Red Rooms Don’t Exist (Here’s Why)

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by Ciphas

In an effort to get more connected with you, my readers, I’ve decided to do a little how-to here. So I thought that, rather than just say “all red rooms are fake,” I’m going to go through how to spot a fake red room on the dark web.

What prompted this? Well, on my previous post, I received this comment:

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In case that’s hard to read, here it is in slightly larger text:

“there are many red rooms its [sic] just a matter of finding them although I wouldn’t suggest it, i posted a link below. http://222222222kjhiqzb.onion/”

I actually checked out that link, and it looked all too familiar. Why’s that? Well, Mutahar (a.k.a. SomeOrdinaryGamers) featured it on his “Deep Web Browsing” series: THE “REAL” RED ROOM!?!

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I watch those videos purely for entertainment, but yes, Muta does visit some real sites on the Tor network. (And a few on the clearnet too.)

That does not mean, however, that any of these are real red rooms. In fact, he even says so in the same video!!

The experts say they’re all fake (and I’m inclined to believe them), but let’s just play devil’s advocate and say that there are a few real ones.

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I have come across more than my fair share of sites on Tor (and elsewhere) that claim to be red rooms. Most of them have a few things in common:

  1. They claim to show video streams of live torture, murder, and other acts.
  2. They require you to pay – usually large amounts of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
  3. They often ask you to download “special software,” like an alternative browser.
  4. They sometimes will link you to an alternate site to do the transactions.
  5. They almost always use a Tor-based email service – a common one is SIGAINT.
  6. They sometimes have a graphic image on the main site, usually taken from a horror film, to symbolize the acts of violence that would take place in the red room.
  7. They sometimes have a login page, which you can supposedly access after you pay.
  8. They won’t show you any sort of sample content beforehand.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.

Anyhow, if any of you have really used Tor, you probably have some idea of how slow it is. If you don’t understand why it’s slow, then allow me to direct you to their FAQ: Why is Tor so slow?

Part of the answer is: “Before we answer, though, you should realize that Tor is never going to be blazing fast. Your traffic is bouncing through volunteers’ computers in various parts of the world, and some bottlenecks and network latency will always be present. You shouldn’t expect to see university-style bandwidth through Tor.”

OK…but the red room sites say that I have download a special browser to watch the show!

Why is this? Because, in all likelihood, if these sites are asking you to download and install special software, the software in question probably has some kind of malware embedded in it.

Do you know what a RAT (remote access trojan) is? Allow me to direct you to TechTarget: What is RAT (remote access trojan)? Essentially, it’s a type of malware program that includes a back door to allow remote access to the victim’s computer.

I don’t know this from personal experience, but it’s my best educated guess. And a lot of these sites started popping up on Tor after the creepypastas and YouTube videos about red rooms became more popular – are you really that surprised?

The Shadow Web – Re-Re-Visited!!

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I’ve done several previous posts about the so-called Shadow Web, an urban legend which I believe became popular after the creepypasta “A Warning To Those Accessing The Shadow Web” passed around.

After this, a plethora of sites popped up on the Tor network (and other networks, like Freenet) claiming to offer access to the Shadow Web.

In a similar manner to the red room sites, the Shadow Web sites claim that this is a special portion of the dark web only accessible through “special software” that you need to pay to download.

Again, not to repeat myself too much – I’ve never gone so far as to actually download the software, but I suspect that it’s infected with some kind of malware – what, I couldn’t say. I’m glad that I haven’t fallen victim to this, to be honest.

I have actually corresponded with the admin in charge of some of these Shadow Web sites, and he basically told me what I said on the “fact list” above – it’s a live torture show, you need to pay, and you need download a special browser to view it.

And yes, I know that lots of the creepypastas on Reddit and YouTube talk about the “shadow web”; I assume that they’re all bullshit. I still find them entertaining anyway. But I also find The Texas Chainsaw Massacre entertaining!

If any of you want to take the risk of paying for this and viewing it, go right ahead. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I imagine there are other sites like this, too – but I have my doubts that any of them are genuine.

Questions? Comments? Please! Let me know!

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Red Room Response!

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by Ciphas

So, I received an interesting comment on one of my older posts today, specifically the one Red Rooms Finally Debunked Forever? The comment read as follows:

Are you crazy? Have you not even heard of the likes of people such as Peter Scully? People who have been put in jail for doing stuff EXACTLY like this?? What confuses you about these?? Just cuz it doesn’t fit under the perfect, stupid made-up “red room” criteria that a bunch of basement-dwelling, reddit and 4chan teen faggots created?? This stuff is very real.

Let me clarify something: in spite of the title of the post using the word “debunked,” I wasn’t necessarily saying that nothing like that exists. I was merely speculating about the possibility that it might or might not exist (which I’ve done a lot on this blog).

I am well aware of the case of Peter Scully and his torture/CP videos. I’m also aware of the case of Matthew David Graham (a.k.a. “Lux”), who ran the hurtcore sites “PedoEmpire,” “Hurt 2 The Core,” and “Love 2 the Core.” For more information about that case, read Deepdotweb: PedoEmpire’s “Lux”: Matthew David Graham Jailed for 15 Years.

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Trust me – I know that there is sick shit on the dark web, and have even seen a few things that made me want to throw up or go hide underground. What I was trying to debunk was the idea of live murder in which the audience could participate.

As I’ve said in other posts, the Tor network, Freenet, and some other darknets tend to load pages so slowly that it would be near-impossible to live stream video over them.

If the definition of a red room is: “A web site on the dark web that shows the live torture and/or murder of a victim, and is one in which audience members can pay to participate,” then these networks would barely be able to support that because of latency.

On the other hand, one of the things which does exist on certain sites is that dedicated members have special access to hidden sections of the site. In the case of Mr. Graham, some of his sites allowed members with special privileges to direct and film their own CP videos, which they then would upload on the sites.

The notorious Peter Scully was one such member, and he eventually started his own production company called No Limits Fun, which would produce such videos. Apparently, he also offered pay-per-view streams of these videos. (In case you haven’t heard, people are now calling for the death penalty in his case; he hasn’t officially been sentenced yet.)

As horrific as this all may be, I don’t think the audience members could participate in the videos; they were previously recorded.

That being said, there might be something of this nature that still exists, but if there is, I haven’t found it.

I’m not denying that there are sick things or sick people on the internet, but I was merely trying to look at it from a rational point of view.

I have read stories from a few people who say that they’ve seen such things, but I don’t have enough evidence to confirm or deny these stories. One of the stories you can find here: My visits to the darkest sites on the deep web. (Make of that what you will; I don’t know if it’s true or not.)

I also talked to a writer on Quora who wrote about such an experience, but again, I can’t verify whether it’s true or not – it just seemed very genuine, so judge for yourself: What is the worst thing you’ve seen on the deep web? (And yes, I know they said “deep web” and not “dark web.” They meant “dark web.” Cut them a little slack.)

Finally – if you are someone who has personal experience viewing a red room, then I stand corrected. I was only speaking from my experience, and what I had read and learned about how most darknets work.

If you have seen this and have the guts to comment on it, feel free.

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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

So-Called Red Room Site: A Creepy Experience

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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

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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??

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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…

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Exposed: Mariana’s Web Scam on Tor!

scam_alert

Good morning, readers!  How is everyone?  (Or as I say to my Italian fans, “Buongiorno, lettori! Come stanno tutti?”)

Since I recently branched out into the “business” of exposing scams on Tor and other networks, I thought I should share another one that I came across recently.

In my earlier post A Blog About So-Called Mariana’s Web?, I speculated about the possible existence of a network called Mariana’s Web (although my suspicion is that it doesn’t really exist).  It’s an enjoyable blog to read, but some of it has the feel of a sci-fi novel.

The creator of the site that I found the other day entitled it Your only chance to ACCESS the Marianas Web, and it looks very similar to the Shadow Web sites that I had written about on other posts.

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Here are the sites that went by the name of “Shadow Web” or “Gateway to the Shadow Web”:

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I could’ve made this page in about 5 minutes.

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Ooh, now they’re using creepy graphics!

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And now they’ve added a big yellow logo at the top!

Are you sensing a theme here yet? Not only do these sites look similar, but several of the bitcoin addresses use the Satoshibox site for sending bitcoins, which seems suspicious to me:

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I’ve heard of other scammers using the same service for payment as well.  Although there’s no way to know for certain, it isn’t a good sign when there are three or four sites advertising what is essentially the same thing with different graphics.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t legitimate reasons for using Satoshibox, but it’s rare that I come across people using that specific site on the dark web, with the exception of this “Shadow Web” crap.

Granted, they do use different BTC addresses, but if it is the same scammer, then he or she is probably just using multiple addresses to appear as different individuals.  In the previous post, where I had looked at the “dark web ponzis” on Tor, it looked as though the same individual was using a number of different BTC addresses as well – but the sites looked so similar that it was obvious that the same person was running them.

A few of the “Shadow Web” sites even featured the same email address as the contact email, which is why I suspect that it’s just the same person that I talked to in Dark Web Sites That *Claim* To Be Red Rooms. He’s even posted on several Tor forums advertising his site, which makes me think he was getting desperate for money.

My point is that it looks as though someone (possibly the same person in all cases) is simply trying to profit off of a popular urban legend and creepypasta.

I’ve said it before, but “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  This applies to the dark web as well – in fact, it especially applies to the dark web!

If you really want to, you can shell out the money to access the “Mariana’s Web,” but I DON’T recommend it, because I know that several people have been scammed by the “shadow web” sites.  If it’s the same person running them, then you’re SOL.

In any case, have fun on the dark web.  Keep your cash close, and your bitcoins closer!

 

 

The So-Called *Shadow Web* is Fake!

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Yeah…this is probably another one of those “I told you so” moments, but according to one of my favorite YouTubers, namely SomeOrdinaryGamers, all the sites that call themselves “The Shadow Web” are fake: BEST CUSTOM POKEMON!! – Deep Web Browsing 45  (It’s the first site he reviews in the video.)

He backs up his claim by saying that people had specifically messaged him and told him that they had been ripped off by this specific site!

I really am not that surprised by this, because in my earlier post Dark Web Sites That *Claim* To Be Red Rooms, I corresponded with whomever the webmaster of this site was, and he refused to even show samples of his content unless you paid all the bitcoin up front.  (Geez, even legal porn sites usually show you a few pictures first.)

And I’ve come across several other sites that have also claimed to be red rooms (which I think I mentioned in some of my first few posts). Now that I have a bit more experience on the dark web, I’m guessing that those sites were fake too.

On the Other Hand…

Nevertheless (and you may find this surprising), it’s still my opinion that something like red rooms may exist, although not quite in the way that people think.

Yes, you heard that right. Despite the fact that many people make claims to the contrary, I still think that they could exist. Now, I don’t have definitive proof of this, but let me explain.

Given that there are already incredibly sick things on the dark web (and I don’t just mean Tor!), it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to think that there could be snuff films. One of the main arguments that red rooms couldn’t exist on the “dark web” is that its routing tends to be so slow that it would be impossible to live-stream something.

While murder is obviously illegal (in most countries, to my knowledge), people have made videos of torture and murder before, and there’s also a market for it.  It must be the human fascination with death or something.

In the video Do Red Rooms Exist? 3 Deep Web Clues That Hint At the Existence of Red Rooms, YouTuber Be.Busta gives compelling evidence for their existence.  One of the cases he refers to is that of Peter Scully, the man behind the notorious Daisy’s Destruction and other child abuse films (made by his production company, No Limits Fun).

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Scully apparently did show videos of torture online through the dark web (although not necessarily over Tor).  This is one of the major misconceptions about the dark web: it’s comprised of many networks – Tor is just the most popular.  If you had the knowledge to create your own darknet, you probably could figure out how to stream video over it.

Is anyone familiar with the HORNET (high-speed onion-routing network) project?  I’m still working on understanding it, but it aims to create the same privacy as Tor, but at a much faster speed.  If you could have both the anonymity and the ability to stream video, I think that you could at least revise that part of the argument (that the dark is web too slow to live-stream anything.)

It definitely wouldn’t be advertised so blatantly.  Once you knew how to access it, you would probably also have to pay a fortune in bitcoin.  An operation like that would not be offered cheaply, and if it’s something that people have a genuine desire to see, I’m sure it would be lucrative.

Interestingly, I came across this article today while researching: Random Interviews: The Red Room Human Trafficker.  Now, before you jump all over me and say that it’s fake, I never claimed that I could verify it – but, at the very least, it’s convincing.

To sum it up: the author, Daclaud Lee, interviews a man who claims to be a “red room human trafficker.”  He describes how he got involved with a group who make “red room” videos, and that he’s one of the people who actually kidnaps the victims. I think the interview is fictitious, but it makes a compelling argument.

Are Snuff Films the Stuff of Legend?

Well, OK – it depends on your definition of “snuff film,” but The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “a movie in a purported genre of movies in which an actor is actually murdered or commits suicide.”  Some would include in this definition that they must be made for profit, which isn’t always the case, but videos of real murders and suicides exist.

It’s worth noting.  Consider the fact that some serial killers like David Parker Ray, Luka Magnotta, Tsutomu Miyazaki, and the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs, Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuk (i.e. the creators of the video “3 Guys 1 Hammer”) have photographed and filmed the torture and murder of their victims.  Also, consider the fact that “3 Guys 1 Hammer” and “1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick” have gone viral, and it doesn’t seem so strange to imagine that people would want to watch live murder.

Just to clarify: I’m not saying that I support such a thing, or that I’d want to watch it, but just the mere fact that so many people deny the existence (or even the possibility) of red rooms makes me consider the opposite.

And were I ever to come across a real one, well…I wouldn’t be able to unsee it.  I can say that with absolute certainty.

I think I’ll go watch cat videos now.