You’ve heard the words before — a mysterious and wild darknet that is not controlled and does not obey the laws. You are probably equally interested and alarmed by all this.
But what is a darknet? And more importantly, what interesting websites exist on the dark side of the internet.
What is a darknet?
Darknet is a segment of the Internet that is hidden from public access. The connection in it is established between trusted peers (participants) in encrypted form, using non-standard ports and protocols. The darknet uses its own DNS, that is, domains, and address space.
The main resources in the Darknet are all kinds of shops, forums with illegal information and other sites to which claims could arise on the regular Internet. In the shadow segment of the Network, they sell databases, take orders for hacking accounts and conducting cyber attacks, sell drugs and illegal pornography.
This black market has reached its heyday thanks to the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are quite difficult to track transactions for.
In addition to illegal trade, the Darknet makes it possible for residents of countries where there is political persecution and there is no freedom of speech to communicate safely.
Darknet search engines use sophisticated software to search the hidden network and index all the information found. After indexing, search engines allow you to find information through the system interface.
To increase the search capabilities, it is important to understand what information the search engine finds best. Regardless of the search engine in the Darknet, the user will find sites hidden from the general public and useful for searching for certain information.
To stay safe, you need to avoid illegal sites on the dark Internet. The user should always use a reliable VPN to avoid hacking.
- A darkweb is a part of the world Wide Web, which is located in darknets, and which can only be accessed using special software. The Darkweb belongs to the deep web, that is, it is part of the network that is inaccessible to ordinary search engines.
- A darknet is an overlay network that cannot be detected by conventional methods and access to which is provided through special software.
- The visible network is a part of the World Wide Web that is open and easily accessible to the general public and indexed by search engines.
The darknet was specially created hidden and anonymous so that no one could censor or restrict the activities of participants. It is in anonymity that the main advantage of the darknet lies.
Such a technology for preserving user privacy is neutral in itself, but it can be used both for the benefit of developing creative forms of communication and for socially dangerous acts — drug trafficking, posting pornographic content, selling weapons, searching for murderers for hire, virtual untraceable currency, etc.
But in fact, this anonymity is apparent. Traces of each person are found even on the lower layers of the digital Twilight. From 2013 to 2020, more than 9.7 billion data records leaked to the darknet, and this number is constantly growing.
There are a number of characteristics of the shadow Internet that make it an ideal haven for users who want to remain anonymous:
- Lack of indexing of pages by public search engines. Google and other common search engines do not display the output on request for darknet resources and cannot even fix them;
- Traffic tunneling using the infrastructure of randomly generated networks.
- Unavailability for regular browsers due to unique domains. In addition, shadow resources are also hidden with the help of network security measures such as firewalls and encryption.
The emergence of the darknet is associated with the prototype of the modern Internet of the 70s, arpanet, which did not have mass distribution, since it was only an experimental development of the US military and scientists. In 2002, the term «Darknet» was used for the first time in a book by Microsoft employees «Darknet and the Future of Information Dissemination», in which the authors advocated the idea of freedom and privacy on the Internet.
History and causes of occurrence
The first prototype of the darknet appeared simultaneously with the public network ARPANet, which subsequently evolved to the modern Internet. The main reason for its creation was the need to create a network accessible only to selected users and hidden from outsiders.
Initially, the network was developed by the US military. This is due to the need to conceal the location and information of military structures for security purposes.
The term itself was first used in 1970 as a designation for isolated Internet networks that could receive data from their network, but did not respond to requests from outside. And it became more widespread in 2002, thanks to the publication of the work of Microsoft programmers describing the principles of the darknet. According to them, the darknet is the main obstacle to the creation of productive DRM technologies.
A huge contribution to the development of the shadow Internet was made by the scientific laboratory of the US Naval Research Lab, which developed special proxy server software that allows you to perform anonymous actions on the Internet — The Onion Router, better known as TOR.
Before the advent of TOR in the 2000s, almost no one guessed about the shadow Internet. After information about the darknet and TOR spread, the number of users of the shadow Internet also increased dramatically. By 2013, the number of darknet users exceeded 4 million people, and a subculture of seekers of prohibited content — netstalking — had also developed.
The second most important event for the development of the network was the creation of a cryptocurrency for intra-network transactions, which also supports the anonymity of users.
At the moment, the shadow network is actively developing. First of all, this is due to the desire of the public to remain outside the control of state regulation.
Features of the darknet
The average person associates the dark web with illegal content and criminal activity. This is mostly true, but the network also has apps for more legitimate cases. For example, journalists in autocratic countries can use the Darknet to pass information to their colleagues in other parts of the world. Political dissidents under a repressive government can use the space to communicate.
By tracking the Darknet, cybersecurity experts can obtain information that will allow them to stay ahead of threats. For example, knowing about a data leak from a third-party organization allows IT specialists to change the relevant credentials and protect their systems before an attack.
It may be useful for cybersecurity organizations to participate indirectly in discussions about hacking and trading exploits that regularly occur on the Darknet. This will give security officials information about yet unknown vulnerabilities before they can turn into widespread cyber threats.
In addition, tracking the exchange of messages on the Darknet forums allows security personnel to collect information about the plans of criminals and receive warnings about emerging threats.
Finally, law enforcement agencies can obtain data on illegal activities through the Darknet. For example, money laundering can be detected by matching the addresses of cryptocurrency wallets with illegal actions. Police officers can also set traps to catch criminals.
The space of the Darknet is fraught with both freedom and danger. This is just another space on the Internet, and the user needs to adhere to the same security rules and the same laws that apply in real life.
How to find active onion topic links
DarkNet uses the same site indexing system as the «white» Internet, so you can also use search engines here. But ordinary search engines, such as Google, will not be able to do this, so DarkNet has its own resources for site search. Each such site contains a list of dark web links.
In fact, searching the American dark web directory is not difficult. There are a large number of forums on the web where people are ready to share links to interesting sources.
What sites can be found on the DarkNet
There are a lot of mysterious and often creepy stories around the DarkNet, but you don’t have to believe everything. Since all darkweb sites and visitors are hidden under the mask of anonymity on the DarkNet, illegal activities flourish here.
For example, here you can download any video and audio content, as well as books without subscriptions and payment. A caution is a copyright infringement.
Or trading platforms where illegal sale of all types of goods takes place, ranging from household items to prohibited ones: porn materials, forged documents or bank card passwords. Hacking and DDoS attacks, keys for games and computer software are offered.
But some darknet link may be quite harmless and useful resources. There are social networks here, for example, an analogue of Facebook and different darknet markets. Only it works slowly and does not please with the design. There are a huge number of forums on a variety of topics. However, be careful — there is a risk of being on the forum of hackers or sociopathic personalities with special inclinations.
Censorship in the USA
American censorship on the Internet is like the ghost of communism – it definitely exists, and even far beyond the borders of the States, but in the historical homeland of the creators of the Internet, access to information is rarely restricted and very selectively.
In addition to extremists and separatists who are blocked on the Internet around the world, the United States has become «famous» for the oppression of all those involved in the creation of the Wikileaks website. That is, in a country where there is «no censorship», the committee of censors, represented by the US government, persecuted and threatened with reprisals those who posted evidence on the Internet that censorship and abuse of interference in the private lives of citizens still exist.
It would be possible to joke about how good a movie with such a plot would turn out, but there is already a movie about the adventures of Julian Assange. All search engines registered in the USA exclude sites with pirated content from the search results in batches. And not by the decision of labor, but by the first complaint of the copyright holders. Without strict laws aimed at combating Internet piracy, the United States will not allow the state to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the fight against pirates is very active inside the country.
For example, the owners of the world’s largest file-sharing site Megaupload were arrested in 2012 for copyright infringement, and the prosecution demanded that the owners of the site be sentenced to 5 years in prison for each case of copyright infringement. Although the copyright holders did not achieve their goal — the lawyers of the «pirates» turned out to be cooler than the prosecution lawyers.
Although not everyone is so lucky: US citizens regularly fall under fines and imprisonment at the request of the American Association of Film Companies (MPAA) and the American Association of Recording Companies (RIAA). And this is not a penalty for watching a movie for free in the amount of double the price, but, for example, one and a half million dollars for distributing ten movies on a torrent tracker. Sometimes pirates are even sent to prison, although this is more relevant for those who make «screens» themselves, and do not download ready-made distributions. Today, according to the DMCA (Copyright Act in the Digital Millennium), Internet service providers and hosting companies have the opportunity to avoid court if they manage to «sort out» sites that violate copyrights on their own. And it works: today it’s really possible to get a lock from the hoster, because someone decided that your files are suspicious and violate copyrights.
Up until 2015, the «Patriot Act» was in effect in the United States — with it, NSA agents received almost unlimited powers to spy on citizens on the Internet. But the agency has the right not to report on the capture of individual violators (in the interests of the investigation), so we do not have exact figures on where and how the act was applied.
Naturally, in such conditions with rather strict censorship, the darknet in the USA is growing and thriving.
Is the darknet popular in the USA?
Despite the negative opinion about the darknet, it is used by an increasing number of people who do not want their actions to be tracked.
A darknet, or dark Internet, is a network in which user actions cannot be tracked, and sites located inside the darkent cannot be found by search engines.
According to a study conducted by PreciseSecurity.com In 2019, North America became the leading region in the use of the dark web sites. According to statistics, 26% of the inhabitants of this region use the darknet daily. Another 7% — at least once a week.
In second place was Latin America, where 21% of respondents visit the darknet every day, and 13% — weekly. In Europe, 17% of citizens use it daily, and 11% use it weekly.
The main purpose of using Tor is to preserve anonymity. This was stated by 40% of respondents. Another 26% said that they need a darkent to get information that is not available in their region. This reason has become the most common for the countries of the Middle East, Africa and BRICS. Other reasons cited included government censorship and maintaining online privacy.
About a quarter of North Americans were hiding in the darknet from foreign governments. Another 38% claimed to protect privacy from Internet companies, which was the main reason for using the darknet.
Why do Americans use Dark Forums
A dark web forum is a service where users can freely discuss any topic, since no one tracks forum participants. The work of the dark forum is based on the principle of anonymity. There are relatively harmless forums on the Darknet, but you can also find banned topics on forums. Forum participants can discuss any topics such as illegal goods or services, such as drug trafficking, child pornography, hacker attacks, data leaks, racist and extremist content, and much more.
List of the dark web forums used by Americans:
- RaidForums is a well-known dark web forum that has attracted media attention thanks to its high-profile mega leaks. The database advertises exclusive breaches and database leaks with an active marketplace forum to sell these leaks.
- Dread forum is a TOR-based platform where you can post, comment, and share information in various different communities without fear of censorship. Users can communicate on absolutely any topic.
- Nulled is one of the largest known forums for various types of illicit content, ranging from leaks to pentesting and money-making scams. The forum includes sections for both VIP and premium members only.
- CrdClub is one of the oldest forums dedicated to card-related topics. Registration is free. There are hundreds of articles devoted not only to carding, but also to scam, hacking and social engineering methods.
- Exploit.in it is mainly devoted to hacker topics. It has been operating continuously since 2005, and many attackers and observers consider it a platform with the most experienced cybercriminals. Exploit.in they are respected in the Russian darknet, but Western colleagues sometimes come here.
Darknet sites list
Due to the policy of the United States and other countries of the world, darknet trading platforms are constantly being closed or moved, which is why it is so important to regularly check up-to-date information about the sites. You can find the current darknet links 2023 today.
- Torch is one of the oldest search engines on the darknet. There is a lot of advertising on the resource due to which it exists. The results are not always relevant and one query in the output may show you something completely different. Nevertheless, after digging into the results, you can find useful things.
- Ahmia. The Ahmia search engine differs in that it is available both in the darknet and in the clearnet. The relevance of the issue at the same time (subjectively) is not very high: like Torch, it often gives out links that do not relate to the search topic in any way. However, if we decided to explore the mysterious world of the darknet, then search engines will not help much here — too few resources are available for indexing. Sometimes the search engine can even lead to the wrong place by giving a link to a fake project.
- ProPublica, an autonomous non-profit organization that manages the largest information resource of investigative journalism, was the first among the world’s famous media to launch the full version of its website as a «hidden service» on the Tor network. The address of the representative office of the ProPublica publication in the anonymous Tor network has the form: propub3r6espa33w.onion and is available only when using specialized browsers and services that support onion routing, such as Tor Browser and Orbot. ProPublica carries out its activities, as the editorial board itself declares, in the public interest, has more than half a million subscribers on Facebook and Twitter and was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for the first online media in the world.
- SecureDrop — sending files and notes to journalists of The New Yorker. Users can secretly send the necessary information to journalists.
Darknet Market list:
- Dream Market is an English—language trading platform, similar to Ebay. Drugs, medicines, fake documents, information and many other interesting offers. JS is not required. (shut down)
- T•chka Free Market is a well—known platform, payments are not charged from dealers. JS is not required.
- Valhalla is one of the largest English—speaking sites, you can find almost all types of surfactants.
- Midland City — anonymous marketplace without registration. It is curious that the same resource was seen in one of the Mr. Robot series. JS is not required.
- Facebook is a mirror of the popular social network in .onion
- Onelon is an anonymous social network, positioned as the safest and most convenient. It somewhat resembles an image board.
- BlackBook is a social network dedicated to the dark side of the modern Internet. There is always high activity on the web, so you can always find interesting content. The user-friendly interface can be confidently called another advantage of the BlackBook.
- The Hidden Wiki. The Hidden Wiki is the main resource directory .onion in a variety of fields. What is important is noted by the creators — the links placed in the catalog do not pass any censorship, but in fact this is not the case, but more on that later. Many who are starting to use the TOR network for the first time initially turn to the Hidden Wiki and begin studying the Onion network from here.
- Cases.legal — review of court decisions, judicial practice in the USA and other countries. Users can get closed court documents.
- Riseup.net — this is a collective that provides online communication tools to individuals and groups engaged in social transformation of society. The main feature Riseup.net The fact is that they deliberately do not collect any personal information of users and very carefully try to protect it from the authorities. All information stored on the servers Riseup.net , stored in encrypted form. At the moment Riseup.net provides the following services: Email, Mailing lists, Social Network, Chat (jabber server), Online Notepad and VPN.
- DeepDotWeb (DDW) was launched in 2013. The site specialized in publishing darknet news and links to underground trading platforms and redirected users to their onion addresses. The resource was arrested by the US authorities in 2019. (shut down)
Is that all? No! In fact, the darknet is much bigger than it seems. And in addition to the obvious (and forbidden) things, you can find a lot of unique and very informative resources on the dark web that will help you not only find information that you will never find in the clearnet, but also learn a lot of new things, and not necessarily bad.
How safe are the darknet search engines?
Despite their ability to search for hidden information, search engines can be dangerous. Do not use dark web search engines from your personal computer. The user may put their passwords, crypto funds and other personal information at risk.
Typical darknet threats are:
- Cyber fraud. Do not rush to buy anything. Having received the money, an anonymous person may not fulfill his obligations. In addition, phishing is common in hidden networks — the theft of accounts and cryptocurrencies using fake sites.
- Shock content. Due to the lack of censorship in the darknet, it is easier to stumble upon explicit or violent content, even if you are not looking for it intentionally. Therefore, impressionable people should carefully choose resources for surfing.
- Psychological attacks. Manipulators and psychopaths can attack victims on the darknet with impunity. The most dangerous ones are capable of driving a person with an unstable psyche to suicide.
- Actions of hackers. You can be trite hacked to steal money or personal data. At a minimum, you should not click on unknown links and download suspicious files.
The Darknet is an important part of the world Wide Web that everyone should know about. Like an ordinary surface network, it is just a tool designed for people. How to use it depends solely on the user himself. For those who set themselves good goals, he can become an indispensable assistant, whose potential is difficult to overestimate. But for this it is necessary to adhere to certain rules – always take care of your safety, use the right tools.
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