The Deepest Darkest Part of the Web
Posted by Pamela S. on Friday, August 17th, 2012
Anyone who conducts research online knows about deep web searches, but there is an even deeper underground of evil on the Internet and unfortunately, it isn’t so secret anymore. Anarchists, criminals and people who think it is the right of everyone to have access to certain illegal sites are providing tips on how to access this world.
Gawker published an article last year called “The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable”.
Silk Road is a website where people can buy any illegal drug, including cocaine and heroin. The only way to access this site is by using an anonymizer called Tor. This software is an Onion Router. It works by directing Internet traffic through a network of volunteer servers to conceal a person’s location. Onion layering works by encrypting and re-encrypting data multiple times. The information is sent through a number of successive Tor relays which decrypts a layer of encryption and passes data on to the next relay.
Tor has legitimate uses. It is free software and can be used by anyone, including journalists, investigators and law enforcement. It is also the only way to access Silk Road, which is known as the “Amazon of all things illegal”
Silk Road also runs a site called The Armory, which sells illegal weapons. The only way to purchase items from these sites is by using a “crypto-currency” called Bitcoins. This is a peer-to-peer currency which is not issued by any banks or governments.
An article on Daily Anarchist encourages people to join the site, not necessarily to purchase drugs or weapons, but because the underground market will provide more revolutionary products in the future. The article points out that in the future there will be assassination markets where assassins will market their services for contract killings of “corrupt politicians, judges and police officers.”
According to an article published last week on Forbes.com, Silk Road makes on average, $22 million in annual sales. Silk Road is run like many other online marketplace that sell legitimate products. Sellers are given a rating by purchasers, just like eBay.
Nicolas Christin, a Carnegie Mellon computer security professor conducted a study to measure the sales activity on Silk Road’s underground marketplace. As of February of this year, there were over 550 sellers making approximately $1.9 million a month. Christin noted that the level of customer satisfaction was high: 97.8% of customers gave sellers positive reviews.
One of the comments on the Forbes article was from a happy customer of Silk Road, who claimed “High-quality drugs, great customer service and timely arrival. ”
I don’t think I even have to mention that buying street or prescription drugs online and then taking them is not only illegal, buy highly risky. You have no idea what you are receiving, although if the reviews are to be believed, people are happy with their products.
The fact that this secret part of the web isn’t so secret anymore is scary. The site is worried about infiltration by law enforcement, and so it should be. In the meantime, Internet savvy teenagers and young people are probably online right now, buying or selling LSD or crack, or some other dangerous drug, just like you would purchase an antique lamp on eBay.
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