at least be talking about it on the dark web somewhere.  Of course, if I am wrong about this, and such a site exists, please feel free to correct me!

Early on, when I changed the theme of this blog to be technology-related, I had attempted to explain the whole deep web/dark web phenomenon, and I’m not sure I really succeeded. So let me just put it all out there: terms like “deep web” and “dark web” are really just metaphors!

In the technical sense, the “deep web” means web pages that aren’t indexed by standard search engines, like Google and Bing.  The “dark web” is the part of the web that I frequently talk about on this blog: sites that use anonymity networks and require special software or configurations to access (e.g. Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet).  This diagram explains it the most accurately:

0TQk45P

If it’s any consolation to the jaded dark web explorers out there – even though these names like “shadow web” and “TsalalNet” may be mythical, this does not mean that different parts of the web are nonexistent.  If you visit the Wikipedia page for Anonymity networks, you’ll come across many examples of other networks designed for privacy. Personally, I haven’t explored them all, and there may be interesting content that I have yet to see or discover.

If you go by the infographic above, however, the closest thing to a so-called “Marianas Web” that actually exists would be the private networks or alternative networks that do not use the public internet.

There are also newer anonymity networks that are in the process of being developed – if you want to consider those to be “deeper” than the ones that already exist, go right ahead.

Of note: I’ve read from more than one source that this picture is a more accurate representation of the internet than any of the other infographics – it seems more like a brain or a central nervous system:

Internet_map_1024

What are your thoughts on this?  I, for one, am not disappointed; I still believe there is much to discover out there.