What You Need to Know About Finding an Email Address

Did you misplace an email you desperately need? Whether it's a business contact or an old high school friend, there are several ways to go about tracking down someone's email address. Employ these five strategies to find any email address you're looking for. 

Use Social Media

Browsing through pictures on a phone
Google/cc

Searching Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn could quickly lead you to the email address you're looking for.

Search each those the social media websites directly to find users. Details such as age, high school, and hometown—if you know them—are particularly helpful on social media sites.

Even if a person's page isn't public on Facebook, users sometimes allow their email address to remain public. That way,  someone who isn't a "friend," can still contact them. More »

Close up of silhouetted male hand typing on laptop keyboard
Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Sometimes a good old-fashioned web search can help you locate someone's email address. Use a large and extensive search engine such as Google to garner the best results.

Putting the person's name in quotes often narrows the search. However, if the individual you're looking for has a common name, like "John Smith," you're going to need some additional information.

You could launch a search, like this: "John Smith" + "Brooklyn, New York." The more information you have, the better. If you know where the person works, their hometown, or place of business, be sure to add that information to your search terms. More »

Laughing architects at conference table in office.
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

It may have a scary name—Hidden Web, Invisible Web, Dark Web—but it contains a treasure-trove of information if you just know where to look. There are plenty of less-well-known search engines that are designed to search the Dark Web, including Internet Archive Wayback Machine, Pipl, Zabasearch, and others. Some require registration and some may offer only limited information without a fee. Remember where you are, and don't be eager to enter your payment information. More »

Check Web Directories or White Pages 

Phil Ashley/Getty Images

From public records to the white pages, there are email address directories that you can find on the internet. Once on these sites, such as Whitepages, you can use search engines that help you find an individual's email address. 

It's helpful if you know the city and state where a person lives or works.  More »

Guess Somebody's Email Address

Cup and balls guessing game.
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Most organizations do not let people choose email addresses freely but instead assign them by name. You can take advantage of that by assuming the email address using some syntax guessing. Of course, you have to know where the person works.

Try separating the individual's first and last name with a period. If you look on a company's email directory and everyone's email starts with their first initial and the first six letters of their last name, you can try this combination.

For example, if the addresses at the company website are all in the format This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., John Smith's would be This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. However, if you see on the website that that This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. belongs to the CEO, it's more than likely that an employee named Emma Osner's email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..More »

 Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Heinz Tschabitscher

Categorized in How to

The dark web isn’t just for buying drugs and hiring assassins. It’s a massive network of websites and communities that exists outside of mainstream internet culture, and there’s plenty to do on the dark web without breaking any laws—from book clubs to crisis preparation.

Here’s a look at some of the weirdest and most subversive dark web sites that won’t lead a team of federal agents to bust down your door.

What’s the Dark Web and How Is it Different From the Deep Web?

Before we dive in, it’s worth clearing this up. The two terms “deep web” and “dark web” get mixed up a lot, but the difference between them is pretty simple.

The deep web refers to anything you can’t access in a search engine, either because it’s protected behind a password or because it’s buried deep within a regular website. The dark web is a subsection of the deep web that you can only access with a special browser like Tor to mask your IP address. It includes illegal markets like the infamous Silk Road, along with plenty of other less-objectionable websites.

Below, a few of the dark web’s more wholesome offerings—though you’ll need to download Tor to actually access them.

Join a Book Club

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Reading communities have been a fixture of the dark web for years. Even Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht (AKA the Dread Pirate Roberts) had a hidden webpage where people discussed literary classics like Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man alongside more controversial materials like Anarchist Cookbook.

Ulbricht’s online book club is no longer operating, but there are plenty of other options on the dark web, including sites like Jotunbane’s Reading Club and the Imperial Library of Trantor. A big part of these sites is downloading illegal copies of popular books, but you can also find active discussions and some useful un-copyrighted reading material as well.

If you’re looking for something a little less intellectual, Motherboard also recommends “Blog about stories,” a dark web site where people share real and fictional stories about spanking.

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Prepare for the End of the World

If you’re hitting the dark web in search of more concrete information, check out the Strategic Intelligence Network. It’s packed with information for how to deal with any sort of crisis anywhere on earth, from natural disasters to riots or all out war.

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If you’re still not satisfied, head to Hidden Answers, basically the dark web’s version of Yahoo Answers with topics like government, law and financial services, along with drugs and erotica, according to MakeUseOf. The dark web even has its own news outlet, Flashlight, which focuses on bitcoin, online privacy and other similar subjects—you can actually check out Flashlight without a special browser right here.

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Get Social

The dark web is a lot like the regular internet we know and love—just with a higher ratio of anarchists. It has its own email service, social networks and even online games.

If you’re looking for a super secure email provider check out AnonInbox, which charges a fraction of a bitcoin per year and promises total privacy in return. There’s also Operation Genesis, a social network with hundreds of thousands of users, according to Dark Web News. Finally, head to TheChess to square off against players from around the world in the classic board game.

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There’s plenty more to do on the dark web, but these sites should help you get a taste for what the lighter side of the darker side of the internet has to offer—without risking any jail time in the process.

Source: This article was published lifehacker.com By Jacob Kleinman

Categorized in Deep Web

Transaction laundering has enabled cyber criminals to do business beyond the dark web.

The media is swamped with mentions of the evil called “The Dark Web”. And evil indeed it is.  After the conviction of  Ross Ulbricht - the ringleader of the notorious Silk Road website, law enforcement has concentrated it’s attention on drug trade, human trafficking and hacking communities in the dark web.

Law enforcement is correct to devote attention to dark web activities. Last year, the FBI launched a high-profile sting operation to battle drug trafficking on the dark web. Operation Hyperion identified thousands of dark web market users across three continents, sending a clear message that achieving true anonymity in the dark web is not that easy as many users have thought.   

However, illegal products and services thought to be exclusively available on the dark web, are quite often easily accessible through the familiar surface web, due to a scheme known as transaction laundering. By funneling illicit ecommerce payments through a legitimate merchant account, criminals are able to process payments for illegal goods and services out in the open. Merchant Service Providers and legitimate merchants, often unknowingly, end up facilitating online trade in illegal goods, exposing themselves to penalties and legal liability. 

Background: Deep/Dark/Surface Web Defined 

The surface web is where most of us operate almost all the time. It comprises any web content that is indexable by mainstream search engines like Google or Bing. 

The deep web simply refers to content that is not accessible for indexing by a search engine, and therefore, cannot appear in search results. There’s nothing sinister about deep web content by definition. Your emails are in the deep web, and so is your online bank account, your Amazon orders, flight and hotel reservations, and also your gym’s password-protected Pilates scheduling site. 

The common theme for all these examples is that you can only get to these pages by entering passwords and other credentials, or certain search parameters, etc. – these pages are generated dynamically and can’t be indexed. 

The dark web on the other hand is purposefully hidden, and can’t be accessed via standard web browsers at all. To access the dark web (among other methods), you’ll need a special browser such as TOR, to name one of the most famous ones. 

The dark web lives up to its name. More readily accessible, secure and anonymous than ever before, it has become far more than a fringe playground for hackers and journalists. It has evolved from a safe zone for the ones legitimately seeking anonymity into a full-fledged, corrupt network. The dark web today facilitates, on a massive scale, the worst things imaginable including the exchange of illicit content, collaboration on criminal plans, child pornography, sales of drugs and weapons, human trafficking, and a wealth of other illegal activities. So it well deserves the attention it gets from the law enforcers. 

Where is Financial Crime Happening? You might be surprised… 

There’s no question that the dark web is a haven for criminals. At a recent Law Enforcement Awards ceremony for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network(FinCEN), an IRS crime team was recognized for its investigations into dark web, drugs and Bitcoin. 

Indeed, the financial activity on the dark web is conducted via the tools of crypto-currencies, Bitcoin being the most renowned one. It is almost impossible to use major payment methods such as credit cards on the dark web. 

Surfing the dark web requires savviness that is not possessed by the average Joe. It requires the awareness and the mindset of knowingly hiding and seeking anonymity. Most people do not shop for sneakers on TOR via a VPN using Bitcoins. Law enforcement is watching the dark web closely and criminals have good reason to be wary. 

But while all this is happening far below the surface, the criminals have found ways to conduct a good portion of their illicit activities out in the open.  To make things worse, they’ve found a way of accepting standard payment methods while abusing the financial system. It’s ironic that much of this crime is never even formally recognized as crime. Enter transaction laundering. 

What is Transaction Laundering? 

Transaction laundering (TL) is a new advanced form of money laundering and it occurs when a cyber criminal takes advantage of a legitimate payment ecosystem by funneling unknown transactions through seemingly unrelated ecommerce merchant accounts. These “unknowns” may or may not represent illicit goods, or unreported income. But from a regulatory point of view, they’re completely under the radar. 

For example, let’s say a dealer sets up a website to sell illegal drugs. He can actually accept payment via credit card from his customers by rerouting payments through a legitimate merchant account. The legitimate merchant (for example, an online clothing shop) and the MSP that processes the payments have no idea the payments are actually for drugs and not for clothes. And even if our drug dealer is selling – for example – legal drug paraphernalia, this example of transaction laundering is still facilitating a massive amount of unreported income. This represents an infringement of credit card brand association policies, a breach of KYC requirements and AML regimes, and also violates numerous federal regulations. 

The Extent of Transaction Laundering 

It is estimated that transaction laundering for online sales of products and services has reached over $150 billion a year in the US alone and over $300 billion globally, $10 billion of which, involves illegal goods, sold online by over 400,000 unregistered merchants. 

This is $300 billion of sales volume in illegal products and services sold online on the surface web using standard payment methods such as credit cards, of which Merchant Service Providers (MSPs) have neither control over nor specific knowledge of. These are unregistered transactions from hundreds of thousands of merchants that MSPs have not specifically approved, that go through the banking systems with effectively no KYC or AML procedures in place, and facilitate some of the worst kinds of illegal commercial activities. 

Through transaction laundering, criminals can now access an audience that would not be savvy enough, or criminally minded enough, to go through the alleys of the dark web or use crypto-currencies. Criminals can now easily sell counterfeit products, or prescription medications, to unknowing consumers that would otherwise not venture into the dark web to make a purchase. They can also now push controlled substances and extreme content through spam emails and other channels. One can only imagine what could happen if we took the hackers’ forums of the dark web and put them on Facebook for everyone to see. Now apply this to the ecommerce industry and that’s where transaction laundering comes into play.   

Transaction laundering grows as the volume of Internet commerce grows. Emerging payment models and transaction processing technology have not kept pace thus far with the massive growth in online shopping. With so many transactions over so many payment systems, MSPs (acquiring banks, payment facilitators, and online marketplaces) simply lack the right tools to sufficiently vet each merchant and each payment. 

Source: This article was published itproportal.com By Ron Teicher

Categorized in Deep Web

Often used interchangeably, deep web and dark web aren’t actually the same things, rather, the dark web makes for a small part of the deep web.

People often confuse both the terms and at other times think they both mean the same thing, but that’s not it.

Mostly, the deep web has been related to something awful on the internet — like the notorious SilkRoad black market — but not everything on the deep web is illegal or bad.

Now before you go on jumping to conclusions about the deep web and how dangerous it can be, let me just explain it in simpler words.

What is the Deep Web?

The deep web is the part of the internet which is inaccessible using search engines like Google and Bing — per se, the search engines can not index them, so they do not turn up when searched for.

Stop Trackers from Tracking Your Gmail

It’s not something out of this world, on the contrary, you are probably accessing the deep web on a regular basis — your emails, online banking transactions, direct messages on Twitter, Instagram and much more.

None of these things turn up on the internet via a search engine, rather are protected behind a paywall or via a password.

Anything that can not be found on the surface of the web using a search engine is part of the deep web.

Given that the billions of internet users in all probability have thousands of billions of online accounts in all, which are either password protected or hold content behind a paywall — all of this comprises the deep web, which many believe makes up for a majority of content on the internet.

The deep web is alternatively also called the Invisible or Hidden web and can be accessed via the normal Chrome or Safari browsers.

What is the Dark Web?

Dark web isn’t an altogether different part of the internet but a part of the Deep web itself but can not be accessed via the standard browsers.

Given that a majority of the Dark web comprises of websites selling illegal products such as drugs or hacked credentials, and also houses websites dealing with weapons and child pornography, it is often referred to as the underbelly of the internet.

The Dark web is also used by internet activists and journalists to stay anonymous while passing or gathering information, especially in countries where the internet is heavily censored.

The search engine for those concerned about their privacy — DuckDuckGo — runs their service on the dark web too.

Websites on the Dark web, which are suffixed with .onion domain, can be accessed using the Tor browser or a similar service.

Note, while it’s not illegal to access the Dark web, beware that a lot many of the websites offer illegal services and accessing them might not sit right with the lawmakers in your native place.

The Dark web isn’t as fancy and interactive as the rest of the surface web — or the Internet as we know and use it — and the websites are mundane and will take you back in time.

In order to access a website on the Dark web, you’ll either need the exact (.onion) URL of the site or can try your luck with the limited search engines for the Dark web such as The Hidden Wiki.

Is the Dark Web Bad?

Even though a majority of the websites on the Dark web deal with illegal activities, websites such as Facebook, The Intercept, ProPublica have a version with .onion URL — nothing illegal happening here.

Journalists, whistleblowers and internet activists use the Dark web to circumvent restrictions as well as to maintain anonymity and privacy while exchanging information.

No tool on the internet is bad in essence, but it’s the reason it’s being used for that makes it so. Similarly, the Dark web isn’t completely a thing of evil.

Source: This article was published guidingtech.com By Prayank

Categorized in Deep Web

Short Bytes: The internet is vast, yet an enormous chunk of it is still untouched by the ordinary world. We address that part by the names Deep Web, Darknet, and Dark Web. Darknet is a type of network not accessible using normal modes. Deep Web – which includes dark web as a subset – is the part of the world wide web not indexed by the search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo.

For most of us, the web is limited to ten twenty or maybe fifty websites. Most of this limited collection is in the form of Google sites and services. In reality, the internet is enormous, and it has around one billion websites existing on servers around the globe.

Even with those billion websites, the web isn’t complete. Many believe the world wide web we see is only the tip of an iceberg. Two terms Darknet and Deep Web, in some sense, justify the presence of this hidden web about which most people are unaware. And those who know about the darknet often confuse it with deep web. Whereas, both are completely separate.

What is Deep Web?

Over the centuries, when the technology became advanced, humans built machines capable of diving to the depths of the oceans. That’s how we were able to discover the remains of RMS Titanic. The search engine crawlers do the same work as done by the explorer submarines. They dive into the internet and take a note of whatever they find.

We might have found Titanic, but there is a lot to discover in the bottomless oceans. Similar is the case of the search engine crawlers, they haven’t identified various parts of the World Wide Web, and we call it the Deep Web.

For instance, the search engines won’t be able to access the servers and websites hosting data about some government-led secret alien mission. But the deep web isn’t as mysterious as it sounds. A private network, tagged as deep web, can be right next to your house. It’s just the internet that isn’t within reach of standard search engine crawlers. For instance, the network maintained by some paid streaming service. It is a type of deep web or hidden web. Obviously, the search engines won’t be opting for a monthly subscription to index the catalog of such websites.

What is Darknet?

Contrary to deep web, Darknet is better known to the people. It is an encrypted network built on top of the existing internet, and specific software or tools are required to access the darknet. It is possible, conventional protocols used on the internet might not work on the darknet.

Darknet provides anonymity to the users. One such darknet is Tor or The Onion Router. You require the Tor browser to enter into the Tor’s network.

Tor can be used to visit everyday internet websites, but it also has numerous hidden websites and services which we can’t be accessed on the regular internet. Tor powers them using its protocol known as Tor Hidden Service Protocol. And the websites limited to the Tor network have a special .onion address. Due to this, Tor’s darknet is also known as onionland.

Friend-to-Friend (F2F) networks are another kind of darknet. In this case, two familiar people communicate with each other directly over the internet. They might want to share some file over a P2P connection. Such networks, not accessible by other people, can be encrypted or password protected. So, only the concerned people have the access.

Increasing the confusion…..

What Is Dark Web

Deep Web Dark Web

 


 

There is another thing you would like to be aware of, the dark web. You can think of the dark web as a subset of the deep web. You need to understand the distinction between deep web and darknet, and the fact that the internet and WWW (World Wide Web) aren’t the same things.

The darknet is a network, and the deep web constitutes the chunk of the World Wide Web that is beyond the reach of the search engines. So, we can decipher dark web as the World Wide Web of the darknets like Tor, Freenet, etc. That is, the services and websites running on the darknet is the dark web.

Did you find this helpful? Drop your thoughts and feedback.

Source: This article was published on fossbytes.com by Aditya Tiwari

Categorized in Deep Web

Watch out, Hollywood has found the "Deep" and "Dark Web." In Netflix's "House of Cards," a reporter uses it to hire a hacker to learn more about Vice President Frank Underwood's past. "CSI: Cyber" says that their team works on the edges of the darknet, the anonymous side of the Internet. "Deep Web" is new documentary about Ross Ulbricht, the convicted creator and operator of Silk Road, an online black market known best for selling illegal drugs.

There is the Internet that you and I use. Then, there is the other Internet that we don't.

The "Surface Web" is Google, Facebook, Amazon, Komando.com, eBay, and everything else a search site typically shows. Depending on the survey, Google only catalogs and searches anywhere from 4 percent to 16 percent of the Surface Web.

Below the Surface Web is the Deep Web. There, you'll find abandoned websites, paywalled sites, research firm databases, government databases and other things that aren't meant to be public. In the Deep Web, there is a place called the Dark Web.

The Dark Web is where the Internet's illicit activities reside. If you want to buy illegal drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen items, fake degrees or passports, cloned debit cards, hacking tools, weapons and more, you can. Dark Web sites also let you hire a hit man or escort, buy someone's identity or swap child pornography.

Finding sites on the Dark Web isn't easy and I am not going to give you the steps how to do it. Suffice to say, you need to visit the right online directory or hidden search site first to even find it. However, that doesn't mean Dark Web sites aren't popular or get mainstream attention.

Let me tell more about Silk Road. 

The FBI took the site down in 2013, but its name and legend still live on. When the FBI raided the home of Silk Road's creator, Ross Ulbricht, it seized $28.5 million in untraceable digital currency that was sitting on Ulbricht's computer. That was just Ulbricht's cut of the Silk Road transactions. Black market sites are doing hundreds of millions, potentially billions, of dollars in illicit business.

Even with Silk Road gone, there are still numerous sites selling illegal goods, services and the unconscionable. However, the Dark Web might not be dark for much longer.

DARPA, the research arm of the Defense Department that also works on projects like flying aircraft carriers, is making key parts of its Memex search system available as open-source software. That means anyone can download and adapt Memex in new ways.

Unlike other popular search systems, Memex can search the Dark Web, and it's already being used to hunt down human traffickers. Other research organizations, including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Stanford University are working on their own software built on Memex technology.

Some of these programs are going to help law enforcement track down criminals, while others could give Google a run for its money. Stanford's DeepDive figures out connections between groups of data. So you can search for a person and an organization and the system will figure out how they're related. Carnegie Mellon's TJBatchExtractor creates personal and company profiles from advertisements, which is useful for tracking down criminals offering illegal activities on Dark Web forums.

A company named Diffeo has a system that learns what kind of answers you're looking for so it can exclude irrelevant information. Hyperion Gray is working on a Web crawler that doesn't rely on links for connecting websites. It can find similar information on sites that are completely unrelated.

Most of these applications are geared toward law enforcement, researchers and scholars, but so was the original Internet. You never know what new super-powered search system is going to come out of it that changes the way we find information.

In the meantime, you're going to be hearing more about the Dark Web from both Hollywood and in the news. In fact, you might even have your kids or grandkids asking about it. Click here to find out what I said to my son about the Dark Web when he asked, and what you need your kids to know. After you're done watching that video, be sure to check out more exclusive clips from my weekly national talk radio show.

On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.

This article was published in foxnews.com

Categorized in Deep Web

Most of the world wide web is invisible. Beyond the “surface web”—the parts accessible to search engines—there is a “deep web” containing (by one estimate) 500 times the content, secured in databases and hidden behind login screens. And within this deep web is a tiny corner known as the “dark web,” which requires special, anonymizing software such as the Tor Browser to access and contains everything from black markets selling drugs and counterfeit IDs to whistleblowing forums.

Categorized in Deep Web

The so-called Islamic State (IS) is the most innovative terrorist group the world has seen. In the backdrop of its loss on the ground, IS is expanding its cyber capabilities to conduct more cyber-attacks and hacking. This and its migration into the ‘darknet’ will make IS more dangerous than before.

Terrorist and non-state actors have used different modes and mediums to spread their message and communicate with their comrades. The dawn of the Internet has also provided such groups with unparalleled opportunities to establish communications and operational links that were not possible before. Starting from websites, terrorist groups moved to more interactive mediums like chatrooms and forums. It was social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter that truly revolutionised how militants, terrorists and non-state actors communicated with each other, recruited sympathisers and supporters and disseminated their propaganda.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) perfected the use of social media, which became the preferred source for the so-called ‘jihadists’ or ‘soldiers of the Caliphate’. In response, tech companies have been compelled to take down Facebook and Twitter accounts affiliated with IS. The unintended cost of this policy is that supporters, sympathisers and members of jihadist groups have moved into the deep web and the darknet.

What is Deep Web and Darknet?

The deep web and darknet are terms that are interchangeably used but they are two different things. The deep web includes all those web pages that a search engine such as Google cannot find. This includes web pages that are password-protected and includes all webmail, private Facebook accounts, user databases and pages behind paywalls. Websites that are not indexed by Google are also considered as part of the deep web. The surface web is all that Google has indexed and a user can access it using any search engine. It is said that the surface web is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and the deep web comprises more than 90% of the total Internet, which is almost 500 times of what Google can see.

The darknet is a part of the deep web but there is an important distinction. We access the deep web every day when retrieving our emails, checking bank statements online or logging into Facebook account. However, we cannot enter the dark net through a regular browser. The darknet is accessed using ‘dot onion’ software and not a ‘dot com’ one. As such, dot com browsers such as the Google Chrome and Firefox cannot access ‘onion’ websites. A different browser, the Tor browser, is used for this purpose.

Tor is an onion browser that sends the user through an unusual route to access a web page. For instance, if a user wishes to access a website using Tor, the browser will wrap the request through numerous layers, which will keep bouncing off different domains in different countries. The layers of the onion (hence the name) ensures anonymity and makes it almost impossible to trace the user’s footprints. This makes the Tor browser and dot onion web pages attractive for those wishing to maintain their privacy and secrecy.

IS in the Darknet

Indeed, anonymity does not mean that the darknet is a dangerous place. Individuals, especially journalists, use such avenues to hide themselves from prying eyes of authoritarian states and dictators. Similarly, Tor is used by those who wish to protect their privacy. However, illegal practices can and do happen because of the anonymity that is guaranteed by Tor and the darknet.

The darknet has provided criminals, non-state actors and terrorists tools and avenues that are absent in the surface net. For instance, a webpage by the name of ‘Silk Road’ functioned like the ‘Amazon.com’ for illegal activities, including the sale of drugs, weapons, fake passports and even hitmen. Criminals were comfortable dealing on this platform because of the anonymity in the darknet. The owner/founder of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, was caught by FBI in 2013.

For IS and potential hackers, another attractive market in the dark net is that of hacking tools. IS and its United Cyber Caliphate has conducted several cyber-attacks in the last one year, usually in the form of defacing websites or hacking Twitter and Facebook accounts. The hacking tools and malware toolkits such as Keyloggers and Remote Access Trojans (RAT) are available in the darknet and it is highly probable that cyber terrorists and hackers download them from there.

Keylogger is a computer program that records every keystroke made by a computer user, while RAT is a malware program that enables administrative control over the target computer. As such, both are utilised to steal private and confidential information. Even IS has attempted to distribute such tools amongst its ‘cyber soldiers’. Additionally, IS hackers have also conducted cyberattacks such as the denial-of-service (DoS) attack, where a machine or service is made unavailable.

Islamic State is known for its innovations and ability to adapt to changing environments. When law enforcement agencies started snooping around social media, IS members, supporters and sympathisers migrated to mobile applications such as the WhatsApp and Telegram. The applications have become attractive modes of communication because of their end-to-end encryption, which prevents any ‘peeping’ by intelligence and law enforcement authorities.

Now a pro-IS deep web forum user has recommended that the group’s users migrate to Tor and stop using VPN services, hence ensuring greater anonymity. The distribution of hacking tools also signifies IS’ ambitions to expand its cyber capability. Considering the versatility of the group, this should not take too long.

Policy Implications

The 9/11 attack was the biggest terrorist attack which changed the complexion of global security. The American leadership and public never expected that an attack of this scale in a post-Cold War era could ever happen in the homeland. Yet, it did. Today, the attack that defined Bin Laden’s notorious legacy seems less possible because of all the security measures and precautions that have been taken by countries around the world.

The lack of imagination before was the serious shortfall of security analysts and counter-terrorism specialists who failed to predict or even anticipate 9/11. If IS wants to surpass 9/11, it will conduct a cyber-9/11. This is not an impossible task considering the lax cybersecurity measures. The recent hacks of the Democratic National Committee emails and leaks to Wikileaks signify the vulnerability of private information. The DoS attacks by hacking groups such as Anonymous further underline the capacity of non-state actors to inflict damage.

Indeed, IS does not possess the capacity and capability to attack infrastructure as was the case with Stuxnet. However, even stealing information, hacking and denial-of-service attacks have serious implications. Furthermore, the loss in Syria and Iraq and the narrow space available to the group make a ‘cyber caliphate’ with hacking capabilities the most viable option and dangerous force.

A terrorist organisation that is anonymous and possesses an army of hackers is already becoming a reality. The world is increasingly becoming more connected via the Internet with government and private infrastructure heavily dependent on cyber technology. This is why, with or without IS, the next wave of terrorism is most likely to be ‘cyber terrorism’. Rather than reacting to an attack in the future, the international community must pre-empt this threat now and take necessary steps.

*Shahzeb Ali Rathore is a Research Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence & Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Source : eurasiareview.com

Categorized in Deep Web

Believe it or not, there are parts of the internet that Google can’t reach.

The dark web is made up of websites hidden from search engines that can only be accessed using special software.

The dark web is used by many people for different things but it’s infamously used by criminals to hide illegal activity online.

So what exactly is the dark web, where did it come from and how does it work?

What is the dark web?

The internet is actually made up of three different layers: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web.

The top layer, the surface web, are web pages that show up using search engines such as Google – like The Sun’s website.

The deep web are web pages that search engines can’t access and are therefore hidden, accessed via passwords and authorization. Any time you log into an account you’re accessing deep web content that won’t show up on a search engine. For example, work intranets, password-protected areas of online banking, and draft blog posts are all stored on the deep web.

This means that if someone was to Google your name, your banking information or Amazon wishlist won’t show up in the results.

The dark web is a network of untraceable online activity and websites on the internet. They cannot be found using search engines and to access them you need to use specific software, configurations or have authorization. They are used by lots of different people to keep their web activity hidden.

Just like the forest, the dark web hides things well – it hides actions and it hides identities.

Where did the dark web come from?

The dark web was actually created by the US government to allow spies to exchange information completely anonymously.

US military researchers developed the technology, known as Tor (The Onion Router) in the mid-1990s and released it into the public domain for everyone to use.

The reason was so that they could stay anonymous – it would be harder to distinguish the government’s messages between spies if thousands of other people were using the same system for lots of different things. Tor now hosts roughly 30,000 hidden sites.

It’s called The Onion Router because it uses the technique of onion routing – making websites anonymous through layers of encryption.

Most websites are also hosted on the .onion domain.

How does the dark web work?

Shutterstock

The best explanation so far has been published by Daniel Prince, Associate Director Security at Lancaster University, on The Conversation.

Prince says: “So just for a minute imagine that the whole internet is a forest – a vast expanse of luscious green as far as the eye can see. And in the forest are well-worn paths – to get from A to B.”

“Think of these paths as popular search engines – like Google – allowing you as the user the option to essentially see the wood from the trees and be connected. But away from these paths – and away from Google – the trees of the forest mask your vision.”

“Off the paths, it is almost impossible to find anything – unless you know what you’re looking for – so it feels a bit like a treasure hunt. Because really the only way to find anything in this vast forest is to be told where to look.”

“This is how the dark web works – and it is essentially the name given to all the hidden places on the internet.”

“Just like the forest, the dark web hides things well – it hides actions and it hides identities. The dark web also prevents people from knowing who you are, what you are doing and where you are doing it.”

Who uses the dark web and why?

The dark web is used by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons – but it’s not surprising that it’s used for illegal activity.

A study by the University of Portsmouth in 2014 found that the most wanted type of content on Tor was child porn, followed by black markets for goods such as drugs, personal details, and even guns.

Shutterstock

This type of site is regularly busted by police, who compromise them by distributing viruses and malware to users.

The dark web is also used for hiding online activity related to finance, extremism, arms, hacking, abuse and fraud.

However, for others, the dark web has positive uses. For example, it can be used to avoid a national firewall, such as China, where users are normally blocked from accessing hidden sites.

It can also be used as a tool for whistleblowing – infamous website WikiLeaks is hosted on the dark web, allowing whistleblowers to anonymously upload classified information to the press.

Do police ever catch people using the dark web?

Yes – although using the dark web makes it easier to evade detection, governments around the world are working to index, sort, and catalog the dark web as well as monitor it as much as they can. The UK government has a dedicated cybercrime unit to tackle the dark web with a focus on taking down serious crime rings and child porn.

Just earlier this year police caught Richard Huckle ‘Britain’s worst-ever pedophile’ by secretly taking over a dark website dedicated to child abuse.

The online network was made up of over 45,000 people who swapped sickening videos and images of children on a dark-web forum which was only accessible through a specially encrypted browser.

Another takedown, called Operation Onymous, involved seventeen different countries, coordinated by Europol and the FBI, which revealed over 400 “hidden services.”

The operation led to hundreds of pounds worth of Bitcoin being seized and 17 arrests – but only one person was identified and taken into custody.

Who is Ross Ulbricht?

One of Ross Ulbricht’s supporters stands outside a federal courthouse in Manhattan on the first day of his trial in 2015.Getty Images

Ross Ulbricht was the man behind Silk Road, the internet’s biggest market for illegal drugs – which was hosted on the dark web.

A courtroom sketch of Ross UlbrichtAP

Silk Road was reportedly worth $34.5 million and had nearly one million anonymous customers. On Silk Road, you could buy drugs, services (such as hacking into Facebook accounts), pirated content, fakes passports and more. You could even check the reviews and star ratings of each dealer left by other customers.

Ulbricht was caught by the FBI in 2013, who shut down Silk Road and convicted him of money laundering, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic fraudulent identity documents and conspiracy to traffic narcotics in February 2015. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Ulbricht will also be tried for procuring murder – FBI indictments claimed he ordered two hitmen to kill people he thought would expose the identity of his clients.

Source : nypost.com

Categorized in Deep Web

As you may know, the “web” runs deeper than that network of hyperlinked pages you’re browsing right now.

Technically, the portion of the web that search engines like Google (goog, -0.39%) and Microsoft (msft, -0.08%) Bing catalog is called the “surface web” (though most people will think you’re a weirdo if you call it that). Less accessible portions go by other names.

For those who care to draw a distinction, the “deep web” refers to the region outside public view. This includes pages not indexed by standard search engines, such as password-protected sites, or ones tucked behind a paywall. Many people spend just as much time on the deep web as they do on the surface, if not more.

For example, your online bank account, your Netflix (nflx, -0.44%) subscription, and perhaps your Facebook (fb, -0.28%) profile page are on the deep web. You’re likely well acquainted with this more private digital world—even if you didn’t realize it.

Finally, there’s the “dark web,” a mere sliver of the deep web. (Don’t worry; I’m not going to show you a diagram of an iceberg.)

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The dark web consists of encrypted networks that have been intentionally hidden from view, and they require special software to access them. Usually, when people refer to the dark web, they’re referring to content hosted on the Tor network, a system of relays that obscures IP addresses, or the locations of devices on a network. (Freenet and I2P are two other networks that support the dark web, but we’ll stick to Tor here.)

You can visit the Tor part of the dark web simply by downloading special browser software from the Tor Project’s website, and connecting to a URL that bears the top-level domain “’dot’ onion.” For instance, the Hidden Wiki, which is only accessible via the Tor browser, has a list of dark web sites. Be careful where you click though, as some sites may contain questionable—possibly even illegal—content.

While there’s no doubt plenty of shady stuff happening on the dark web, the network has a positive side. It helps political dissidents and whistleblowers escape surveillance and disseminate their views, for instance. Indeed, Tor was originally developed by the U.S. military in order to help route intelligence communications—and the U.S. government remains a major funder of the non-profit organization that now maintains it.

Sure, the dark web gets a bad rap for its association with criminal enterprises, like the Silk Road, a much maligned drug marketplace that operated for two years before the Feds shut it down in 2013. But some dark web users simply prefer the anonymity afforded by an encrypted network.

It’s not illegal to try to protect your privacy, after all.

Source : fortune.com

Categorized in Deep Web
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