RAMP Joins the List of Fallen Dark Web Markets

Darknet The hidden area on the Internet.
RAMP has now joined the list of major dark web marketplaces to be taken down by authorities.

The Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP) is one of the latest among a growing number of fallen darknet markets.

RAMP is a strictly Russian site and therefore users who do not know Russian cannot use the platform, since it has no options for translation.

Now RAMP is gone, you will need a new market to use. The guys over at DarkWebNews have then best list of markets to buy stuff from. Go to the Market List here https://darkwebnews.com/dark-web-market-list/

The marketplace has been taken down by Russian authorities as a result of an ongoing crackdown in the country. Law enforcement seized the site in July around the same time AlphaBay was also shut down.

Dark web markets, in general, provide an exclusive hub of illegal products and services, many of which may have a negative impact on the lives of buyers.

Items regularly posted for sale include counterfeit money and jewellery, hard drugs, weapons, stolen credit/debit cards, malware and Trojans, just to mention a few.

These products and services are found in any major dark web market, and it is no doubt that the presiding authorities routinely launch investigations to apprehend the administrators and users of such sites.

Apart from an apparent shutdown from the authorities, other ways in which these markets can temporarily go down is through maintenance, where the site owners tend to add additional security layers or change servers for one reason or the other.

When this transpires, the whole site may go down, or at least a section of it. No wonder why users in site forums complain that they cannot access their accounts, as was the case with Valhalla Market.

Similar cases have been reported from time to time where the site is still up, but users cannot access their funds or have lost their funds.

Now that RAMP has gone down, it has joined the likes of AlphaBay, Hansa, the famous Silk Road and Outlaw, just to mention a few.

The AlphaBay and Hansa markets fell as a result of a comprehensive crackdown orchestrated collaboratively between authorities from different countries in the U.S. and Europe.

Unsecured network concept.
RAMP has gone down, it has joined the likes of AlphaBay, Hansa, the famous Silk Road and Outlaw.

The first market to shut down was AlphaBay, and then Hansa closely followed only a few weeks later.

When AlphaBay went down, there were speculations as to what was going on behind the scenes.

On online forums, a subsection of users stated that it was an exit scam or perhaps a maintenance issue, whereas others believed the site had been taken down by law enforcement.

The move to close down AlphaBay first was purely tactical given the fact that Hansa was seized earlier on by the Dutch authorities.

The essence of the game plan was to monitor the activities of dark web users in the market. As expected, the closure of AlphaBay would, in turn, direct users to open accounts with other darknet markets to continue their operations.

Among the markets that experienced the influx of new users was Hansa, where the authorities who were working undercover noticed a peculiar trend in the opening of the accounts. Both sellers and buyers were opening accounts with the same usernames and passwords.

A spot check by DarkWebNews shows that many among AlphaBay’s base of vendors also owned accounts not only on Hansa but on other sites as well, such as Dream Market. What’s more is that even the description of the goods and services on their listings was the same.

This quickly tipped off investigators to a clear pattern, providing enough evidence to proceed with their investigations and ultimately bring down these user bases.

It got to a point where registration on Hansa was closed, and the reason provided upon visiting the website was that there was an influx of AlphaBay refugees. Now, this was because investigators were buying time to carry out their investigations and make judgments based on the available evidence.

When registration was open again, new users opened accounts on the platform while some existing users opened other accounts only to withdraw funds for fear the market would soon close down.

The other major dark web to be closed by authorities was the famous Silk Road which was seized after some blunders by the site’s operator, Ross Ulbricht, known under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR).”

Among the many errors that ultimately exposed his identity was to use his real name and email address to post on forums where he stated he needs help on how to code for his hidden site.

He also paid an undercover cop to assassinate a former site employee, and he also used his real photograph to rent servers for his website.

In the case of the RAMP market, perhaps its size and the fact that it’s only used by Russian speaking persons are the reasons why its closure hasn’t caught the attention of international media as was the case of other major markets such as AlphaBay, Hansa and Silk Road.

What Happens When a Market Goes Down

Darknet with matrix is shown by businessman.
RAMP Joins the List of Fallen Dark Web Markets.

Whenever markets exit from the scene for one reason or the other, users lose their Bitcoins for good.

Because of this, users ought to take precautions to protect their funds while using the marketplaces on the Tor network.

First of all, users should only deposit funds in their accounts when they need it. And as such, if by any chance the Bitcoins are in excess, then they ought to withdraw them with immediate effect.

This way, if by any chance the market goes down, the user will not have lost their funds.

Secondly, users should not use their real names and addresses to open accounts, since this exposes their identity. One can learn from the mistake of the Silk Road founder.

And, last but not least, users should always ensure that they make use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), as these programs enable users’ activities on the dark web to be more anonymous.

On the issue of dark web markets, it is evident that despite one marketplace closing down, others will have room to grow.

This means new sites, and the administrators who run them, are likely to have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors to be extra careful in doing business on the dark web.

As it is, the industry is a multi-million dollar one, since the number of operations carried out on a daily basis involve thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people.

And as a result, the amount of money transacted is running into hundreds of millions of dollars, meaning that the site admins will get a substantial amount in the form of commissions.

RAMP Has Become The Longest-Lasting Darknet Market

Russian-language banner adsDarknet markets have a short shelf life. They have a certain innate tendency to implode, leaving behind a whole host of angry sellers and buyers in their wake.

Darknet markets that go offline for good either fall prey to:

  • The site administrators, via an “exit scam” when they run off with users’ bitcoins that they’ve been holding in escrow.
  • Hackers, by hacking in and stealing the bitcoins in escrow – often a claim of site administrators, but who can tell if they’re telling the truth or simply committing an exit scam themselves?
  • Law enforcement, if they track down the site administrators, seized funds, and shut the site down.

Of course, there are some markets that go offline of their own volition; however, it’s generally due to low numbers of users.

The Russian Anonymous Marketplace, or RAMP, is a darknet market that bucks that trend.

The RAMP site has been open since September 2012, so is fast coming up for their four-year anniversary.

They now have the prestigious title of the longest lasting darknet market.

A site created for buyers and sellers to trade in psychoactive substances, RAMP remains popular and continues to operate in a space where many have failed.

The second oldest marketplace that still open is Valhalla, which was created in October 2013, a year after RAMP.

RAMP and resilience

So just what makes RAMP so resilient? That cockroach that survived the nuclear war survived the blasts of Operation Onymous when law enforcement raided big names like Silk Road 2.0, Pandora, Cloud Nine, and Hydra, survived the lures of untold riches, and remained out of reach of hackers, how did it do that?

The answer lies in RAMP site setup. Three things, in fact.

  • RAMP is in Russian, based in Russia, and owned by Russians

Law enforcement in the US, the country that leads the majority of attacks against deep web enterprises has no say in law enforcement matters in Russia.

  • RAMP follows strict laws of operation

To stay out of the crosshairs of police action, the site actively operates under strict rules including no political talk, no violence, or arms, and more.

  • RAMP holds no funds in escrow

Because the site allows buyers and sellers to do deals without acting as an intermediary, there are no funds in escrow to steal. The market makes money just on seller fees.

These three design elements may not have been included with resilience in the administrators’ minds.

However, it appears that these three elements have been the key to the market’s ongoing success, and avoidance of the pitfalls other markets have succumbed to.

Operation in other countries

While RAMP is mainly Russia-based, the site also has sub-forums dedicated to other regions in Eastern Europe, which include Belarus and even Ukraine.

Ukraine has been at war for over 2 years, and yet it’s still relatively easy to find yourself a good score on the deep web there.

There are dealers in Ukraine offering everything from MDMA to weed, heroin, cocaine, 2CB and LSD.

Although Ukraine has its very own darknet market, PsyCo, RAMP remains popular due to being one of the largest non-English speaking markets.

In a world where war chugs along slowly, there needs to be an escape, and drugs can offer just that.

RAMP is not available for doing business outside these countries. For example, if you were in North America, you’d have to try your luck elsewhere.

Distribution networks for the site mainly work over a system of dead drops, where a seller leaves a package in a hidden place for a buyer to then pick up later.

As you can imagine, both buyer and seller (or an associate) need to be in a similar geographical location for this system to work.

Accessing RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace)

Russian Anonymous MarketplaceWhy not browse RAMP yourself to have a look at how it operates? With some clever use of the Tor browser, a translation app, and a little bit of Google-fu, you’ll be able to access the site yourself. Grab yourself a login and password and browse the forums.

You can check in on conversations on shop boards about the quality of their goods, perhaps ask some questions in Russian, and get to know something just a little bit different from the regular.

If you’re in Russia or Eastern Europe, then you might just be able to go ahead and set up the deal too, if you so desire.

Make sure to check customer reviews for shops before making any purchases.

7 Good To Know Facts About The Deep Web

deep webWe hear about the “Deep Web” and our minds immediately turn to the suspicious, opaque, cyberspace underworld where malicious hackers and darknet market drug smugglers mingle to discuss privately and securely with an air of anonymity through technological methods that are as obscure as their pseudonyms suggest. But the deep web is so much more for those who have the willpower and acumen to traverse its surreptitious expanse. To help the willing and able below is a list of 7 key adages about the deep web that you probably didn’t know.

1. The terms deep web and dark net have different distinct meanings

deep web and dark netMany use the words “deep web” and “dark net” interchangeably but they actually reference two different concepts. Deep web refers to any part of the internet that is not indexed or retrievable via a search engine, including both dark net sites and benign content such as corporate intranet sites. The dark net is an overlay network of the Internet that is part of the anonymous encrypted network. These sites cannot be retrieved by the search engine and are hidden, blocking access from standard web browsers such as Chrome. This is where the darknet markets for drugs, weapons, and other goods exist. To access the dark net, Tor, the anonymous browsing software must be used.

2. It’s not all criminal in nature

It might shock some people who have never been on the dark web to know that most sites visited, and goods sold are also available on the Clearnet. According to Tor, only 1.5% of the overall traffic on Tor is affiliated with hidden sites. Often the assumption about the deep web is that its visitors are only there for the illegal goods such as drugs. However, the majority of its users find its ultimate utility in protecting their regular browsing habits to ensure their online activity remains private.

3. It’s widely used in countries that are infamous for their repressive policies towards online information

Citizens of countries that limit access to the Internet are more likely to utilize the the Tor network on the deep web for anonymous browsing and communication hidden from government monitoring. Activists and political dissidents in Russia, China, and elsewhere heavily use Tor to escape limits on free speech and then media as well as to ensure the freedom of their ideas through anonymity and security from government persecution.

4. The deep web is not invulnerable- OPSEC still matters

Just because your browsing is anonymous, your identity can still be discovered and any illegal activity, such as purchasing illegal goods on darknet market sites, can be investigated if you practice poor OPSEC. Case in point; Ross Ulbricht, creator of Silk Road, was busted as are the result of blatantly poor OPSEC by posting his private email address online. He is not the only one to be caught. According to Gwern Branwen, over 300 people affiliated with the Dark Web for have been arrested for things like sex trafficking, gun running, and drug dealing since 2011. This should be warning enough for those of you too smug to think that you will not get caught on darknet markets. So be vigilant and deliberate in all your perusing and always think with the mindset of taking as many security precautions as possible. One of the most obvious is you doubling your encryption and security with a VPN.

5. The community is not as user-hostile as one might assume

There are plenty of blogs posts similar to this one and online forums that help novices navigate the deep and sometimes intimidating waters of the deep web. In terms of purchasing, people are usually helpful with providing vender recommendations and product reviews on darknet market site forums. As long as you are vigilant and willing to put in the effort, the user-friendly manuals and advice blogs will help you overcome the learning curve that intrinsically exists with any new endeavor a person takes on.

6. The deep web has search engines and secure email browsers

The deep web is much like the Clearnet in this aspect in that it has search engines and email clients. Popular search engines include Search Tor Hidden Services, not Evil, Candle, and TORCH, although each is vastly different and as a result, has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you want to search. For email services, there are several options, including Sigaint, ProtonMail, Tutanota, Lavaboom, and Lelantos to name a few. If you’re unsure which email browser you should use, there are several places featuring blogs that explain the pros and cons for each (thus reinforcing Point #4 about user-friendly guides to help you navigate around).

7. There’s a code of “Deep Web Etiquette” to adhere to

From even a cursory perusal of deep web forums, it’s clearly obvious how users interact. Those who respect the system and its technique find the deep web is a community of similarly-minded people who want to help one another navigate the deep web. Most are willing to help out anyone with questions, so long as the question shows you did some research first. Those who do not respect the system will inevitably get called out by others as lazy and ignorant. So do your fair share of due diligence before posting anything to ensure against sounding like a newbie who lacks the self-initiative to do their research. A question with an answer that can be obtained from a simple browser search is a bad question and should be avoided at all costs. In short, the deep web community is characterized very much by “you give what you get,” the more you put into your research, the more you will get when you do ask for help.

Top 10 Most Popular Sites On The Deep Web

Darknet-Markets-300x209Getting familiar with the deep web? Looking to explore the top .onion links around the world?

We’ve put together this list of the most popular deep web sites for you to check out – and it’s not just all darknet markets and drugs – although there are plenty of them, too!

1. The Hidden Wikilogo2The starting point of most people’s journey on the deep web is the Hidden Wiki. The Hidden Wiki contains links to all of the most popular sites on the deep web and is a great jump off point for those looking to explore. They also have a site on the clear net

The list is regularly updated and has been a stalwart of the deep web for years and years.

The Hidden Wiki onion URL: http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion

We did find an even better resource if you are just after Deep Web links, it has categories, descriptions and even screen shots of all active links.

2. AlphaBay


The number one darknet market at the moment is AlphaBay. Although darknet markets come and go, AlphaBay has been reigning supreme for around a year now. The site contains the most listings of any marketplace on the deep web, with items ranging from hacked accounts, electronics, fraudulent identity documents, and, of course, the ever popular drugs category which contains items like methamphetamine, MDMA, and various nootropics like Modafinil.

The marketplace operates with an escrow system, and transactions are conducted using the default currency on the deep web – Bitcoin.

AlphaBay Onion URL: http://pwoah7foa6au2pul.onion/

Find out everything you about AlphaBay here: https://alphabaymarket.com/

3. Grams

grams31Not sure which marketplace you want to use but know that you want to score some drugs? Know exactly what you want? Grams is your ideal search engine. Grams crawls all of the darknet market listings so when you type in what you want into the search field you obtain the most relevant listings, from all marketplaces.
It is a clever tool to use if you aren’t already a member of a darknet marketplace or if you’re looking for something highly specific.

Grams: http://grams7enufi7jmdl.onion (only works in Tor Browser)

4. Silk Road 3.0

Yep, Silk Rod is back with a 3.0. It was down for a couple of month where they did a big security overhaul and a slight re-design. It is created and run by the same team that own and run CryptoMarket. They are growing FAST and have a massive selection of goods for sale.

Silk Road 3.0 onion URL: http://reloadedudjtjvxr.onion/

Silk road 3.0 Guide: http://silkroaddrugs.org/guide-on-how-to-access-the-silk-road-3-0/

4. Torch

Search engines aren’t as big on the deep web as they are on the Clearnet, for obvious reasons – many sites wish to remain hidden, available only to those who know the .onion address and credentials to login successfully!

Torch is one of the biggest search engines available that provides search results from the deep web. Type your query into the search field and start your research journey.

Torch onion URL: http://www.xmh57jrzrnw6insl.onion/

5. RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace)


Another darknet market, RAMP is the oldest running marketplace on the deep web. Oh, and it’s in Russian, too. The site is one of a handful of forum-based marketplaces operating, and most users are in Russia, but some also operate in other Eastern European countries.

The site allows buyers and sellers to organize drug deals one on one, with no middle man involved in the transactions. A common method of delivery is via “dead drops” where the buyer drops off cash in a certain spot, and then picks up the package at another, so buyer and seller don’t have to actually meet each other for transactions to take place and no Bitcoin is required.

RAMP onion URL: http://ramp2bombkadwvgz.onion

Find the full guide to RAMP HERE

6. Dream Market


Dream Market is our third darknet market on the list. This site has been around since 2013 and has gained in popularity only recently, upon other marketplaces exiting the scene. It operates similar to AlphaBay, and is a traditional escrow market.

The market is rated very well among users, and although it’s not quite as popular yet as AlphaBay, it’s certainly on the rise. Expect to see this market continue on its upward trajectory for a while to come yet.

Dream Market onion URL: http://lchudifyeqm4ldjj.onion/?ai=1675

All the info on Dream Market: http://dreammarketdrugs.com/

7. The Hub

Forums have been a mainstay among computer enthusiasts since the inception of the internet, and in its early incarnation, newsgroups. The Hub is one of the biggest forums available on the deep web and focuses on deep web related topics such as security, cryptocurrencies, drug safety, and various darknet markets.

If you’re interested in chatting to like minded folks all about the deep web, then The Hub may be a good place to start.’

The Hub: http://thehub7dnl5nmcz5.onion (only works on Tor)

8. DuckDuckGo


Just recently, Tor has switched searching services from Google to privacy-oriented search engine DuckDuckGo, which is a coup for the burgeoning search engine. The search engine does not track users, unlike competitors Google and Bing, which makes it an easy choice for users concerned with privacy. This also means that searches are not served up according to your customer profiling, making it quite refreshing for users that are becoming increasingly annoyed with confounding search results from the other major players.
Although DuckDuckGo only searches Clearnet sites, it is a useful addition to your arsenal of privacy keeping tools.

DuckDuckGo: https://duckduckgo.com/

9. Wikileaks


If you haven’t heard of Wikileaks by now, then you must have been living under a rock for the past 10 years. Created by Julian Assange who currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he has been since 2012 – the organization reports on secrets supplied by whistle-blowers, informants, and the general public that are deemed important in the interests of freedom of information.
Wikileaks has published vast reams of content over the past 10 years, including several high-profile government leaks. The .onion Wikileaks site provides a place to upload content directly to the organization, all anonymously if desired. The uploads are encrypted for added security, and the submission form asks questions like “What is the threat to the sources?” and “Necessary publication timeframe.”

WikiLeaks URL: https://wikileaks.org/

10. TorShops

For those who are interested in setting up their very own deep web shop, TorShops is the place to go. The site makes it simple to set up your very own .onion web store, whether you’re a budding online drug dealer or just interested in selling your homemade jewelry via the deep web.

Each site comes with an integrated Bitcoin wallet so payments are made easily, a secure a fast server for your site, inventory management systems, and order tracking. You can even get the guys at TorShops to set up your whole shop for you if coding isn’t your thing – a custom shop design comes in at $500USD.

TorShop URL: http://ww.shopsat2dotfotbs.onion/

Different Types Of Darknet Markets

darknet1Not all darknet markets are made alike! Did you know that there are all different sorts of dark webmarketplace setups available? Educate yourself about the various types of markets, their features, how secure they are, and check out some examples of each type, all right here.

Centralized Markets

These are the primary type of darknet markets available on the deep web. You’ll be familiar with Silk Road – the most famous of the centralized darknet markets. Thiskind of operations is constructed and maintained in a similar fashion to eBay.

Vendors create dark web marketplace listings for items that they are selling, and buyers can go through and click to order. Vendors pay a fee to the marketfor the service, and all funds are transmitted and held in escrow by the market until sale and delivery are complete.

Centralized markets currently operating include:

  • AlphaBay, which currently is the largest of the darknet markets, in operation.
  • Silk Road 3.0, currently the second biggest darknet market and growing quickly.
  • Dream Market, a highly rated alternative that also has a handy referral system so you can earn Bitcoin for getting friends to sign up with them using your link.
  • Outlaw Market, a smaller marketplace which focuses mainly on the drug trade.
  • CryptoMarket,created and run by the same team from Silk Road 3.

Forum Markets

Forum markets are less of a regulated market, and more just in the style of regular forums. It means each forum may be divided up into categories and subcategories, where either vendors or buyers make posts. The seller and buyer directly arranged all the payment.

Those who are seeking out forum-based darknet markets can check out:

  • RAMP (aka the Russian Anonymous Marketplace), which is the oldest darknet market, and also a Russian-language only spot.
  • The Majestic Garden, which is a forum trading in psychedelics.
  • The Intelligent Black Market, a French forum market, for those who can read French.

Web Shops

As a regular online store, web shops are simply individual sellers who have set up their shops on the deep web. Be careful to do your research on the site that you’re visiting and use these sorts of services at your risk!

Here are some web shops:

  • Doctor Drugs, a vendor from the now defunct Agora marketplace who set up his shop selling, you guessed it, drugs.
  • Gammagoblin, a psychedelics vendor who is also a part of the LSD Avengers space.
  • Mollyworld, a collective of sellers who operate on AlphaBay, and have also opened their shop selling MDMA.

Multi-Signature Markets

Multisig darknet markets are designed to be a more secure way of doing business on centralized darknet markets. 2 of 3 way multisig, which is recommended for market transactions, involve both the buyer and the seller needing two out of three signatures to complete any one transaction. The third signature comes from the overseeing party (the marketplace), in the case of any disputes. Funds can therefore only be released to either the buyer or the seller. It reduces the likelihood of getting scammed.

Remember, even many markets that support multisig don’t offer it by default, so make sure that you enable the feature!

Multisig markets include:

  • AlphaBay, which was previously mentioned before, offers multisig
  • Acropolis Market, an invite only market where it is very easy to set up multisig for all your transactions.
  • Valhalla, which was originally Finnish marketplace, but is now available in English, with multisig.

Decentralized Markets

Decentralized markets work in a similar fashion to a file sharing arrangement – each person contains a piece or pieces of the operation, stored on their computer so that each confirmation is done across a network, not by an overarching body (or marketplace) – meaning there are no fees involved either.

Decentralized markets are still in their infancy, due to the security concerns of downloading software rather than running in the Tor browser – this means that your IP has the potential to be traced, and so people posting illegal items should beware.

Here are some of the decentralized darknet markets getting about:

maxresdefault (4)OpenBazaar, the only “real” and operational decentralizes market currently available, which was recently released and describes itself as a new-wave alternative to places like eBay and Amazon.

The Daemon Market, an Ethereum-based market is in beta, ready for launch shortly, following the pre-sale of shares that will help to complete the marketplace.

The Shadow Project’s Shadow Marketplace Alpha has been released to a few people for testing and is one that many people are eagerly looking forward to the release.

So as you can see, there are manydifferent types of darknet market setups on the dark web to choose from. All have some advantages and disadvantages, just try to make the best decision for you and remember always to be safe and do everything you can to remain anonymous while online.

What Is The Tor Network?

Tor-logo-2011-flat.svgTor is the name of the software that enables anonymous online browsing. It is the acronym of “The Onion Router,” which was how the project was named. Any online activity of an individual is traceable to his/her IP address. Any network is aware of the websites being accessed by the user. However, a Tor network is encrypted and routes the traffic through relays making it appear as if it is emanating from exit nodes. The exit node, however, does not know the user’s address. Therefore, when using Tor, it is difficult to trace back the internet activity of an individual.

What is Tor

The very first version of the onion routing software (so named because of the many layers of obscurity that is offered) was developed by the employees of the US Naval Research Laboratory, mathematicians and a computer scientist in the mid-1990s. This project was constituted to protect online communications among intelligence agencies. It was further developed by DARPA and many others later that make up the Tor project today. Though many non-profit organizations were involved in funding the project in its earliest stages, the US government made up the majority of the funding sources in its later stages. The Tor is free to use and consists of a voluntary network that consists of over 7,000 relays (computers) worldwide. The encryption is implemented in the application layer of the communications protocol. The data and the destination IP address are encrypted a number of times and are sent through many Tor relays that are randomly selected. One relay’s job is merely to decrypt the information to reveal to the next relay and send the entire packet of encrypted data to the next one. It is the job of the last relay to decrypt the layer that is innermost and send it to the destination IP address. The source IP address is not visible to the relay. At every hop in the circuit, the routing information is only incompletely visible with no knowledge of the source and destination. It, therefore, becomes difficult to track the information through the Tor circuit. All traffic that moves within the Tor network is encrypted.

How to Use Tor

The safest way to use Tor is by downloading and using the Tor Browser Bundle (customized for FireFox). This is a portable and customized version that is available for Windows, Linux and Mac platforms. This standalone version can be used whenever a user wants to browse anonymously. One can switch back to the regular browser when the browsing is over.

This bundle is available in a preconfigured version with settings and extensions that can be used for Tor. Using Tor with other browsers may not make it very safe as usage of some of the other browser plugins may reveal the user’s IP address. This browser bundle disables all plug-ins and makes it safe for use. The Tor Browser bundle also includes extensions that enable HTTPS with websites that have the matching support. HTTPS provides encryption of the last node and the target website.


The Tor Browser Bundle need not be installed for it to work. It can easily be loaded onto a USB drive and run from there. The downloaded .EXE file is double clicked to extract it to the hard drive or USB. A Tor Browser folder is created and the next step is to click on the Start Tor Browser icon in the folder. The .EXE launches Vidalia that helps to connect to the Tor network. Thereafter, Vidalia automatically opens the customized Firefox browser for Tor. After the browsing is over, Vidalia automatically disconnects Tor and the browser is closed. The browsing is done as one would with a normal browser.

It is a good idea to check the installer’s GPG signature before working the bundle. This ensures that the version that the user has downloaded is not a tampered version. It is important to note that this check requires that some additional software be downloaded. It is also not recommended that you download PDF and DOC files or open them in other applications when using Tor. The external application may connect to the Internet for additional resources and this action may reveal the user’s IP address. It is a known fact that the Tor browsing experience is a slower one when compared to the normal browsing experience. However, users understand that the slow speed is the price paid for the relative obscurity that the network offers.

The Deep Web, Dark Web, and Darknet Markets

The deep web refers to web pages and contents that are not indexed by regular search engines and accessible only with special software such as Tor,whiledark web is just a small part of the deep web. Darknet markets are sites operating on the dark web. They function as online black markets dealing with licit and illicit goods and services.

Deep Web – The Hidden Part Of The Internet

The Deep Web

icebergdeepweb-1The first distinction to make when defining the “deep web” is the difference between the deep web and the surface web. The surface web consists of all content that can be crawled and indexed; the content a search engine can retrieve. This includes typical news sites, social media pages, etc. The deep web includes any content not indexed or retrievable via search engine. This includes not only the illegal darknet markets but also benign content such as corporate intranet sites.

Many use the terms deep web and dark web/dark net interchangeably, but there is a distinction. The dark net is an overlay network of the Internet in which the content is part of an anonymous encrypted network. In addition to not being retrievable by search engines, the content on these sites has been intentionally hidden and cannot be accessed via standard web browsers such as Chrome or Firefox. The identities and locations of site operators are also concealed. Like the well-known geometry adage that “every square is a rhombus, but not every rhombus is a square,” all sites on dark net are part of the deep web, but not all content on the deep web is part of the dark net.

Sites on dark net are concealed through methods such as Tor’s hidden services. Tor’s hidden services remove the need to provide an IP address to the user by configuring a server that obfuscates the host’s IP. Instead, to access the site, users enter a 16 character code called an “onion address,” most distinctly marked by the .onion domain. These hidden pages are what make up the dark net- the sites that most often are associated with illegal goods trafficking and nefarious activity. One of the most famous darknet markets and one that we are all familiar with is Silk Road – the sitethat law enforcement shut down in 2013.

6a00e54fce13cf88340148c6ab4213970c-800wiThe dark net’s anonymous browsing capabilities attract its users. It is used by a wide variety of individuals: journalists, whistleblowers, those seeking to avoid government censorship, as well as the infamous illegal goods vendors selling drugs, guns, counterfeit materials, child pornography, etc. While the dark net has a reputation of being a hub of illicit activity, many dark net users are simply privacy advocates who prefer their benign online activity hidden from government surveillance. Thus, content on the dark net ranges from news and information shared by journalists and whistle blowers to anonymous email clients, such as Sigaint, forums and online marketplaces that serve as a meeting place for illegal activity.

Accessing dark net sites requires either a network configuration or specific software, which the user installs onto their desktop. Most darknet users use Tor, a free anonymous software, but other options, such as I2P, FreeNet, RetroShare, GNUnet, Zeronet, Syndie, OneSwarm, and Tribler also exist. Since Tor is the most popular, this guide will explain how to connect using Tor. First, the user downloads the Tor browser bundle and follows the installation instructions. Once Tor is installed and launched, the browser will automatically connect to the Tor network.

Tor implements a three-node model, termed onion routing, to conceal the user’s IP address. The user’s local computer connects to an entry node to access the Tor network. The entry node knows the IP address of the user since it directly communicates with the computer. The entry node then passes an encrypted request to the relay node, which, because it is communicating only with the entry node and not the user’s computer, does not know the original IP address. The relay node then communicates with the exit node, where the request is decrypted and sent to the Internet. The exit node only knows the IP address of the relay node, but not entry node or the user’s computer.  Once on the Tor network, the user then has access to dark net sites, provided they have the proper .onion domain addresses. For first time users or dark net newcomers, these addresses can be found on open net forums or index sites, such as Hidden Wiki and also Dark Net news sites such as DarkWebNews.com.