Darkfox: Access the Dark Web with Ease!

darkfox

NOTE: Darkfox will not help you access .clos, .rdos, .lll, or .loky domains. Those don’t exist!! It will help you access .onion, .I2P, and 127.0.0.1:8888 URIs.

by Ciphas

This may sound like an infomercial, but I swear it’s not.

Those of you who use darknets, in particular Tor, I2P, and Freenet, might have noticed that it can sometimes be inconvenient to have to run each one in a separate browser, or at least have to launch the programs separately.

Well, I found a program that makes it simpler to connect to any of these three networks with a simple command: it’s called Darkfox Launcher.

Its advantage is that it lets you access Tor, I2P, or Freenet without having to change your configurations every time. Plus, it’s very simple to use.

The GitHub page goes into a little more detail, but one of the most important questions it answers is: “How does Darkfox Launcher work?”

Here’s the answer: “Darkfox Launcher works by first changing the default profile of the Firefox Portable software and with that, changing the default network configuration. Once this phase is done, Darkfox will proceed by launching the Darknet proxy software to make the connection to the Darknet chosen by the user. When completed, Firefox Portable will boot to the default startpage of that specific Darknet.”

Darkfox is also a convenient way of quickly accessing one of these networks if, say, you need to contact someone through the network and don’t want to go through the process of installing, for example, I2P.

Included in its software package are these things: Firefox Portable Edition, and the proxy software from the Tor Project, the Invisible Internet Project (I2P), and the Freenet Project. If you’re unfamiliar with each of these, it might help to check them out individually first!

So what’s my opinion? I’ve been using it for a little while now, and while it does have a few bugs, I love it. (Besides, what software doesn’t have bugs, especially in the early stages?)

And you may have noticed that, since it’s on GitHub, Darkfox Launcher is also open source. To that end, if you want to fork it and contribute to the code, feel free.

Now, its downside is that it isn’t as secure as the actual Tor browser. So, if you’re doing some kind of hardcore whistleblowing, or engaging in illicit activities, I don’t recommend Darkfox for you. It’s still a work-in-progress, though, so future versions will probably have improved security features.

On a side note, this may just be nostalgia, but its UI reminds me of both the DOS command prompt and the Bash Unix shell. *Nerding out*

While it may not be about bells and whistles, I think Darkfox Launcher accomplishes its purpose well. For more information about it, check out the Darkfox Read Me: https://github.com/blacklight447/Darkfox-Launcher/blob/master/README.md.

If that’s not enough, take a look at its source code here: https://github.com/blacklight447/Darkfox-Launcher/blob/master/darkfox%20code

darkfox_sourcecode

Who knows? Perhaps in the future, it will have the ability to launch Tor and do your taxes.

A Darknet Dictionary (Work in Progress, with Links!)

darr5

by Ciphas

So, given that there seems to be a lot of confusion about certain terms connected with the darknet and/or dark web, I thought it might be useful to have a “darknet dictionary” here. I must give some credit for this idea to Deepdotweb.com, who featured a similar article at DeepDotWeb’s DarkNet Dictionary Project! This isn’t a carbon copy of theirs, but they inspired me.

Their darknet dictionary is an ongoing project, so I think I’ll do the same with mine. If anyone wants to suggest new entries (or corrections) in the comments, feel free! I just may add them.

NOTE: Some links below may be down.

2FA – Abbreviation for “two-factor authentication.” 2FA is a type of multi-factor authentication (MFA), i.e. a user is only granted access to a site after presenting multiple pieces of authentication. Although used on the clearnet as well, 2FA is used on many darknet markets (and other sites) to verify users’ identities.

Example: a username and password, plus a separate PIN or a security question.

img21

Active at Dark Markets? – A Tor hidden service set up by Dutch law enforcement to warn darknet market users that they are being tracked.

activedark.png

Ahmia.fi – A search engine that finds Tor hidden services and I2P eepsites. Also available on Tor at http://msydqstlz2kzerdg.onion/.

ahmia

Alienet – A VPN-based hidden network that offers messaging, mail, IRC, and hidden services. Not as well known as some other darknets, but it is real. Their site is at http://darknetproject.info on the clearnet, or https://unionsoe3yw6fxaq.onion on Tor.

alienet

AlphaBay – Currently one of the top darknet markets on the Tor network. Uses both multisig transactions and a traditional escrow system (depending on the vendor). Access it at this link: http://pwoah7foa6au2pul.onion/register.php?aff=41211

AlphaBay-Home-e1440639625779

AYW – All You’re Wiki [sic]. The Hidden Wiki with all CP links removed.

allyourewiki

Besa Mafia – A fake hitman service that (surprise, surprise) turned out to be a scam. Though a number of people paid to use their “services,” no one was ever hurt or killed. The admin of the site did escape with a number of people’s bitcoins, however.

besa

Bitcoin– A digital currency created by the mysterious “Satoshi Nakamoto” in 2009. Bitcoin incorporates encryption techniques to regulate the creation of new units, and to verify the transfer of funds. The smallest units of bitcoin are called “satoshis.”

bitcoins182way

Bitcoin billionaire yet?

Bitcoin Mixer – A service used to disguise the trail of bitcoins back to their original owner. Often used when buying and selling illicit goods on darknet markets. A few examples of bitcoin mixers are: BitCloak, Grams Helix, and BitBlender.

bitcloak

Blackbook – A former social network on the Tor network, modeled after Facebook. Used to be located at https://blkbook3fxhcsn3u.onion.

Blackbook

Black Market Reloaded (BMR) – A former darknet market on Tor, and one of the oldest, which is currently offline. Plans have been announced for it to restart.

black-market-reloaded-screenshot

Blockchain – A public ledger of all bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. This applies to other cryptocurrencies as well.

blockchaininfo

BotDW – Boss of the deep web.

botdw

Candydoll – A term referring to non-nude photos of children in suggestive poses or sexy clothing. Softcore child pornography, more or less. (Also may refer to makeup kits that are designed for this style of photography.)

NOTE: The screenshot below is from one of the sites selling the makeup kits.

candydoll_makeup.png

Carding – The trafficking of credit cards, bank accounts, website accounts, and other financial or personal information. May or may not take place within larger darknet markets. Some vendors on the dark web specialize in this type of crime.

darknet_forum

Cheese Pizza – Another slang term for child pornography.

Cipherspace – The “hidden internet,” built on top of anonymity networks like Tor, I2P, Freenet, and others.

Clearnet – The “normal internet” accessible without special software or configurations. (e.g. Google, Bing, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) Also sometimes referred to as the “surface web” (though this term is wildly inaccurate and confusing.)

surface-web-anz-tech-anztech-pc-fix-in-manukau-computer-repair-in-penrose

Enough with the icebergs, already!

Cold storage – Keeping a reserve of bitcoins offline (e.g. on a USB drive or encrypted media) to prevent tampering or theft.

coldstorage_bitcoin

CP – An acronym for “child porn” or “child pornography.”

Cryptography – The art of writing and solving codes. With regard to the dark web, it is a means of encrypting data (messages, etc.) that you send over the network.

Daisy’s Destruction – An infamous film made by child pornography producer Peter Scully (see entry), through his company No Limits Fun. The film shows the sexualized torture and abuse of several young girls, one of whom is referred to as “Daisy.” However, the film has reached mythological status on the web, with the details and facts about it being blown out of proportion.

daisy

Darknet – An overlay network that requires specific software, configurations, or permission to access. Examples include: Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet. Some of these networks (like Freenet) have both “darknet” and “opennet” modes, where you can choose whether to connect only to peers that you trust, or connect to anyone.

ccnx_166975_full

Darknet Heroes League (DHL) – DHL is an escrow market comprised of old school vendors who were invited to sell there. Access it at http://darkheroesq46awl.onion.

dhlmarket

Darknet Market – A market hosted on an anonymity network (such as Tor) that often (but not always) deals in illicit goods. Popular purchases include drugs, drug paraphernalia (like pipes), firearms, hacked PayPal accounts, skimmed credit cards, counterfeit money, porn accounts, and fake official documents.

dream_market_drugs

Dark0de (a.k.a. Darkode) – A notorious hacking and cybercrime forum, originally hosted on the clearnet, which transitioned to the Tor network.

DarkodeKoS.png

Dark Mamba – A new “private military company” that claims to offer murder-for-hire services, run by the admin of the old Besa Mafia site. (i.e. another fake hitman site.) Located at https://darkmambawopntdk.onion.

dark-mamba

Dark Web – The part of the web that exists on darknets like Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet, and other networks, and requires special software, configurations, or permission to access. The dark web is a small part of the deep web. The word “dark” does not refer to the content, but rather the fact that the networks are special access.

SIGAINT-attack

Dark Web News – A news site that reports on events that take place on the dark web. Also features bitcoin tutorials, links, and a comparison of darknet markets. Located at https://www.darkwebnews.com.

darkwebnews

DBAN – Darik’s Boot and Nuke – free erasure software that automatically deletes the contents of any hard drive it can detect, developed by Darik Horn.

dban11

Deep Web – The part of the web not indexed by traditional search engines, like Google. This term is often confused with “dark web,” but the two are not synonymous.

91d6d0cc4ed117a62f37c70d97e1a077_original

Deepdotweb – A site that releases news, articles, and occasionally tutorials about the dark web (primarily Tor). They also keep an accurate, updated list of darknet markets that’s very reliable. Can be found at Deepdotweb.com or https://deepdot35wvmeyd5.onion.

deepdotweb3.png

DisconnectA clearnet search engine that prevents other search engines from tracking your searches. It used to be the standard search engine on the Tor browser. Located at https://search.disconnect.me/.

disconnect_search

DNStats.netA site that monitors the status of various darknet markets and a few other sites on the Tor network. Located at https://dnstats.net/ on the clearnet, and https://dnstatstzgfcalax.onion/ on Tor.

dnstats

Doxing – The act of researching and posting someone’s personal information (e.g. phone number, address, full name) on the internet. Takes place on both the dark web and clearnet.

doxbin

Doxxters, The – A group who offers a doxing service for pay. Located at https://doxxtereufvckkiz.onion.

doxxters

Dream Market – Another top darknet market hosted on the Tor network, which uses a traditional escrow system. Access it at http://lchudifyeqm4ldjj.onion/?ai=1675.

dreammarket-drugs3

DuckDuckGo – Currently the standard search engine used on the Tor browser. Is popular with privacy-minded users. Located at https://duckduckgo.com/ on the clearnet, and https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion on Tor.

duckduckgo

Dump – The sharing of stolen data, such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account data. Also takes place on the clearnet, but is more infamous on networks like Tor.

dumpsad

Eepsite – The name for hidden services hosted on the I2P network. They end in the domain name .i2p.

eepsite

Freedom Hosting – A former Tor specialist web hosting service which, at its height in 2013, was the largest hosting service of its kind. Was the target of an attack by Anonymous, as well as a large law enforcement operation headed by the FBI. Has since been succeeded by another service dubbed “Freedom Hosting II.”

freedom_hosting

Freenet – A peer-to-peer network for censorship-resistant communication, touted as an alternative to other networks like Tor and I2P. It features anonymous messaging, email, social networking, and site hosting. A typical Freenet URI looks like this:

USK@MYLAnId-ZEyXhDGGbYOa1gOtkZZrFNTXjFl1dibLj9E,Xpu27DoAKKc8b0718E-ZteFrGqCYROe7
XBBJI57pB4M,AQACAAE/pyFreenetHg/31/

Download it at https://freenetproject.org/.

freenet_mainpage

Freesite – The name used for Freenet’s hidden services.

freenet_fms_setup

FullzIn carding terms, “fullz” refer to full database records of personally identifiable information. Such things might include names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account information, social security numbers, passwords, etc.

SPAM_smtp-rdp-cc-fullz-plus-bitcoin-carding-methods_6115250321125192472-a347a8c0d08d4002b40415e8063cdb64.jpg

Galaxy2 – A popular social network on Tor. It is a follow-up to the original Galaxy social network, created by “Lameth.” Located at https://w363zoq3ylux5rf5.onion.

0b034e7890a8d0073b501f05601a4071

GNUnet – A free software framework for decentralized peer-to-peer networking. It includes P2P applications, such as chat, file sharing, and VPN.

gnunet_screenshot

Grams – A Tor-based search engine for darknet markets, which helps compare goods, prices, and vendors. Tor link: http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion/

grams-black-market-search-engine

HANSA Market – A darknet market with a multisig escrow system. Tor link: http://hansamkt2rr6nfg3.onion/affiliate/110

hansa_market

Hard Candy – Slang term for an underage girl – roughly age 12-16, on both the dark web and clearnet. Also can refer to child pornography featuring girls of this age.

Harry71’s Onion Spider – A popular link repository on Tor. Is respectable because it’s updated daily, and the links are generally accurate and active. Tor link: skunksworkedp2cg.onion

harry71_onion

Helix Light – A bitcoin cleaner available from the developers of Grams. Tor link: http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion/helix/light

helix_light

Hell – Infamous hacking forum formerly hosted on the Tor network, where users share hacking tips as well as stolen data. There is another site currently going by the same name, but it is actually a clone site made with a stolen private key from the original site.

Hidden Wiki – Name for a popular wiki on Tor that links to and describes some basic Tor hidden services (for noobs). The main one is located at http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. There are several other sites that use the name Hidden Wiki as well, but this one is usually the site in question.

hiddenwiki2

Hitmen/Assassins – A service that’s supposedly easy to find on the dark web. All of the sites offering these services have turned out to be elaborate scams, but the myth continues to be perpetuated by creepypastas and rumors.

hitman_network

Hurtcore – Most extreme form of child pornography, involving such things as physical injury and rape, which can be found on the dark web. Avoid at all costs.

screen-shot-2015-09-10-at-8-54-44-pm

Credit: allthingsvice.com

I2P – An overlay network and darknet that allows applications to send messages to each other anonymously and securely. Download it at https://geti2p.net/en/.

I2P_router_console_0.7.7

L33TER – A vendor shop started by L33Ter, vendor from most of the early darknet markets. Specializes in digital and physical products. Located at http://l33ter2w7q4bytfh.onion.

l33ter

LE – An abbreviation for “law enforcement.”

Litecoin – A peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that is based on bitcoin. Find out more at Litecoin – Open source P2P digital currency.

litecoin

Lux – Username of Matthew David Graham, convicted (and imprisoned) owner of child pornography sites PedoEmpire, Hurt 2 The Core, and Love 2 The Core (among others).

matthewdgraham

Mesh routing network – Networks made up of radio nodes arranged in a mesh topology. Examples include Netsukuku, GNUnet, Hyperboria, and CCNx. Many of these are still in beta mode and have not been officially released, but they have been advertised as alternatives to the traditional internet structure being used right now.

netsukuku

Multisig – An abbreviation for “multsignature.” The requirement for more than one key to authorize a bitcoin transaction.

multisig

Credit: deepdotweb.com

not Evil – The premier search engine on Tor. Was originally designed to look like a parody of Google. Located at https://hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion.

notevil-chat

Onionland – A nickname for the Tor network.

2000px-Tor-logo-2011-flat.svg.png

OpenBazaar – A decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace that sells a variety of goods for bitcoin and currently runs on the Tor network. Not a “darknet market,” per se, but uses a similar concept.

openbazaar

Operation Onymous – An international law enforcement operation targeting darknet markets and other Tor hidden services in 2014. Supposedly shut down over 400 sites (although many were clone sites).

xzfzwwhgrbpgguhzhkiu

Outlaw Market – Another of the top darknet markets on Tor. Sells drugs, digital goods, weapons, and other merchandise. Access it at http://outfor6jwcztwbpd.onion/indxx1.php.

outlaw.png

Pedo – A slang term on the dark web for “pedophile.” Refers not only to the people themselves, but related sites and materials. (e.g. PedoEmpire)

PedoFunding – A now-defunct website on Tor run by convicted freelance photographer Richard Huckle. Huckle has since been imprisoned, and received 22 consecutive life sentences.

PGP An encryption standard created by Phil Zimmermann in 1991. The initials stand for “Pretty Good Privacy.” PGP is frequently used to encrypt and decrypt messages on the dark web.

public-key

PlayPen – A large child pornography site that, in 2015, was seized by the FBI and used to catch pedophiles who were accessing the site. This has been one of the more controversial cases, as some have questioned the legality of the FBI’s actions.

Qubes – A security-focused operating system that aims to provide security by isolation. One of many distros that can help provide security and anonymity. Official site: https://www.qubes-os.org/

r3rc1-nalu-desktop-1

/r/darknetmarkets – A subreddit dedicated to information and discussions about darknet markets.

/r/deepweb – A subreddit dedicated to factual information about the deep web and dark web (as opposed to urban legends).

Red Room – A series of mythological sites on the dark web that supposedly feature live torture and murder (see “Shadow Web”). Entrance to these sites (in theory) requires bitcoin, as well as special credentials, such as a password given by an administrator. They are, more or less, an extension of the urban legend of “snuff films.”

All of the ones that have become public knowledge have turned out to be scams, yet many creepypastas and YouTube videos have continued to perpetuate the myth.

darkredroom

Scam/Scammer – In the context of the dark web, someone who purports to be selling certain goods or services, and doesn’t follow through, or misrepresents their intentions (e.g. a drug vendor who never delivers their goods, or a “financial service” designed for identity theft).

sheep-scam1

Credit: Deepdotweb.com 2013

Scream, Bitch! – A hurtcore forum on the Tor network. For those of you thinking of joining, registration is closed.

sb_darkweb

Scully, Peter – An infamous Australian pedophile and producer of child pornography, most notably the film Daisy’s Destruction, which has achieved internet notoriety. Scully had formed his own production company to make these films, called No Limits Fun.

peter_scully

Shadow Web – A fictitious part of the dark web perpetuated by creepypastas and YouTube videos. Supposedly features live torture and murder shows for those who pay the right price. A number of sites on Tor claim to offer access to the Shadow Web, but they are all scams. Here’s one example: Shadow Web Gateway 2.0

shadowweb_3

Silk Road – An online black market, considered to be the first modern darknet market. Launched by founder Ross Ulbricht in 2011, the site was shut down by feds in October 2013.

2013116192258674734_20

Silk Road 3 – An escrow market that used to go by another name, but adopted the Silk Road brand. There has been much speculation as to whether or not the market will exit scam or will be taken down, but it is still currently running. Located at reloadedudjtjvxr.onion.

silkroad30_login

SSH – Stands for “secure shell.” SSH is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network. As with PGP, SSH uses public and private keys to authenticate users.

puttytunnel_06

Suicide Apartment – Members-only social network on Tor (which used to exist on the clearnet). It’s meant to be a site for people who are suicidal and want to find someone else to “leave the world with.” The only way to become a member is to receive a voucher from an existing member.

suicideapartment

Tails – A popular Debian-based live operating system that many dark web users install for extra protection. “Tails” is an acronym for “The amnesic incognito live system.”

tails_screenshot

TLA – An abbreviation for “three-letter agency.” Includes federal agencies such as the CIA, FBI, NRO, NSA, DEA, DHS, and others, who are looked upon with suspicion in the dark web.

hidden_site_seized.png

Tor – An anonymity network on which many “dark web” sites are hosted. The name “Tor” stands for “the onion router.” Frequently, people who say they’re on the “deep web” are referring to Tor. Download it at https://torproject.org.

tbb-screenshot3

TorBay – A Tor-based social network and forum which more or less replaced Blackbook.

torbay

Torch – A simple Tor search engine. Located at https://xmh5752oemp2sztk.onion

torch_search

Traderoute – A traditional and multisig escrow marketplace on Tor.

traderoute

Valhalla (Silkkitie) – Originally a Finnish-only darknet market, now available in English. Valhalla is invite-only, and offers both traditional escrow and multisig transactions, 2FA, and PGP. Requires a referral link to register as either a buyer or a vendor.

silkki

Vendor Shop – Smaller shops started by some of the major darknet market vendors, usually specializing in certain types of items. Examples: Mollyworld and MegaPack.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) – A private network which extends across a public network (internet). Many experts recommend using a VPN in addition to using Tor! (hint hint)

vpn10

Welcome to Dark Web Links and More! – Link list for Tor hidden services. Notable because they do not accept submissions of CP links, and also feature links to Usenet groups. Access it at https://jdpskjmgy6kk4urv.onion/links.html.

welcometodarkweblinks

Zion Market – A newer multisig darknet market without user wallets. Buyers have the option of selecting 2-of-2 (the server and vendor have the keys), or 2-of-3 (the buyer also has a key). Uses 2FA, automated PGP, and Bitmessage alerts. Access it at http://zionshopusn6nopy.onion/_reg23.

zionmarket

Zocalo – A former darknet market specializing in marijuana, hash, and various paraphernalia associated with it. Recently closed due to lack of business.

zocalo_market_weed

Zork – A 1980’s text-based RPG that is now playable on the Tor network (via the not Evil search engine).

zork

P.S. As I said above, this list is far from finished. So I’ll either add more entries in later, or do a part 2 to the post. Anyhow, hope you had fun, and feel free to add your suggestion

Interview: Eileen Ormsby, Author of Silk Road & All Things VICE

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPwAAAAJGEzYjZmMzI4LWY5NTUtNDM1OS05NjY3LTNmZTI1MTYxY2RmMQ

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.

9781742614090

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?

applemarket2

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.

 

 

Freenet Frustrations: FMS, Sone, etc.

freenet_fms_setup

Good morning readers!  The reason I haven’t posted in almost a week is that I’ve been in the process of doing research on other aspects of Freenet, I2P and other networks that I haven’t explored much yet.

The other reason might be that I’ve had a little writer’s block, but that’s normal, right?

So, I’m working on setting up the Freenet Message System (FMS) (you need Freenet for this link), which I mentioned briefly in the post Alternatives to Tor: Freenet.  It’s been a little more challenging than I expected, because first I needed to install the proper software to be able to use the various FMS components.

Second, I needed to actually download the components of the program (O RLY?), which sounds simple, but this is where I had a tendency to get stuck.  The reason for this is that I would start the download process, and then my Freenet node would shut down in the middle of it; thus, I would need to start over again!  I felt exactly like this guy:

201412_0945_bbheh

Of course, I’ve had similar errors on the clearnet too, so that’s no reason to quit.  If you’re having any difficulty downloading and/or installing FMS, I did find an excellent tutorial that covers both Windows OS’s and Ubuntu: CryptNode.org – Freenet Setup FMS on Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10.

The video really does explain in plain English how to go about installing them – maybe I should give it another try too! If you are successful in downloading all of the components, then I would recommend The Unofficial Guide to FMS (You need Freenet for this link).  It does a great job of breaking down the various features of it.

Game of Sones

setup002

In addition to FMS, I’m also working at setting up Sone, which is the official Freenet social network.  Again, it doesn’t seem that hard, but my computer may begin giving me an attitude – I’m not sure.

Just to be nice, though, I thought I’d share this link with you: Freenet Social Networking Guide: Creating a microblogging account with Sone.   According to that, you must first create an identity with WebOfTrust (WOT) plugin, which is also designed to solve the problem of spam on the network.

weboftrust_instructions

Credit for this tutorial goes to my friend Arne Babenhauserheide; I’d like to share at least part of it here with you.

Step 1: Go to the Plugins menu under Configuration (on your node’s home page):

setup001

Step 2: Load the official WebOfTrust plugin:

setup002

Step 3: After plugin has finished downloading, you need to click on the ‘Own anonymous identities’ option on the Community menu.

setup003

Step 4: Freenet will generate a random name for your “new identity.”  Though you can refresh the page and get a new one, it’s recommended that you select the first one that shows up.  When you’ve found one that you like, click “Create.”

CAUTION: If you create multiple identities and only pick ones that you like, it creates a pattern that decreases anonymity.  (The same goes for any characteristic that might deanonymize you on Tor!)

There are more steps to the process, but the full guide, once again, is here: http://freesocial.draketo.de/wot_en.html.  Thanks Arne!!

I’m sure all this isn’t nearly as difficult as it appears to be, I’ve just been held up in the process by slow connections and all that.  Which is why I guarantee you there will be a sequel or two to this post!

Oinkageddon!

stop-im-one-of-you-pig

No, that was not a typo.  For newcomers to Freenet, I’ve said before that there is disturbing material on it, but if you find it, it’s basically because you’re looking for it!

The index called Linkageddon, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, is simply a list of every Freenet site, whether it has offensive material or not.  I’ve come across some highly disturbing things there, but in my mind, it wasn’t cause for alarm.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees it the same way.  According to a 2015 post on Deepdotweb (Police Log IPs, Making Arrest By Planting Own Nodes in Freenet), law enforcement are monitoring Freenet in a similar manner to Tor, targeting certain people. It seems that they’re specifically looking for offenders who possess child porn downloaded through Freenet.

I’ve said this before, but – I’m definitely opposed to the production of child pornography. At the same time, I hate that its existence has become an excuse to shut down networks like Freenet, in which much of the material is perfectly legal.

So it’s kind of a Catch-22, isn’t it?  Well, hopefully Freenet stays up and running, in spite of some of the run-ins with law enforcement.

It’s called Freenet for a reason, after all!

P.S. Here are a couple of legal Freenet links, if you’re interested (as far as I know, there’s nothing disturbing on these):

USK@DXNTwIka7DbpxAa1-TGIkAYE3E3W0BBzfYEm5IIvIOo,TAe7a-w~nR6GzGUs64onIJshzMPzLZuW4-qbD5Vc674,AQACAAE/xkcd/410/

USK@lR9Sq56gUPH4uV6O9UCs-CifnRHCDWx0j~V2a6DwPgY,-ru5J7hDG1rXNGevraEkWVkxHMHohv9mZde5VT237Ec,AQACAAE/Death_for_Global_Warming_Deniers/0/

USK@NAKEVlN5CZ~nUlEnH4WUG8ANfvNZ-RuSUjRjfDHm2bA,R8kjg51bYWCJSwlwK5sOrHUjQ2gjHc7NhCVCWFJ4ncs,AQACAAE/HackZandCrackZ/3/

USK@GqiRYVB9AGvEnbhp3X~F3HDX-AYf60qzeqKgqc-8mvg,6KDbRU4K763XNW3f2XexjaxvRPv7LupK6pv~jEXrlJo,AQACAAE/alleykats_corner/14/

 

How to Access the Dark Web with I2P!

use-i2p-host-and-share-your-secret-goods-dark-web-anonymously.w654

What?  You mean there’s another way to access the dark web?  YES!

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating – Tor is not the only way to access the so-called “dark web,” but it seems to be the most popular at the moment.  In fact, there are many ways to do so.  Oddly enough, many of the trending articles that discuss the dark web act as if Tor is the only way to reach it.

“Dark web” is essentially a metaphor for all the sites built on top of encrypted networks that require special software, configurations or permissions to access.  I must clarify this, however – Tor, I2P, and Freenet are completely separate networks.

On previous posts I’ve mentioned Freenet, but there are other options too, and I2P is one of them.  The reason that it probably doesn’t have the same reputation as Tor, or even Freenet for that matter, is that it’s a bit more complex to learn and use.  (At least that’s my guess).

So, downloading I2P is the easy part; just go to Download – I2P and install it!  The site offers packages for the following OS’s:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • GNU/Linux/BSD/Solaris
  • Debian/Ubuntu
  • Android

The tricky part, as you may have guessed, is the post-install work!  Courtesy of their homepage, I’ll offer the steps:

I2P_post-install-work

After running the installer on Windows, simply click on the “Start I2P” button which will bring up the router console, which has further instructions.

On Unix-like systems, I2P can be started as a service using the “i2prouter” script, located in the directory you selected for I2P. Changing to that directory in a console and issuing “sh i2prouter status” should tell you the router’s status. The arguments “start”, “stop” and “restart” control the service. The router console can be accessed at its usual location. For users on OpenSolaris and other systems for which the wrapper (i2psvc) is not supported, start the router with “sh runplain.sh” instead.

When installing for the first time, please remember to adjust your NAT/firewall if you can, bearing in mind the Internet-facing ports I2P uses, described here among other ports. If you have successfully opened your port to inbound TCP, also enable inbound TCP on the configuration page.

Also, please review and adjust the bandwidth settings on the configuration page, as the default settings of 96 KBps down / 40 KBps up are fairly slow.

If you want to reach eepsites via your browser, have a look on the browser proxy setup page for an easy howto.

Did that read like a foreign language to you?  Congratulations!  It did to me too, at first.  It may make more sense once you actually get into the process of setting it up…or not.

At first, I’ll admit I was somewhat intimidated by I2P, given that you couldn’t just install it and run it without a lot of configuration and forehand knowledge, but now that I’m more educated in that area, it’s kind of fun (believe it or not).  Or maybe it’s because I’m a nerd, I don’t know…

d4f20041254a0727ddce7cb81be9e68c

If you find the homepage’s instructions a bit too technical, there are a number of other sites that “translate” the setup tutorial into a simple guide. Deepdotweb featured one of these guides in this post: Full guide: How to access I2P Sites & Use TheMarketplace.i2p

The Tin Hat also offers a great tutorial here: How To Use I2P | I2P Tutorial & Setup Guide.  Plus, they explain how the network works in layman’s terms!

the_tin_hat_I2P

Screenshot credit: thetinhat.com

Once you have the network up and running and you open it in a browser (e.g. Firefox), you should see a page like this:

I2P_router_console_0.7.7

Credit: 2009 Wikimedia Commons

As it says, that’s the I2P Router Console, and from that page you can configure just about everything about your connection, how much bandwidth you’re using, and what IP address your “identity” appears to be (not unlike Tor, actually)!

Let the Right One In

hand-984170_960_720

I had to include at least one creepy image.

Now, I have to confess that the part where I got held up was when I tried to access actual I2P sites (known as “eepsites”).  I knew I was connected to the network, so that wasn’t the problem.

According to the official I2P FAQ, under the question explaining what eepsites are:

An eepsite is a website that is hosted anonymously – you can access it by setting your web browser’s HTTP proxy to use the web proxy (typically it listens on localhost port 4444), and browsing to the site.

I did this, but I was still unable to access a number of the eepsites (or at least the featured ones on the router console).  Therefore, my thought was that the sites themselves were down.

Either that, or my firewall settings were preventing me from accessing the sites – I plan on modifying those and giving this another try.  Of note: eepsites also tend to go down often (not unlike .onion sites), so that could also be the problem.

But Wait…There’s More!

I2PBote-inbox-0.4

Like its darknet cousin Freenet, I2P offers several main features:

Email/Messaging: I2P has a few different messaging services.  The main ones are a built-in email application and I2P-Bote, a secure messaging platform somewhat akin to Freenet’s FMS (Freenet Messaging System) application.

I2P-Bote is a P2P email service; there is no central server that stores your personal data. Email messages are stored in encrypted form on the computers of other I2P-Bote users, which is how it differs in its structure from standard email services.  No one with the ability to read your emails actually stores them on their servers.

If you check out the link above, it breaks down many of the security features of I2P-Bote, including its encryption method(s), and anonymity components.

I2P-Bote, as opposed to standard email services like Gmail or Outlook, uses cryptographic keys as destinations (i.e. randomly generated numbers and letters.)

sy10500b

This end-to-end encryption is the default with I2P-Bote.  Beyond that, I2P-Bote also sanitizes email headers, taking out any unimportant information, and encrypts what’s left (e.g. the subject line).

I don’t know about you folks, but I find that very reassuring!

IRC (Internet Relay Chat): Some of you are probably already familiar with IRC – it’s been around since the internet’s early days (1988, believe it or not)!  The difference with I2P is that it has an IRC service that allows users to chat anonymously.  Similar services exist on Tor, by the way.  I have yet to use the chat service, but I plan on doing so in the future (and perhaps writing a separate post about it).  According to The Tin Hat’s how-to guide:

“Often controversial topics are talked about in these channels, but nobody is afraid of offering what may be a very valid, but unpopular opinion, pushing you to explore new ideas from new perspectives.”

And I can’t help but be reminded of an episode of Numbers while reading that line where they said this:

numbers_irc

Uhh…no it isn’t.  But I digress.  If you do end up using I2P’s IRC, The Tin Hat recommends the chat rooms #salt and #i2p-chat, which you can connect to by setting your IRC client (such as X-Chat) to 127.0.0.1 on port 6668.  If you already have experience with this, feel free to give me some feedback on how it went!

Torrents: Oh my God, you can torrent over I2P?  Yes – in fact, some would say that gives it an advantage over Tor, which strongly advises against torrenting over their network.

I2P offers The Postman Tracker and I2PSnark.  The former is a lot like The Pirate Bay, and the latter is very similar to µTorrent.  Again, I have yet to try out this feature, but according to my research, the torrenting feature only provides more cover-traffic, which actually improves your anonymity (as opposed to Tor)!

I2P also gives the user an advantage in that they can use it as a proxy for clearnet torrents, like BitTorrent or µTorrent.  That way you’re less likely to get some ominous letter from the RIAA, or have others users spying on your torrents.  It’s not 100% foolproof, but I’d say it’s smarter.  

Beyond that, there is an I2P plugin for the Vuze torrent client called I2P Helper; if you intend to use I2P primarily for torrenting, then it works very well in this context.  I2P Helper allows you to download torrents from both the clearnet and the dark web simultaneously.  To boot, you can configure Vuze to use I2P by itself, or an already running external I2P router.

One of the positive things about using I2P for torrenting is that there is very little child pornography or other questionable material on the torrent trackers (despite claims to the contrary).  Rather, there are quite a few sci-fi books, programming books, leaked government documents, movies, and music.

Its downside, however, is speed, which on average is about 30KBps (compared to roughly 1-2 MB/s on most other torrenting sites).  The trade-off, of course, is the anonymity factor.  You’re much less likely to get discovered and sued by angry record labels and movie studios if you’re using I2P, as opposed to their “cousins” on the clearnet.  So the choice is yours.

Give Me Links!  Give Me Links!

09_Browse_to_Site

All right, you asked for it!  I haven’t vetted any of these links, so enter at your own risk. These links are courtesy of DCJTech.info: DarkWeb Link List.  I have to admit, they’re much easier to remember than most .onion addresses, aren’t they?

Directory (I2P)

File-Sharing and Torrents

Gaming

Messaging

Miscellaneous I2P Sites

OutProxies

Search Engines (I2P)

Shopping (I2P)

Social

Is that enough links to get you started?  Well, I hope you have fun checking them out.

As for me,  I do hope to explore I2P more in the near future; it seems perfectly suited to nerds like me!

With that…it’s off to the darknet again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring the Dark Web on Freenet (Part 3!)

linkageddon-censored

I’ve noticed on trend on various websites lately.  When people use the words “deep web” or “dark web,” they tend to be thinking of Tor – which is why I thought I should talk about Freenet more often!

I’ve mentioned it on several previous posts (for those of you who are new to the blog…welcome!).

Interview: Arne Babenhauserheide of pyFreenet and Infocalypse

Alternatives to Tor: Freenet

This time around, let’s explore some actual Freenet sites (or freesites, as they’re called). While the interface may not look that exciting, that seems to be a common factor across networks like Tor, I2P, and Freenet.

The above screenshot is of Linkageddon, the “uncensored” link list on Freenet.  It lists every freesite, legal or not.  So I figured I’d start with Nerdageddon, which is similar, but removes most of the “offensive” content (though I’m not one to be easily offended).

Nerds We Are…Cool As Us You Wish You Were

nerdageddon_updated

At the time of this writing, that’s the latest iteration of Nerdageddon.  Some of it, as you may or may not be able to see, consists of FMS Sites, which are generated via the Freenet Messaging System (FMS) and are merely chat logs. I skipped over those for the most part.

One of the first sites I checked out was called The Frugal Dungeon Master (remember, you need to be connected to Freenet to access it).  If the title hasn’t clued you in already, it’s meant for players of Dungeons and Dragons (a.k.a. D&D).

dungeons_and_dragons

The text (which I’m sure looks infinitesimally small on your monitor) reads: “Tired of paging through PDFs? Here is a convenient reference for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.  It supports searching, sorting, and filtering.  This version includes the monsters, spells and magic items from the basic rules, the player’s handbook, and the dungeon master’s guide. I’ll add content as time and scan quality permit.

The reference is a Ruby on Rails web application. You can install it on one computer and then access it from any device on your network.”

Ooh, Ruby on Rails!  Now you’ve sparked my interest!  As a burgeoning coder, I plan to eventually learn it, but I’m still working on several other languages at the moment.  As they say:

keep_calm_rubyonrails

This is probably less exciting to those of you who aren’t into RPGs, or don’t code – but there’s more to Freenet, I promise.

P.S. If you don’t code, you may want to get into it – you may like it, you never know!!

Scammers Getting Scammed?

bitcoin_doubler_freesite

I also came across a suspicious looking freesite called Bitcoin Doubler Scripts (pictured above), which made this claim:

“Hi all.  he [sic] last year I was trying to find a good bitcoin doubler but it is not easy because most of the available software is not working.

I found several different versions and remade them to operate [sic] , fully functional software that you can use at any time on Your webpages..

I will soon expand this page which forum board [sic] ,will be good to exchange information about the operation of scripts.

On this moment I have ready four versions.”

He (or she?) then features four download links to the scripts, which I won’t include, because I suspect this is either a scam, or something with malware embedded.  Why do I suspect this?

Well, I’ve seen hundreds of these types of sites on Tor, and I don’t have reason to believe this one’s any different.  Hell, it could be one of the same people who’s offering it on Tor, trying to branch out!

I’ll give you a few examples I’ve seen (I DO NOT SUGGEST USING THESE! YOU WILL GET SCAMMED!!):

100x Your Bitcoins in 24 Hours!

100X_bitcoin_scam

Profit with your coins – and get rich!

10%interest ponzi

20% profit, payed from newer transfers

20%profit ponzi

the hottest dark web ponzi

120%_ponzi

get 5% intrest with your money [sic] 5%interest ponzi

Just the fact that each site looks almost identical (as well as the BTC addresses looking similar) makes me think that it’s the same scammer running all of them.  Plus, the fact that they used the word “ponzi” to describe one of them is very telling.  So I repeat: do not give them your money!

As for the Freenet one, I haven’t tried it so I can’t guarantee anything, but it’s likely just as fake.  Interesting what we discover sometimes, huh?  I hope I was able to prevent a few people from losing their hard-earned bitcoins today.

If you did, then don’t say I didn’t warn you.

As Eddard Stark Would Say…

eddard_stark_meme

For those of you who love Game of Thrones but don’t have HBO or HBO GO, there’s a freesite called TV.Game.of.Thrones that features all of the episodes.

game_of_thrones_site

I’m quite certain you can download them from torrent sites as well, but this was so easy to find, that I just had to throw it out there.  I must confess that I’m way behind in watching this show, but it was a cool find on here.

They also have I2P links in case the Freenet site goes down.

Come on, Where’s the Disturbing Stuff?

lolicon_animated

*Sigh* – I figured this question would come up eventually.  Well, trust me – there are plenty of disturbing and creepy things on Freenet as well.

If you browse through Linkageddon, you may see some sites with the text “Contains underage material.”  If you’re into CP or that sort of thing, that’s probably where you should go.

Now, if it’s something like lolicon, where it’s animated, I find that slightly less disturbing, but I still have to question the motives of someone who finds it sexually arousing.

Well, as you probably know if you visited any of the dark web for some time, there’s child pornography if you’re looking for it.  In my earlier post Dark Web: What Are Candydolls?, I described the phenomenon of “candydolls,” which are essentially underage girls dressed up in adult clothing in a sexual manner.

I have, unfortunately, come across a few sites like that on Freenet – but it’s to be expected if you’re using any kind of anonymity software, so I really wasn’t that surprised by it.

So again – if you really want to see the disturbing shit, just take a look through Linkageddon, and I’m sure you’ll come across it.

Is it For Me?

That being said, I really like Freenet overall, disturbing or not, and I think it has great potential to be a network for all kinds of purposes.  As I have the chance to explore it more, I’ll definitely write some more posts about it.

And yes, I still recommend that you go there – there’s no requirement that you visit the disturbing sites if you don’t want to.

If you see that shit…it’s because you were looking for it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in the Dark Web? Me Too!

0TQk45P

by Secrets of the Dark

I recently read a couple of great posts on Illegally downloaded blog (by author Deku-shrub) regarding the nature of the so-called “deep web/dark web,” etc. – specifically, the ones in question are Internet writings about misunderstandings and Literally the best blog post ever.

In the former, he expresses his frustration over “unashamed use of ambiguous terminology when it comes to describing nebulous memes such as the so called ‘Deep Web’.”  In the latter, he describes how he “created the Wikipedia page for ‘Skunked terms’, a wonderful label…for words that have undergone a marked change from one user to another’ and ‘are likely to be the subject of dispute.'”

As I’ve explored networks like Tor, I2P, and Freenet more, I’ve started to become almost as frustrated with people throwing around such terms loosely (even on the dark web itself!).

It seems that what got the general public (who were previously unaware of the dark web) talking about this sort of thing was the 2013 shutdown of the Silk Road marketplace by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.  Prior to that, in 2011, Gawker published an article called The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable, which created a lot of buzz around the Silk Road, and the Tor network in general:

silk-road-site

While I’m not denying that such things exist (they still do), I think it’s the misinformation that annoys me.  So personally, when I use the term “dark web,” I generally mean networks like Tor, I2P, Freenet, GNUnet, Retroshare, ZeroNet, and OneSwarm.  And when I use the term “deep web,” I generally mean sites that aren’t indexed by standard search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask.com.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Tor has its own search engines as well, such as Ahmia (clearnet URL) and not Evil

As the infographic up top explains, the dark web also includes alternative networks such as SIPRNet, JWICS, and NSAnet, used by the U.S. government to transmit top secret information.

Here are a few screenshots of the networks above:

Candle_Tor

Tor (Candle Search Engine)

i2p

I2P

pad_screenshot

ZeroNet

Screenshot-OneSwarm_2_-_Mozilla_Firefox

OneSwarm

391633_7

GNUnet

244759

RetroShare

Not so terrifying, are they?  I don’t claim to be an encyclopedic expert on the dark web (just yet), but I have explored several of these networks (Tor, I2P, and Freenet, specifically), and they aren’t always as scary as the horror stories make them out to be.  In fact, if you had the know-how, you could literally create your own darknet that was only meant to be accessible to a select few people.  That, too, would technically be part of the dark web.

So, then, what about all the “horror videos” like Top 15 TERRIFYING Deep Web FactsHorrifying Deep Web Stories “Why I Quit Hacking”, etc.?  Based on my personal experience, I’d say they contain some truths, some half-truths, and some flat-out lies.

For example, the Top 15 video mentions bitcoin as if it’s this “evil currency” only used for illegal goods.  It is used in many drug and gun sales on darknet markets, but like any currency, it’s not bad in and of itself.  This may seem like common sense, but the reason that bitcoin is used so much on darknet markets is that it’s harder to trace than something like a credit card (but not impossible).

In my personal experience – yes, the dark web does contain some disturbing things, but some of it is merely personal sites made by techies, or sites like Wikileaks, which you can also find on the clearnet.

I realize there are worse things out there, but it’s not hell on earth…or if it is, I haven’t been there yet.

1280px-The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_by_Bosch_High_Resolution

This is what the rest of the dark web looks like.