NewPipe: A Decentralized YouTube and More

In truth, the purpose of the dark web is really anonymity (hence the word “dark”). Of course, with all of the sensational reporting about it, you wouldn’t think this is the case.

This is what has kept me interested in it, two years later. In the same vein, I’ve become fascinated with other decentralized apps as well.

Like many of you, I enjoy music and film, and of course I love watching YouTube. One of its downsides, of course, is that it has copious ads, and the number of ads seems to have increased as of late. This may be because YouTube is pushing for people to subscribe to their YouTube Red streaming service (and more recently, YouTube TV) – both of which are paid services.

youtube_tv_devil

 

If you can afford them, that’s great, but at the moment, that’s not an option for me, which is why I decided to check out NewPipe, a YouTube frontend that is intended to be used without the proprietary YouTube API or Google Play’s proprietary media services.

Essentially, it looks like a stripped-down version of YouTube, and can play the same videos, but without all the ads and tracking. Its interface looks like this:

newpipe-2

In case you’re wondering – no, that’s not my screenshot, although I don’t mind some Die Antwoord once in awhile. Like YouTube, NewPipe has a search function at the top, as well as autosuggest.

Also, like YouTube, it allows you to subscribe to channels and make playlists. Plus, on NewPipe you can easily download videos, for which YouTube does not have a function. Previously, when I wanted to do that, I would install some external application (some of which turned out to be rather sketchy in retrospect).

I haven’t played around with it enough yet to see if it has any “secret” functions, but it doesn’t appear to.

On top of all that, NewPipe is open source, which YouTube isn’t. In terms of the whole privacy/safety debate, that gives NewPipe an edge over YouTube. Now, it’s still a fairly new app and I’m sure it has bugs, but as I always say, if you’re a developer, feel free to contribute your knowledge and expertise. Their GitHub repository is here: TemNewPipe/NewPipe.

This is not to say that I’ve quit YouTube altogether, but I have become aware that some of my apps are stalking me, and I wouldn’t having the option to look elsewhere.

Don’t believe me? See what happens next time you Google “sex toys” and then watch YouTube videos.

I guarantee you’ll see an ad for butt plugs – or something along those lines.

 

 

 

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What the Deep Web/Dark Web Isn’t!

by Ciphas

torbay

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

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

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

According to Wikipedia:

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

And as for the term “dark web”:

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

welcometodarkweblinks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Rooms Don’t Exist (Here’s Why)

welcome-to-the-game-red-room

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:

redroomcomment

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!?!

darkredroom

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.

paniq-room

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!!

shadow_web

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!

redroom

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.”

34550d

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.

whyiquithacking

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)?

paniq-room

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?

ALICIAredroom

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])?

AlphaBay-Home-e1440639625779

AlphaBay Market

 

silkroad30_login

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.

grams_search_engine

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!

indiegogo_darkestalley

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.

 

 

 

Dark Web Myths (feat. Sad Satan!)

sadsatan

Oh, Here’s to My Sweet Satan

Before anybody says, “Oh, that’s old news,” I realize that the furor over the game Sad Satan, which was first reported on June 25, 2015, has basically died down. So what can possibly be added to it now that hasn’t already been said?

Well, I’d like to take this opportunity to examine a phenomenon regarding the deep web/dark web.  Ever since the terms “deep web” and “dark web” became buzzwords, it was almost as if you could simply attach one of those terms to a picture, video, etc., and instantly it would begin receiving thousands of views!

In the case of Sad Satan, for the average person playing it, it was definitely a disturbing game (creepy music, unsettling atmosphere, etc.)  To boot, many of the photos shown in it are references to child abuse and pedophilia (e.g. Jimmy Savile and Margaret Thatcher, serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki), as are some of the audio clips (e.g. Jim Morrison singing “Show me the way to the next little girl”).

But really, there was never any proof that it came from the “deep web.” (If someone has evidence to the contrary, feel free to reply.)  The uncensored version of it did have a few gory images, and one shot of child pornography (not dozens), but that still doesn’t mean that the game came from the deep web or dark web.

In all likelihood, it was the owner of the YouTube channel Obscure Horror Corner who created the game (both the censored and uncensored versions); I’m not the first to theorize this.  Before making the Sad Satan videos, I don’t think his channel was all that popular, but after word spread about the game, it began to really take off.  Hell, it even has a Know Your Meme page: Sad Satan | Know Your Meme – though this has yet to be “confirmed.”

franz

Nonetheless, with the words “deep web” attached to it, it gained that much more mystery and intrigue.  That’s just my theory, anyway.  If you haven’t yet seen the censored version of the game on OHC’s channel, here are the videos (sans child porn and gore images):

Sad Satan – Deep Web Horror Game – Part 1

Sad Satan – Deep Web Horror Game – Part 2

Sad Satan – Deep Web Horror Game – Part 3

Sad Satan – Deep Web Horror Game – Part 4

Sad Satan – Deep Web Horror Game – Part 5

The one real mystery that remains about it is who really created the game (except, of course, to the creator(s) themselves).

Picture This…The Dark Web!!!

privatefox

Believe it or not, the screenshot above is of a real dark web site (called PrivateFox Bookmarks).  Creepy, but a little underwhelming, isn’t it?  If you’ve never been on the Tor network, a lot of the sites look like that.  Hardly the stuff of horror videos.

There are, nevertheless, an abundance of YouTube videos that go by names like “Top 10 Most Disturbing Things on the Deep Web,” or “Most Disturbing Deep Web Facts,” etc.  While some of these are true, many are highly exaggerated or just downright inaccurate.

For example, there’s one video entitled Deep Web Disturbing Pictures! You Have NO Idea!  While I will admit that some of the pictures shown are disturbing or scary, few if any of them are from the dark web.  At the very least, the channel owner, “Midnight Fears,” added a disclaimer at the beginning: “These pictures are ONLY for the sake of ambiance.  For a real deep web story click here. ‘Confessions of a Deep Web Hacker.’  WOW!”

disturbingdeepwebpics

Another questionable video is entitled Top 15 TERRIFYING Deep Web Facts, from the channel Top15s (which is also horror-themed).  Based on my dark web experience, some of the things he states in the video are true, but some are quite wrong (or at least dubious).

Case in point: the first “fact” he discusses are the supposed contract killers present on the dark web (not “deep web”!).  While it is my opinion that there may be some legitimate contract killer services, it’s more conceivable that most of them are mere scams (as many of the paid services on Tor are).

11zbql

In the very same video, the narrator discusses the Cicada 3301 phenomenon (and he pronounces it “sick-uh-duh.”). While that has received mentions on the dark web (and sometimes clues are posted there), I doubt that it originated on the dark web.  Again, correct me if I’m wrong, my fellow dark web explorers! My guess is that they were hard up for 15 actual facts about the dark web, so they used things like Cicada 3301 as filler.  Some of their statements were accurate, such as “Malware can easily be obtained,” but others are just flat-out-wrong.

(Ironically, I actually do enjoy watching the videos from the Top15s channel.)  There are quite a few YouTube videos like this one.  And I’ve said this before – there are disturbing things on the dark web, but most of the videos and fictional stories blow it out of proportion.

Beyond that, you sometimes have to put in the time and effort to find said disturbing things.  Much of the dark web that I’ve seen (so far, anyway) consists of link lists, forums, and search engines.  Occasionally, those sites will come up with disturbing material, but you’ll have to wade through all the neutral stuff to find it.

I confess that I’m not a hacker (yet), but if you use various techniques such as SSH tunneling and others, you’ll come across content that the average user won’t be able to find.

Don’t ask me what – I’m still digging!

 

Dark Web Sites That *Claim* To Be Red Rooms

 

scam_alert

UPDATE: Apparently, this post was listed as a reference on RationalWiki – Red Room, but then someone put one of those little “look of disapproval faces” ಠ_ಠ next to it.  Just to clarify – the email exchange did take place (you can see it in the screenshots below), but I never claimed that any of the red room sites were real.  People have specifically said that they’ve lost money to some of these sites; so please don’t give your bitcoins to any of them!!

Unlimited Access to the Shadow Web

When I first started discussing the dark web, I did a post about red rooms entitled Are Deep Web Red Rooms Real?; of course, I was referencing that persistent urban legend that comes up on YouTube and elsewhere frequently.

I still have yet to find a genuine red room, but this time around, I thought I’d discuss the sites that call themselves red rooms, but are highly suspicious in nature.  I’m not including the so-called “ISIS Red Room” in this, because that one is clearly fake (and has been well-publicized as such).

The other well-publicized fake red room was the A.L.I.C.I.A. red room, which, although fake, was rather creepy: ALICIA Deep Web que oculta esta pagina.  You know, this one, with the recorded sounds?

ALICIA.jpg

As far as I know, the A.L.I.C.I.A. onion site is no longer running.  So, onto the ones that are still up:

Fake Red Room #1

I’ve come across one site that is labeled “Shadow Web Red Rooms,” combining two different myths into one.  The myths in question are the so-called “Shadow Web,” which is probably based on A warning to those thinking of accessing the shadow web; and the general myth of red rooms, which are (supposedly) sites in which someone is tortured and murdered on a live stream.

The site I’m thinking of looks like this (This one’s also been referenced on YouTube): shadowweb_redrooms

For the average person, this probably sounds disgusting, right?  On the other hand, if you’re one who’s actually seeking out red rooms, it sounds too good to be true.  (“All the vivid details!”  “…red room shows are free for one year!”)

Supposedly, with this site, you have to download some kind of customized browser in order to watch the live streams (because, let’s face it – it’s near-impossible to live stream over the Tor network).  Most of the sites that claim to be red rooms ask you to download some special software…this is getting more dubious by the minute.

While, in theory, this is possible, I’m highly suspicious of any site that asks me to download “customized browsers” or “customized software” that I’m unfamiliar with, particularly if that software is designed to watch something like live murder.  My feeling about this one is that it’s an FBI honeypot site, or simply a scam (and we all know Tor is rampant with scams – those are the most common).

I have come across several other sites like this, where you basically had to do the same thing – send them an email, they would reply with a bitcoin address, and then they would give you the info on how to access it.  (Hmm…that doesn’t sound fishy at all!)

If anyone knows for sure whether or not this site has any validity to it, let me know. Perhaps my friends over at Stop Tor Scam | List of Possible Tor Scams With Proofs or Illegally downloaded blog can investigate this one.  (Not that I’m suggesting anyone watch snuff films, but…)

Shadow Web, Revisited!

In one of my earliest posts, Is the Shadow Web a Reality? (Updated), I discussed another well-publicized site that called itself “The Shadow Web,” that basically looked like this:

shadowweb_ss

One of the strange things about this site is the link at the bottom, which leads to a YouTube video of the aforementioned creepypasta. Now, this is highly suspicious, because why would someone running a genuine red room featuring torture and murder care about a stupid creepypasta (particularly if it were inaccurate)?

The same person (or people) maintain a site that looks like this:

shadowweb_2

The bitcoin address is different, but the email address is the same, leading me to the conclusion that it’s the same scammer.

So here’s the update: there’s yet another site that calls itself The Shadow Web, which looks very similar, except that there’s a large yellow logo at the top:

shadowweb_3

This site, like its previous incarnation, has an oddity in the description (not shown in the above picture): they claim that “You can access free 100s of other websites with special extension like .LLL / .rdos” if you pay the bitcoin fee and join.  Personally, I’ve only just heard of these top-level domains, but I highly doubt that they exist, because I’ve looked at lists of all the existing TLDs, and never seen these names before.

If they’re not completely made up (and this “shadow web” thing works at all), then they may have been created exclusively for this network.  Still, it strange that I want to try this out just to see if it actually works?

It is, oddly enough, run by the same person (or people) as the previous site, because the contact email address at the bottom is the same (which also raises some red flags).  So this time around, I decided to correspond with the supposed person in charge:

sigaint_shadowweb

 

Me: Hi there – I’m interested in accessing the shadow web, but I’d like to know, can you show a sample of the content first?  Thanks.

Shadow: Hi, sorry for the delay. We got many many mails with many questions. Unfortunately your mail goes in our spam folder. We just discover it. To your question. outside the shadow web. If I do, I will loose access to several important pages. You can trust us. It works 100%. Its [sic] a software package with a special browser and a manual how to install and use it. Its very easy to install. Works on every OS. It comes with several key-files, you need this for getting access to these sites. If you have further questions let me know.

“You can trust us.  It works 100%.”  Where have I heard that before?  Only in every spy movie and crime show I’ve ever watched.  So I wrote back again, asking for some clarification on the matter.

 

sigaint_shadowweb2

Me: Hi – thanks for your reply.  I do have some other questions.  How do I know that the software you require doesn’t have malware embedded in it?

It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I have been infected with malware via Tor sites before, and I want to be careful.  Thank you for getting back to me, though.

And remind me, how many bitcoin do you charge again?

sigaint_shadowweb3

Shadow: Hi, it would make no sense to have a malware [sic] in the browser. The browser works for SW only.  Its not possible to open other websites like CW or Tor. [ok…hmm…]

You can run it in a VM.  You can scan it with all apps.

Its not useful to spy anything.  If you have access to the SW there is not more you need…

Just 0.5 BTC is ok.  It covers my expenses for my servers and websites.

Thanks for PGP.

I will use it if I sent you the links if you buy.

For the safe and totally anonymous way I do the payment with the satochibox [sic].  You can click on the link.  It will open a box where you get the wallet.  Its [sic] an anonymous wallet from satochibox.  The bitcoin will then sent from them to my wallet.  After payment you get the download links for the software, SW Browser and keyfiles for access the network.

If you don’t want to use the satochibox you can sent the BTC to my wallet

After receiving I sent [sic] you the files from this mail.

Up to you how you like.

Don’t worry everything is clear and safe.  I’m not a scammer. 

“I’m not a scammer.”  Ah, now I feel so reassured!  By the way, there are many reports of people getting scammed through Satoshi box as well: SatoshiBox.com Reviews and Ratings.  As they say, “A fool and his bitcoins are soon parted.”

Well, this is where we left it off, but I’m highly reluctant to trust anyone who wants me to send them bitcoin with no reassurance that they’ll give back what’s promised.  You know what would be hilarious?

If “Shadow” saw this blog post and tried to defend his (her?) position!

What I would like to know is if anyone else who has more experience with Tor than I do has corresponded any further with people offering similar “services.”

As a matter of fact, YouTuber Seek the Truth featured a video called Deep Web Red Rooms 2, examining the legend and investigating some of the sites that claimed to be red rooms.  In it, he has a very similar conversation to the one I had with the “shadow web” guy.  It just strikes me as odd – it can’t be a coincidence, can it?  For all I know, it’s the exact same person using a different email address.  Check the video out; it’s quite interesting!

So, my fellow dark web users – do you know if all of these instances are definitely scams?  Have they tried to pull other such ripoffs?

Besides, if this is anything like the “red room” in Fifty Shades of Grey, I’ll pass, thanks.  (*shudder*)

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Is There Accurate Dark Web/Deep Web Info Out There?

Oddly enough, yes, I think there are places you can find it.  You might have to look a little bit to find them, but if you use the right source(s), there are some reasonable YouTube videos and sites that explore the dark web (whatever you want to call it).

This can be particularly helpful for those who are curious but don’t want to explore the dark web themselves.

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, I believe, but there’s a Youtuber who goes by the name of SomeOrdinaryGamers (a.k.a. Mutahar), and he’s started a weekly series called Deep Web Exploration.

Mutahar_of_someordinarygamers

Yeah.  This guy.

Anyway, the reason I personally like his “deep web” videos over some of the others is that they’re non-sensationalized, funny, and even informative.  He seems to be the type of guy who knows what he’s talking about, and although he shows some deep web and dark web sites, it’s not done in an overdramatic or scary manner.  (In fact, I find them hilarious – it’s his commentary that makes them worth watching.)

Occasionally, he does visit some of the more disturbing sites, but it’s YouTube, of course, so the more graphic material is blurred out.

Here are links to a few of the specific episodes:

HUMAN EXPERIMENTS! – Deep Web Exploration (Episode 2)

The Scary Part of the Internet!

ILLUMINATI DOCUMENTS! – Deep Web Exploration (Episode 3)

HOW TO MURDER? – Deep Web Exploration (Episode 4)

Dark Web Stuff

stufftheydon'twantyoutoknow

Another great resource for general deep web and dark web information is the channel Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know, which has a series of videos basically explaining the deep web and dark web.

They don’t go into a lot of detail about specific sites, but if you’re brand new to the subject and want to learn more without visiting the dark web firsthand, this channel has some great videos.  Currently, they feature three:

Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know: What is the deep web?

The Deep Web: A New Silk Road?

The Deep Web: Digging Deeper

What makes them different from all the other deep web and dark web videos?  Well again, they talk about it without over-sensationalizing it, and they still manage to make it funny and informative.

Good Ad-VICE

vice_deepweb

VICE also has a number of very good articles about the dark web (sometimes they refer to it as the “deep web,” but they use the terms interchangeably.)

I like their posts for the same reason I like the other two here – they’re funny and entertaining, but at the same time, they’re pretty accurate.  Check out some of these articles for some sane, factual info on the dark web.

Some of these posts are older, but they’re still good:

VICE Motherboard: Study Claims Dark Web Sites Are Most Commonly Used for Crime

Dark Web Vendor Sentenced for Dealing Counterfeit Coupons

The Dark Web Hacking Forum ‘Hell’ Is Back Online

I Bought Adorable Cookies on the Deep Web

Arrests, Attacks, and Increasing Recognition: 2015 on the Dark Web

Popular Website for Casual Hook-Ups Hacked, Millions of Horny People Exposed

Their articles may not be as scary as some of the so-called “deep web horror stories,” but to the best of my knowledge, they’re all true!  In my book, that means they’re worth checking out.

Extra, Extra!  Read All About It!

Two other excellent sources for information on the deep web and dark web are DeepDotWeb and Dark Web News.  While their content overlaps to some degree, both provide basic guides to the dark web (such as how to set up Tor and TAILS), as well as current news related to the deep web and dark web.

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logo

DeepDotWeb has some of the best, easiest-to-read guides on accessing .onion sites, setting up live OS’s (such as TAILS), buying from darknet markets, and using PGP encryption.

Their articles are written in such a way that even a n00b can understand them (at least I think so).  Take, for example, this guide: How To Buy Drugs Online From Darknet Markets?

It starts with a simple, step-by-step guide on installing the Tor browser, and then directs you to their list of darknet markets (which compares the different aspects of each).  It then takes you through the process of setting up a profile, registering with LocalBitcoins.com, and explaining bitcoin tumbling (which I might also cover in a later post).

Dark Web News, while similar, is more news-oriented (although they, too, have guides to accessing the dark web and using darknet markets).

Here are a few samples of their work:

Dark Web News: How To Access The Dark Web

Dark Web Market List (41 Links-Daily Updated Market Status)

Student Ordered Drugs On Agora Darknet Market, Caught

Dark Web News, too, writes in such a way that the average person can understand what they’re referring to, even if the subjects (PGP encryption, virtual box, etc.) sometimes veer over to the technical side.

In short, check them out too!

I Said It, You Reddit

reddit r deepweb2

Lastly, Reddit’s /r/DeepWeb is another good source for both information and links for the deep web and dark web (and knowing the difference between the two).

Now occasionally, if you ask a really n00b-ish question (e.g. “What’s the link for the deep web?”), people may mock you.  Generally, though, they’re pretty helpful.  If you’re looking for actual dark web links, try this subreddit: /r/onions

Finally, if it’s darknet markets you’re looking to learn about, try this subreddit: /r/darknetmarketsnoobs

I hope you feel smarter afterward!