All of you have left your information on the Internet at least once. Then remember that someone already buys them and someone sells them. And it’s all happening on the internet. But not ordinary, in the dark – the so-called Darknet. This part of the World Wide Web is more important than you think.
The Hidden Internet is a collection of websites with hidden IP addresses of the server they are located on. Fortunately, you don’t need to log into the Darknet to play teen patty online. All online casino games are legal and available 24/7 for mature players.
Access to the Darknet is done through the Tor program. It provides anonymity on the network. However, sites on the Tor network are located in the onion domain zone. So, if an address like zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion scares you, it’s best to stay away from the Darknet.
Why go to the darknet?
First, for information or communication, second – for goods.
People from totalitarian countries can use the Darknet to communicate with the outside world without being tracked by special services. Or to bypass censorship.
Almost every country in Europe has a message anonymizer, a resource that allows journalists to anonymously report violations of law.
It all started in 2011. American William Ross Ulbricht, under the alias Dread Pirate Roberts, opened an online store Silk Road on Tor. He mainly sold drugs. There were also prohibitions on the site: the sale of weapons, child pornography, racketeering and physical violence services could not be provided.
Ulbricht said: the goal is not to enrich, but to spread the idea of freedom.
“We see the potential for a fundamentally different distribution of power. People can now control the flow of information, money and distribution. The state is losing its role as a monopoly distributor of benefits across sectors. Instead, power returns to the individual,” he wrote in an interview with Forbes.
Roberts the Dread Pirate
With his manifestos, he gained fame as a revolutionary and critic of the existing system. And he called himself a libertarian* (letter to the judge): “I believed then that men had the right to buy and sell anything, so long as they did not harm others.”
At the same time, according to the US Attorney’s Office, he was enriched by at least 18 million dollars. Ulbricht was caught in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison. Or rather, two. Also 20, 15 and 5 years in prison for separate episodes.
After Ulbricht’s shop was closed, the “Milky Way 2.0”, believed to have been created by the government to find criminals, opened on the Darknet. It closed in 2014.
The Legal Side of the Darknet
Intelliagg and Darksum are cyber intelligence companies. Both firms seek and collect information about various organizations and individuals who may pose a threat to their clients. For example, Intelliagg and Darksum recently joined forces to jointly explore the Darknet. Network explorers estimate that there are 29,532 sites in the .onion zone, but only half contain any illegal content.
The Darknet is still very small, with 30,000 sites – nothing compared to the Internet, which has about 1.3 billion different resources. Nevertheless, the underground network is of great interest to intelligence services and security experts, as it is believed that the bulk of cybercriminals “live” there.
Surprisingly, Intelliagg and Darksum analysts have concluded that the Darknet is much more than child porn sites and hacker forums. Machine analysis showed that 48% of darknet sites are free of illegal content according to US and UK standards. Analysts were skeptical of the result as they manually checked another 1,000 random sites. A closer inspection revealed that 32% of the sites were completely legitimate. It seems that the actual “legitimacy score” is somewhere between these two values, but if at least a third of the .onion zone consists of harmless content, it’s already too much.
The Tor underground is very flexible and constantly changing. Thus, only 54% of almost 30,000 .onion sites were always available, 46% of resources appeared, disappeared and new ones appeared in their place. Experts believe that many of the sites observed in this rotation are being used as command and control servers for malware, file sharing or as a base for chat rooms.
A total of 32 different languages are spoken in the .onion zone, but English dominates by a wide margin:
- 76% of sites are in English.
- The second place is occupied by German (4%);
- The third place is occupied by China (3.7%).
The content of all sites studied was carefully classified. It turned out that porn and drugs are far from being the most common phenomena in the onion zone. Instead, it was estimated that 29% of the sites were file-sharing sites, 28% of the resources were about data breaches, and another 12% were about financial scams (mostly karting sites).
The darknet still offers weird and unusual goods. If a person has unique passions and whims, the dark web seller will find what suits them in exchange for cryptocurrency. But unlike the regular and heavily regulated Internet, the Darknet remains a lawless place where everything has a price. What you buy here can raise a lot of questions for you and law enforcement.
Dream is the largest darknet market. Like other such markets, more drugs are sold here.
For $150 bitcoins or BCH, they sell you a powerful 20,000 MW laser that can burn targets. An immediate warning is that it should be handled with care and only used against bears that might attack you while fishing or in the woods. However, before it gets to you, such a thing may also attract the attention of law enforcement, in which case fishing will have to be postponed for an extended period of time.
Wallstreet Market is another dark web market where the main products are various pharmaceuticals. In addition to these, there are many other things – for example, the starter “anonymity bundle” promises 24 e-books that will show you the basics of encryption and privacy. Each book costs $1.99 and will give you all the information you need to create your own “darknet seller” account. But it seems the police, like Silk Road leader Ross Ulbricht, have already figured out how to track them.
In another market, called the Berlusconi market, gold can be bought in bars or grams and ounces of powder, depending on the sellers. Payment is accepted in bitcoins, lightcoins and XMR. It seems that either way, it would be considered smuggling or trading in precious metals – then they can all be “sold” to you.