Silk Road was an internet black market and the first modern-day darknet market. It was founded by Ross William Ulbricht (also known as Dread Pirate Roberts) born in Texas, the U.S. who had a different ideology.

He believed everyone should have the right to buy, sell whatever they want as long as they did not harm anyone.

If we summarise it, it made Ulbricht a millionaire, and later a convict.

It may sound like a Hollywood movie but it is true. Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves narrated a 2015 documentary on the Silk Road legend called Dark Web which chronicles the rise and fall of the black market and its founder.

Initial Days

SilkRoad was first launched in February 2011. Ulbricht started his dark web marketplace development in 2010. It was a side project to Good Wagon Books. The project was designed to use Tor and bitcoin. It was destined that his marketplace to become the catalyst for a revolution.

When it started, there were a limited number of new seller accounts available. So, every new seller has to purchase a merchant account in an auction. Later, each merchant has to give a fixed fee.

How did it work?

As it operated as a Tor hidden service, communications on Silk Road were considered by users to be entirely anonymous. Besides, transactions on Silk Road could only be made using bitcoins.

For customers, the main benefit it had over its rivals was that it was trustworthy.

Same like eBay, it would match consumers and dealers, allows both parties to rate each other, and provide products to be delivered directly to customers’ doors by the unsuspecting mail service.   

Silk Road 1.jpg

His website connected nearly 4,000 drug traders around the world to sell their drugs to more than 100,000 buyers, and could you get you anything you want from fake documents to top-quality heroin.

It is estimated that in its very short span, over $1 billion transferred through Silk Road, giving Ulbricht a secret fortune of an estimated $28 million at the time of his arrest.

Products in Silk Road

Initial listings on Silk Road were to be restricted to products that resulted in ‘victimless crimes’. On that foundation, products linked to the likes of stolen credit cards, assassinations, weapons of mass destruction and child pornography were banned.

Silk Road 2.jpg

Ulbricht became unwilling or unable to maintain the standards that he had initially set and indeed had relaxed the policy on banning the sale of weapons based on a view that increased firearm regulations were making it harder for people to purchase guns, in contrast with his libertarian values. Furthermore, as the site evolved, more and more ‘contraband’ products began to be listed.

There were also legal goods and services for sale, such as apparel, art, books, cigarettes, erotica, jewelry, and writing services. A sister site, called “The Armoury”, sold weapons (primarily firearms) during 2012, but was shut down, due to a lack of demand.

The End of the Silk Road

Although the authorities were aware of the existence of Silk Road within a few months of its launch, it took over two years from that time for Ulbricht’s identity to be revealed.

Ulbricht may have included a reference to Silk Road on his LinkedIn page, where he discussed his wish to “use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and aggression amongst mankind” and claimed, “I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force.” Ulbricht moved to San Francisco before his arrest.

Ulbricht was first connected to “Dread Pirate Roberts” by Gary Alford, an IRS investigator working with the DEA on the Silk Road case, in mid-2013.

The connection was made by linking the username “altoid”, used during Silk Road’s early days to announce the website and a forum post in which Ulbricht, posting under the nickname “altoid”, asked for programming help and gave his email address, which contained his full name.

On an October afternoon in a public library in San Francisco, Ross Ulbricht’s dream of an online libertarian paradise came to a sudden end. The FBI had finally caught up with Ulbricht having infiltrated the Silk Road.

At the time of his arrest, he was logged into Silk Road as an administrator and using his Dread Pirate Roberts alias to unknowingly communicate with an undercover FBI agent. Agents found that Ulbricht’s laptop had tens of millions of dollars of bitcoin on it, with millions more stored on USB drives found in his apartment.

The computer also contained Ulbricht’s private journal, which contained damning evidence against him. Within hours of his arrest, Silk Road’s domain had been seized, the market was shut down and Ross Ulbricht’s grand plans to make the world a better place were in disarray.

Silk Road 3.jpg

Aftermath – Silk Road

As part of their investigation into Silk Road, the FBI had caught up with several other Silk Road users and administrators while hunting for Dread Pirate Robert. Prosecutors alleged that Ulbricht paid $730,000 to others to commit the murders, although none of the murders occurred.

The FBI initially seized 26,000 bitcoins from accounts on Silk Road, worth approximately $3.6 million at the time. An FBI spokesperson said that the agency would hold the bitcoins until Ulbricht’s trial finished, after which the bitcoins would be liquidated.

In October 2013, the FBI reported that it had seized 144,000 bitcoins, worth $28.5 million and that the bitcoins belonged to Ulbricht.

The complaint published when Ulbricht was arrested included information the FBI gained from a system image of the Silk Road server collected on 23 July 2013. It noted that “From February 6, 2011, to July 23, 2013, there were approximately 1,229,465 transactions completed on the site. The total revenue generated from these sales was 9,519,664 Bitcoins, and the total commissions collected by Silk Road from the sales amounted to 614,305 Bitcoins. These figures are equivalent to roughly $1.2 billion in revenue and $79.8 million in commissions, at current Bitcoin exchange rates…”, according to the September 2013 complaint, and involved 146,946 buyers and 3,877 vendors.

On 27 June 2014, the U.S. Marshals Service sold 29,657 bitcoins in 10 blocks in an online auction, estimated to be worth $18 million at contemporary rates and only about a quarter of the seized bitcoins. Another 144,342 bitcoins were kept which had been found on Ulbricht’s computer, roughly $87 million.


Ulbricht’s trial began on 13 January 2015 in federal court in Manhattan. At the start of the trial, Ulbricht admitted to founding the Silk Road website but claimed to have transferred control of the site to other people soon after he founded it.

In the second week of the trial, prosecutors presented documents and chat logs from Ulbricht’s computer that, they said, demonstrated how Ulbricht had administered the site for many months, which contradicted the defense’s claim that Ulbricht had relinquished control of Silk Road. Ulbricht’s attorney suggested that the documents and chat logs were planted there by way of BitTorrent, which was running on Ulbricht’s computer at the time of his arrest.

On 4 February 2015, the jury convicted Ulbricht of seven charges, including charges of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and computer hacking. He faced 30 years to life in prison.

The government also accused Ulbricht of paying for the murders of at least five people, but there is no evidence that the murders were carried out, and the accusations never became formal charges against Ulbricht.

During the trial, Judge Forrest received death threats. Users of an underground site called The Hidden Wiki posted her personal information there, including her address and Social Security number. Ulbricht’s lawyer Joshua Dratel said that he and his client “obviously, and as strongly as possible, condemn” the anonymous postings against the judge.

In a letter to Judge Forrest before his sentencing, Ulbricht stated that his actions through Silk Road were committed through libertarian idealism and that “Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices” and admitted that he made a “terrible mistake” that “ruined his life”.

On 29 May 2015, Ulbricht was given five sentences to be served concurrently, including two for life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He was also ordered to forfeit $183 million. Ulbricht’s lawyer Joshua Dratel said that he would appeal the sentencing and the original guilty verdict.

On 31 May 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Ulbricht’s appeal and affirmed the judgment of conviction and life sentence.

Ulbricht’s family continues to campaign to “free Ross Ulbricht from a barbaric, double life sentence for all non-violent charges”, with a website in place to accept donations towards lawyer fees.

 [Source: This article was published in darkweb.wiki - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Categorized in Search Engine

Protect yourself by learning about this mysterious digital world

Below the surface, the internet you recognize and use for your browsing is a shadowy, digital netherworld. According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime is projected to cost the world more than $6 trillion annually by 2021. At the heart of most cybercrime is the Dark Web.

The Dark Web is making its way into the public sphere more and more, but much remains unclear and misunderstood about this mysterious digital world that most of us will never see. Here’s what you need to know:

Three Layers of the Web

The World Wide Web has three distinct layers. The first is the Surface Web, where most people do searches using standard browsers. The second is the Deep Web, which is not indexed in standard search engines and is accessed by logging in directly to a site; it often requires some form of authentication for access. Finally, there is the Dark Web, which is only accessible through specific browsers. Its most common browser, Tor, encrypts all traffic and allows users to remain anonymous.

Gaining access to Dark Web sites often requires an invitation which is offered only after a substantial vetting process. Purveyors of these sites want to keep out law enforcement, although “white hat” hackers (computer security experts) and law enforcement have successfully broken through. Some identity theft protection services provide Dark Web monitoring to see if your personal information, such as your credit card, has been stolen. Often it is through the monitoring of the Dark Web that security professionals first become aware of massive data breaches by researching the commonality of large troves of personal information being sold.

Never click on any links in an email regardless of how legitimate the email may appear unless you have confirmed the email is indeed legitimate.

It is on these criminal Dark Web sites that all kinds of malware, like ransomware, are bought and sold. Other goods and services bought, sold and leased on these Dark Web cybercrime websites include login credentials to bank accounts, personal information stolen through data breaches, skimmers (devices to attack credit card processing equipment and ATMs) and ATM manuals that include default passwords.

Be Aware of Cybercrime Tools

Amazingly, the Dark Web sites have ratings and reviews, tech support, software updates, sales and loyalty programs just like regular retail websites. Many also offer money laundering services. Additionally, botnets (short for “robot network”) of compromised computers can be leased on the Dark Web to deliver malware as well as phishing and spear phishing emails (these appear to be sent from a trusted sender, but are seeking confidential information).

While the actual number of cybercriminal geniuses is relatively small, they’ve developed a lucrative business model. They create sophisticated malware, other cybercrime tools and their delivery systems, then sell or lease those tools to less sophisticated criminals.

The proliferation of ransomware attacks provides a good example of how this business model operates. Ransomware infects your computer and encrypts all of your data. Once your data has been encrypted, you, the victim of a ransomware attack, are told that a ransom must be paid within a short period of time or your data will be destroyed. Ransomware attacks have increased dramatically in the past few years and are now the fastest growing cybercrime.

Cybersecurity Ventures says companies are victimized by ransomware every 14 seconds, at a cost of $11.5 billion worldwide this year. While the creation and development of new ransomware strains requires great knowledge and skill, most ransomware attacks are being perpetrated by less sophisticated cybercriminals who purchase the ransomware on the Dark Web.

Regardless of how protective you are of your personal information, you are only as safe as the legitimate institutions that have your information.

Phishing, and more targeted spear phishing, have long been the primary way that malware, such as ransomware and keystroke logging malware used for identity theft purposes, are delivered. Phishing and spear phishing lure victims into clicking links within emails that download malware onto their computer systems.

Sophisticated cybercriminals now use artificial intelligence to gather personal information from social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other sites to produce spear phishing emails with high success rates.

How to Protect Yourself

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from having your information turn up on the Dark Web is to avoid downloading the malware that can lead to your information being stolen or your computer being made a part of a botnet. Never click on any links in an email regardless of how legitimate the email may appear unless you have confirmed that the email is indeed legitimate.

Relying on security software is not enough to protect you, because the best security software is always at least a month behind the latest strains of malware. Regardless of how protective you are of your personal information, you are only as safe as the legitimate institutions that have your information.

In this era of constant data breaches, it is advisable to use an identity theft protection service that will monitor the Dark Web and alert you if your information appears there.  And there are websites which offer guidance on what to do if this happens to you. These monitors are a small flashlight shedding a beam on a very dark section of the digital universe and may help avoid major headaches before it’s too late.

[Source: This article was published in nextavenue.org By Steve Weisman - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff]

Categorized in Deep Web

Source: This article was Published cnbc.com By Arjun Kharpal - Contributed by Member: Martin Grossner

  • The dark web is a hidden portion of the internet that can only be accessed using special software.
  • TOR, or The Onion Router, is a popular anonymous browsing network used to connect to the dark web.
  • While the dark web offers anonymity and a way to bypass internet censorship, it is commonly associated with illegal activities such as the buying and selling of drugs and other contraband.

The so-called dark web, a portion of the hidden internet, is usually associated with a host of illegal activities including the buying and selling of drugs, firearms, stolen financial data and other types of valuable information. The selling point? Total anonymity.

That may sound nefarious, but some experts argue that the dark web is also useful in circumventing internet censorship.

While most people spend their time online on what is known as the surface web — the portion of the World Wide Web that can be accessed with standard browsers and search engines — it has become relatively easy for anyone to access the dark web.

The dark web is a small subset of the deep web, which is part of the internet that is not found using search engines. That includes many websites that require users to log in with a username and password, and the deep web is estimated to be about 400 to 500 times larger than the common internet. The dark web is relatively smaller — it is made up of a series of encrypted networks that is able to hide users' identities and locations and can only be accessed with special software.

The most popular of those networks is called TOR, or The Onion Router, which was developed initially for government use before it was made available to the general public.

"When people typically refer to the dark web, a lot of the time they're referring to a portion of the internet that's accessible using an anonymous browsing network called TOR," Charles Carmakal, a vice president at cybersecurity firm FireEye, told CNBC's "Beyond the Valley" podcast.

One of the primary functions of the TOR network is that it allows users to access ".onion" pages, which are specially encrypted for maximum privacy.

Carmakal explained that TOR also lets users connect to normal websites anonymously so that their internet service providers cannot tell what they're browsing. Similarly, the websites will not be able to pinpoint the location of the users browsing their pages.

On the TOR browser, the connection requests are re-routed several times before reaching their destination. For example, if a user in Singapore is trying to connect to a website in London, that request on a TOR browser could be routed from Singapore to New York to Sydney to Capetown to, finally, London.

According to Carmakal, a service like TOR is a useful tool for many users to bypass state censorship and crackdowns on the internet. With it, he said, they can communicate with the free world without any repercussions. The service is also used by journalists and law enforcement, he said.

Still, the term dark web today is commonly associated with illegal activities. In recent years, a number of high-profile marketplaces on the dark web were taken down for selling drugs and other contraband, including Silk Road, AlphaBay and Hansa.

Law enforcement agencies around the world have been working hard to take down communities on the dark web that criminals use, according to James Chappell, co-founder of a London-based threat intelligence company Digital Shadows.

Hansa, for instance, was taken down by the Dutch national police last year after authorities seized control of the marketplace. In a press release, the officials said they had collected around 10,000 addresses of buyers on the marketplace and passed them onto Europol, the European Union's law enforcement body.

"It was very interesting to see the effect this had. Initially, we thought that lots of websites would come back online, just replacing Hansa as soon as it was taken down," Chappell told, "Beyond the Valley." Instead, a lot of the users moved away from TOR and onto message-based services like Discord and Telegram, he said.

Categorized in Deep Web

Source: This article was published smh.com.au - Contributed by Member: Corey Parker

"Bewildered" was how his lawyer described Dov Tenenboim when he was arrested on Thursday for allegedly masterminding a dark net drug syndicate from his Vaucluse unit.

The shock of the self-described "elite hacker" and "entrepreneur" who police allege was behind a complex scheme importing commercial quantities of cocaine, MDMA, and ketamine from Europe via the postal service's surprise might be the fear of anyone arrested for such a serious crime.

That the charges even involved conduct allegedly carried out on the dark web was itself unusual: the DarkWeb is supposed to be bulletproof, a mecca for types for whom anonymity is paramount.

While a scrambled IP address affords significant protection to users, there's no guarantee of an anonymous purchase.

"Feeling safer is actually one of the reasons that people say they buy drugs online. Both the buyers and sellers are not worried about violence, there's no potential for a Scarface moment," Swinburne University's Associate Professor James Martin told The Sun Herald.

He said the dark web was a mecca for drug dealers, scammers, and pedophiles.

Darknet users also feel safe from law enforcement. "With a traditional arrest, police bust people as they are handing over the cash for their drugs, there is sometimes a weapon too. On the darknet, none of those things are in the same place - the dealers, the buyers, the drugs and the weapons are all separately located. It's much more challenging for law enforcement."

After a five-month operation, police busted Tenenboim's alleged scheme.

Police allege that as well as being posted to Botany, Randwick, Darlinghurst, Vaucluse, Potts Point and Bondi, the drugs were mailed to addresses in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Police will allege in court that the privately educated advertising worker imported the drugs to Australia through the mail, posting packages to different addresses across the country then distributed them to suppliers in 300g packages - worth up to $90,000 for a single package.

In dramatic scenes on Friday morning in the quiet Diamond Bay Road, Tenenboim was arrested outside his house before police in riot gear raided his apartment.

A diamond ring, $69,685, a USB with 35 bitcoins worth $350,000, mobile phones and computers were seized by police as investigations continue.

A police source on Friday night said that more arrests were likely to hit the Australia-wide syndicate.

“Police have cottoned onto one of the real weaknesses of the Dark Net, which is the postal system," said Dr. Martin."

From monitoring the Dark Net and talking to dealers, most of those located overseas are very happy to send drugs to Australia. That confidence is reflected in terms and conditions in their online stores - if your drugs are intercepted or don't arrive, they will offer a full money-back guarantee. Just like Uber or Air B&B, that customer feedback is how they do business."

"We know most consignments of illicit drugs coming into the country are not detected," he added.

Dr. Simon Walsh, national manager of specialist operations at the Australian Federal Police, told ABC's 7.30  show last year that the sheer volume of criminality on the dark web forces police to triage. "We're dealing with high volume offenses," Dr. Walsh said.

"So sometimes in that circumstance, it's really not practical, or possible to chase every single [item]."
A senior police source who has worked on a number of dark web drug investigations confirmed that like traditional street drug dealers, investigations into the dark web concentrate on the higher level offenders.

"We have the names and address of people who have bought the drugs from the dark web. We haven't historically pursued people for a gram of coke or a pill, although that could change," he warned.

Another Eastern Suburbs man, 33, who police will allege in court was a part of the Tenenboim’s alleged syndicate, was arrested last month and charged with two counts of commercial quantity drug supply and indictable quantity drug supply.

When Tenenboim appeared before Waverley Local Court on Friday, it was on more than 50 similar charges, plus a count of dealing with proceeds of crime and a charge of directing a criminal group.

Wearing a maroon T-shirt, he shifted from foot to foot in the dock as his lawyer Bill O'Brien asked for an anti-anxiety medication to be made available to him in prison. His fiancee Lisa Hester looked on unhappily.

Categorized in Deep Web

What do real customers search for?

It seems like a straightforward question, but once you start digging into research and data, things become muddled. A word or phrase might be searched for often, yet that fact alone doesn’t mean those are your customers.

While a paid search campaign will give us insight into our “money” keywords — those that convert into customers and/or sales — there are also many other ways to discover what real customers search.

Keyword Evolution

We are in the era where intent-based searches are more important to us than pure volume. As the search engines strive to better understand the user, we have to be just as savvy about it too, meaning we have to know a lot about our prospects and customers.

In addition, we have to consider voice search and how that growth will impact our traffic and ultimately conversions. Most of us are already on this track, but if you are not or want to sharpen your research skills, there are many tools and tactics you can employ.

Below are my go-to tools and techniques that have made the difference between average keyword research and targeted keyword research that leads to interested web visitors.

1. Get to Know the Human(s) You’re Targeting

Knowing the target audience, I mean really knowing them, is something I have preached for years. If you have read any of my past blog posts, you know I’m a broken record.

You should take the extra step to learn the questions customers are asking and how they describe their problems. In marketing, we need to focus on solving a problem.

SEO is marketing. That means our targeted keywords and content focus should be centered on this concept.

2. Go Beyond Traditional Keyword Tools

I love keyword research tools. There is no doubt they streamline the process of finding some great words and phrases, especially the tools that provide suggested or related terms that help us build our lists. Don’t forget about the not-so-obvious tools, though.

Demographics Pro is designed to give you detailed insights into social media audiences, which in turn gives you a sense of who might be searching for your brand or products. You can see what they’re interested in and what they might be looking for. It puts you on the right track to targeting words your customers are using versus words your company believes people are using.

You can glean similar data about your prospective customers by using a free tool, Social Searcher. It’s not hard to use — all you have to do is input your keyword(s), select the source and choose the post type. You can see recent posts, users, sentiment and even related hashtags/words, as reflected in the following Social Searcher report:

social searcher screen shot

If you are struggling with your keywords, another great tool to try is Seed Keywords. This tool makes it possible to create a search scenario that you can then send to your friends. It is especially useful if you are in a niche industry and it is hard to find keywords.

Once you have created the search scenario, you get a link that you can send to people. The words they use to search are then collected and available to you. These words are all possible keywords.

seed keywords screen shot

3. Dig into Intent

Once I get a feel for some of the keywords I want to target, it is time to take it a step further. I want to know what type of content is ranking for those keywords, which gives me an idea of what Google, and the searchers, believe the intent to be.

For the sake of providing a simple example (there are many other types of intent that occur during the buyer’s journey), let’s focus on two main categories of intent: buy and know.

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Let’s say I’m targeting the term “fair trade coffee:”

Google search result page

Based on what is in results, Google believes the searcher’s intent could either be to purchase fair trade coffee or to learn more about it. In this case, the page I am trying to optimize can be targeted toward either intent.

Here’s another example:

Google search result page

In this scenario, if I was targeting the keyword, “safe weed removal,” I would create and/or optimize a page that provides information, or in other words, satisfies the “know” intent.

There are many tools that can help you determine what pages are ranking for your targeted keywords, including SEOToolSet, SEMRush, and Ahrefs. You would simply click through them to determine the intent of the pages.

4. Go from Keywords to Questions

People search questions. That’s not newsworthy, but we should be capitalizing on all of the opportunities to answer those questions. Therefore, don’t ever forget about the long-tail keyword.

Some of my favorite tools to assist in finding questions are Answer the Public, the new Question Analyzer by BuzzSumo, and FaqFox.

Answer The Public uses autosuggest technology to present the common questions and phrases associated with your keywords. It generates a visualization of data that can help you get a better feel for the topics being searched.

With this tool, you get a list of questions, not to mention other data that isn’t depicted below:

Answer the public chart

The Question Analyzer by BuzzSumo locates the most popular questions that are asked across countless forums and websites, including Amazon, Reddit, and Quora. If I want to know what people ask about “coffee machines,” I can get that information:

question analyzer screen shot

FaqFox will also provide you with questions related to your keywords using such sites at Quora, Reddit, and Topix.

For example, if I want to target people searching for “iced coffee,” I might consider creating and optimizing content based on the following questions:

faq fox screen shot

Final Thoughts

There are constantly new techniques and tools to make our jobs easier. Your main focus should be on how to get customers to your website, which is done by knowing how to draw them in with the right keywords, questions, and content.


Source: This article was published searchenginejournal By Mindy Weinstein

Categorized in Online Research

Table Of Contents

1. What is the Deep Web?

There are many words to describe the deep web, including the invisible web, hidden web, and even Deepnet.

The reason it exists is because the Internet has become so dependent upon search engines, and search engines are only as good as the web crawlers that serve up content for the results. Some researchers believe that the searchable web is barely 1% of what’s actually available on the World Wide Web.

Crawlers are excellent at crawling through static web pages, extracting information on those pages, and providing that information in the form of search results. However, there is valuable information tucked away below the surface of those search results – information buried inside online databases and dynamically generated pages that the search spiders are capable of crawling.

Just a few examples of those tremendous databases include information like patents, census data, data collected on space missions, climate data and academic databases filled with scientific papers overflowing with interesting and valuable information.

All of this doesn’t even include the deepest and darkest corner of the Internet where secretive onion websites exist, accessible only through special Tor software. A basic layout of what this looks like is shown below.

Deep Web.png

Methods of accessing these different parts of the deep web are determined by the data that you want to get at. The tools used to navigate the deep web are outlined here.

  • Databases – Information about people, census data, climate data, world information and other searchable information that could be stored in a table format.
  • Journals and Books – Information contained in a digital format that is either stored in a format not accessible by web crawlers or exists behind a paid gateway. These files need to be downloaded and opened on a PC.
  • Tor Network – Sites that want to remain hidden, and typically include things like illegal porn, stolen personal data, drug contacts, anonymous political dissidents, terrorists, and more.

This manual will take you on a tour through the many levels of the deep web, starting with the databases where you can find information only accessible to those who know the secrets to accessing them. Then, we’ll continue on to the spectrum of information available in academic journals and books where you can browse through volumes of writings about scholarly topics. Finally, we’ll arrive at the gates of Tor, beyond which lies the deep darkness of the entire Internet.

1.1 Databases for People Research

If you are a landlord or if you’ve ever taught in most school systems, then you’re probably more than familiar with one of the most common deep web databases around – the background search.

Most businesses or public institutions like schools will pay for a background check, but there are also databases all throughout the Internet where you can query to learn more about people.

The databases that are available for free include public records, criminal databases, digitized court records, and a variety of “people search” websites that provide basic identifying information, physical address, and family details.

There are a number of reasons to use deep web for people research – everything from finding lost relatives to genealogical research.

1.1.1 Adoption Research

A common use of people search databases is by adopted children trying to find their natural parents.

Regular people-search websites and services can be used for adoption research, but usually such research is hit-and-miss, since most of the free services provide only superficial information about people, and the paid websites require the researcher to know things like birth date and current location of residence. In most cases, an adopted child or parent may have some vague idea of the birth date, but no idea where the person is currently located.

This kind of research is so common in fact that there is now an influx of new websites specifically designed to match adopted children with natural parents who want to be found.

These are non-profit “registries” where adopted children and the parents who gave up their children are able to register for finding their child or parent.


These databases are not accessible from search engines, but knowing the right registry databases, either parents or children stand the chance of discovering and reuniting with their family members.

1.1.2 Lost Relatives

Another common use for people-search websites is when children run away, one parent leaves the family, or extended family members simply lose contact over time. In cases like these, a family member may seek out resources on the Internet to track down those relatives. Typical tools for this sort of research includes things like:

  • Social Networks – There have been many family reunions on Facebook
  • Search Engines – You’d be surprised what you can find!
  • Public Records
  • Online White Pages
  • People Search Websites
  • Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes

Finding lost relatives is probably one of the hardest research activities on the deep web, unless you have a good amount of detailed information about the person. Usually with a birthday, current residence, current age, full name or the names of immediate family members, you should be able to locate nearly anyone to a good degree of certainty.

1.1.3 Veteran Research

Most veterans work for a national government, and since most governments that are open with information offer a number of valuable and useful tools for research, veteran research on the Web is actually very fruitful.

For example, the Ministry of Defence in the UK provides a “Subject Access Request” form where veterans can request their own service records from the government.


This form can be found at The National Archivesfor the UK, and most governments around the world also have their own National Archives online where you can also do veteran research for service members in your country.

In addition to national archives, you can do Veterans research online using the following Deep Web resources not searchable via any search engine.

  • FOIA Requests
  • Non-Profit Organizations for Veterans
  • US Veteran Services Websites
  • Historical Research Websites

Because veterans records are maintained by governments, and because they are typically stored in locations that are easy to access, finding the records for specific veterans is usually pretty easy. This is especially true when those records have been digitized, which is more common these days than ever before. The Deep Web is chock-full of valuable veterans information.


In the people-research genre, genealogy is probably one of the most common. It is an extremely popular hobby that many thousands of people across the world actively take part in. For this reason, there are long lists of fantastic genealogy websitesacross the Internet that can help you find your past ancestors. Of course the MakeUseOf Genealogy Manualis always a great place to start.

One of the more well-known and long running one of those are the various GenWeb projects across the world.


Most major countries have their own branch of the GenWeb website, and each of those is focused on providing a database of local ancestry research resources to genealogists in those local areas.

Other Deep Web databases that you’ll find on the topic are things like:

  • Cemetery Records
  • Online Obituaries and Birth Notices
  • Free Genealogy Databases
  • Local Historical Society Databases and File Archives

1.1.5 Background Checks

Whether you’re a landlord trying to verify that your new tenants don’t have a criminal record, or you’re trying to find out if your new boyfriend has some deep hidden secrets he’s not telling you, there are lots of legitimate reasons for wanting to conduct a background check.

Any in-depth background check that you conduct online is likely going to cost a modest fee. However, what many people don’t realize is that there are legitimate ways to look up background information about people at no cost on the web. You can’t get all of the details, but you can pull up information like family members, email addresses, phone numbers and even a criminal record.

If you don’t want to spend any cash right away for the paid online background database information, you can always dig through the Internet for information. With a Google search or by searching on social networks, you can learn a lot about people – but not nearly as much as you can uncover when you start dipping into the Deep Web.


Even paid services offer just enough information in the free “introductory” searches that will let you dig up even more dirt on other sites, like public records databases.

Options to look up background data on your own include:

  • County or small regional government websites with searchable databases for local town code citations, birth or marriage records
  • State databases for arrest records or criminal history
  • Federal databases for licenses and federal criminal records, investigations, and any military service

The benefit of using paid database searches is that it saves you a lot of time and effort to dig up information on individuals. However, you can discover much of the information that turns up in the paid background reports by taking the time to visit various public records websites around the net that offer databases filled with records that are publicly accessible by anyone for free.

1.2 Other Types of Deep WebResearch

Sometimes, when you’re researching the Internet, your needs may go deeper than just researching people. It may involve digging into the history about a certain location or an event. This kind of research can span several areas of the deep web – and these areas include academic resources, government and legal case databases, and of course the many historical resources buried throughout the web, and untouchable by most web crawlers.

1.2.1 Local History

No matter where in the world you live, the odds are pretty good that you have a historical society there, or at least some organization who works to preserve and protect the history of that local region.

That local historical society may actually have their own online research database where you can search for digitized historical records.


These databases – unreachable by search engines – contain photos, scanned historical documents, and other records that all together make up a treasure trove of information that you have access to thanks to the Internet.

In additional to historical societies, your local library may actually offer similar database search utilities on their websites that let you look up digitized documents or newspaper scans that cover the history of the region.

Local history is also linked to genealogy. Researchers use just about every records database on the Internet – public records, historical societies, libraries and more, in order to track down the lineage of a family.

One of the most well-known Deep Web databases that is used as part of historical research like this is FamilySearch.org.


This is a website that is astonishingly rich with information and resources for doing genealogy research, considering the fact that the service is provided entirely free, built and supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It certainly isn’t the only genealogy database website out there, but it is one of the largest.

1.2.2 Legal Research

Whether or not you’re in trouble with the law doesn’t matter – when it comes to taking a stance on public policy or on any issue that involves legal questions, it’s good to have access to court cases and court decisions that set precedence for future court decisions.

In fact, if you arein trouble with the law, your lawyer will hopefully have a legal researcher who is well aware of the deep web, and capable of exploiting all of the resources that are buried there.

A few examples of legal research websites that you’ll find in the deep web include:

  • Law school court opinion search engines
  • Law library case databases
  • Non-profit legal organization search tools for legal cases

There are literally thousands of high quality legal research databases available on the Internet today, and surprisingly, not one item from that mountain of case documents and court decisions ever makes its way into search engine results. It’s basically a mountain of data about people, companies, organizations and historical events that you have access to if you know where to look.

1.2.3 Academic Studies

Academic research goes on around the world every single day. Often, findings are reported in the news, and other times they go unnoticed. However, you can find all of these studies tucked away deep inside of the deep web in the databases stored on various university servers.

Usually these academic databases are accessible and searchable by the public, but there are some systems that will charge you for access to the scientific journals where many of those findings are published.

However, the best option when looking to the deep web for data on academic studies and research findings are the free search tools offered by large organizations like Google (Google Scholar) and Microsoft (Microsoft Academic Research).


These are search forms that will burrow deep into the academic research databases and pull out the research and the findings that are most important to you. You won’t find these through search engines, but only through these academic research database search tools that pull the data out of the deep web for you.

1.3 Tor Websites

If the informational databases and private search tools of individual organizations make up one small part of the deep web, then Tor represents the secret dark corners where few respectable people dare to go.

Think of Tor as an alternative web. It is literally its own network, where websites don’t have any domain or IP addresses. Because of this, they are completely inaccessible to search engines. You need a special browser — these days known as the “Tor browser bundle” to access those difficult-to-find websites. I’ll give you more details on that later.


The Tor browser is your gateway into the Tor network of websites where you can download pirated movies and music, access questionable pornography or conspire to commit a crime.

Okay — so it isn’t all just about bad stuff. The Tor network is also where journalists, protesters and other people go who are wary about governments or officials trying to track their online activities. The Tor network, being one level removed from the Internet itself, provides a certain degree of privacy and security.

The websites located on the Tor network are known as “onion” sites, because most of the sites located there end with the .onion extension — only readable with the Tor browser.

1.3.1 Secret Websites

The Tor browser lets you browse the normal Internet anonymously — under a fake IP address. However, to access the hidden websites, you’ll need to find the Onion directories. You can browse the regular Internet for directories that list active Onion sites.


Some of those sites may also include “Deep Search” sites that act as sort of search engines for the Tor Network. Most Onion sites come and go, so it isn’t useful to list any active ones here because they likely will disappear before long.

The best way to find the sites is to start with a standard Internet search engine for “onion sites” and look for search engines or directories within the Tor network. Access those from your Tor browser, and you’re on your way toward discovering the many secret Onion sites scattered throughout the deep web.

1.3.2 Illegal Websites and Content

Once you start exploring the Tor network through these directories and search engines, it won’t take long for you to realize just how astonishing this part of the Deep web really is. You’ll find all sorts of downloadable content like books, magazines, and all kinds of other media that you’d be hard-pressed to discover on the open web.


Much of this is content that is openly available for free to the public without any sort of royalty issues, but there is also content throughout the Tor network that is fully licensed and where the owner should legally receive royalties. By downloading the content – like music, movies and more – you are essentially stealing those published works from the creator.

However, that ethical problem doesn’t stop the Tor network from being used as the distribution center for illegal, pirated movies, music and print publications.

In fact, the anonymity provided by the Tor browser, combined with the creation of so many “secret” websites that offer anything you could possibly hope to find, has also resulted in the proliferation of things like illegal pornography, terrorism and crime handbooks, stolen credit card numbers, and more.

This is the darkest part of the web, so the fact that this kind of content and people exist there shouldn’t surprise you – so if you do decide to go there, tread very carefully.

2. Deep Web Research Resources

In the next chapters, we’ll provide you with specific instructions on how to go about finding information, data or other content inside the deep web. In addition. you’ll find lots of useful resources in each section, which should offer a good starting point in your own journey through that part of the invisible Internet.

2.1 Statistics

Have you ever wondered how many women vs men use social networks? Are you working on a research paper for school, and need to know the results of the latest studies on disease?

The volume of data that’s available on the Internet outside of the reach of search engines is remarkable, and this is especially true when it comes to statistical research online. The reason for this is that there are two types of organizations that generally make it their business to distribute very detailed statistical information to the public — governments, and educational organizations.

By taking advantage of the free databases made available by these organizations, you can discover information that most people would find surprising. Anyone else who tries to find that data simply by Googling won’t find it, because to get access to that data, you need to know the URL for the search form of those databases.

The following are some of the most valuable deep web databases for statistical data on the web.

2.1.1 Government Databases

Governments around the world offer citizens a virtual warehouse filled to the ceiling with impressive data about regions and people. The following are some examples of government databases around the world. United States

Nearly every agency inside of the U.S. government performs some form of research. Because of this, the U.S. government as a collective entity contains an unimaginable amount of data. As a service to the public for sifting through all that information, the government offers a website called FedStatsthat organizes government-created statistical data in one place.


The “Topic Links” section allows visitors to sift through a list of U.S. statistical data on subjects like adoption, state and national historical data, disease rates, educational statistics and much more. FedStats is probably the single most comprehensive statistical database research tool for deep web researchers. Most of the data found here is available in PDF format, or via database search forms.

The Pollak Libraryat the University Fullerton of California has accumulated its own impressive collection of free government databases for you to sift through for information.


Interesting databases you’ll find here include the Homeland Security Digital Library, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, and the Educator’s Reference Desk [ERIC].

Another valuable resource for government deep web databases is a wiki called GODORT, the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association. GODORT offers a list of State agencies across the United States. In this Wiki for every state in the U.S. you can find court docket records, political information, property databases and more.


Other government databases that provide you with information that’s untouchable to search engines includes all of the following:

  • CGP– A database of published government ebooks covering research and studies across many different topical areas.
  • Christopher Center– Valparaiso University has a nice collection of government databases, organized by genre like Arts & Humanities, Consumer Affairs, Education and more.
  • GPO– The U.S. Government Printing office offers a useful search engine for collections of printed documents like government manuals, laws, presidential papers and more. Europe

If you live in Europe and you’re looking for deep web government databases online, there are plenty of options. In Europe, there are just as many (if not more) Departments and organizations where you can find data that may be important to you, but you need to know where to look.

Because the list is so long, the European Unionactually provides a directory of government databases organized by subject.

In the EU directory, you’ll find sections for Agriculture, Environment, Public Health and even local development databases like EURYDICE, the Educational system and policies in Europe where you can find facts, figures and reports about the educational systems in Europe, all buried deep inside the website as a collection of PDF reports and data.


Just like FedStats for the U.S., the corresponding starting point for European statistics is a website called Eurostat. It is a little more focused on government financials than anything else.


Here, you can look up database information about government expenditures, government debt, and quarterly financial statements.

This is all great for financial information, but what about the sort of data sources that you’d find at a place like the National Archives in the U.S.? Well, the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University offers a system called Euro Docs, which is a giant directory linking you to historical documents for European countries.

You never know what you’ll find while browsing through these resources. While many of these are simply links to other informational websites, many of those external websites are databases or documents to volumes of information.

For example, at one link I stumbled upon a digital, interactive map of Roman and Medieval civilizations in Europe.


One of the coolest tools that you could use to efficiently visualize public data from around the world is theGoogle Public Data Explorer, an online data visualization tool that we’ve covered previously at MakeUseOf.

This is an amazing tool that pulls data from many of the same government data sources mentioned above, but in a visual format, allows you to compare and predict data trends across the world for things like domestic issues, economic factors, education, and agriculture.


You can select from the list of any country in the world, and even filter by gender, or narrow the size of the prediction window from 50 years down to just a few.

2.1.2 Academic Databases

Across the world, there are many thousands of ongoing scientific studies and research about some of the most important issues facing the world today. Many of the findings in these studies have ramifications that sometimes could influence the health, social beliefs or the laws of entire populations.

Academic databases are probably the deepest part of the invisible Internet, so it’s not an easy task to cover all of them, however there is a very clear shortlist of resources that provide access to the largest bulk of academic journals and books on the Internet. These are search engines or database that are inaccessible to the Google search engine. Once you start using these resources to research for statistics, studies and other data, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

One of the most comprehensive search engines for academic journals and books is JSTOR, a digital library of over 1,500 journals, books and other sources.


The goal of this non-profit is to help researchers, students and others build and use a “wide range of scholarly content”.


Even if you don’t plan to invest in obtaining research material, most of the studies and other sources provide findings in the introduction, so you can at least obtain the ultimate conclusion of the study even though you need to pay to read the entire report.

The results of most searches using this database search tool usually return hundreds or even thousands of results. The journals and other sources that are available are displayed in sample form — but to download the full study or book you do need to pay.

Another very popular resource for digging into the deep web of scholarly works is ironically Google itself, with a resource known as Google Scholar.


Google Scholar will sift through articles published in major journals — utilizing the same search techniques as organizations like JSTOR, and often providing the same results. Google Scholar provides access to journal publications, patents and even case law results from U.S. federal or State courts (U.S.-based only).

The patents search capability of this search tool is worth its weight in gold. There are some amazing discoveries hidden away in the patents database.

One of the most well known academic research tools is the Institute of Education Sciences (ERIC). This system run by the Education Department of the U.S. government has long been a tool of librarians and educators to conduct academic research, and to help students find citations for their work.


ERIC is probably one of the most useful resources for students, because many of the papers and studies provided in the results are available in full from educational institutions or non-profit research organizations. Excerpts are always available, and a direct link to the source is provided for every result.


You can search for only published work that has been peer reviewed, or only for results that provide the full text download straight from the ERIC system. The ease of use and low-cost of many results make this a research tool of choice for academic information on the deep web.

Never to be outdone, Microsoft provides a counterpart to Google Scholar in the form of Microsoft Academic Search.


Like Google Scholar, many results are available for free, but just as many of the results include links to paid academic journals or journal distributors. Excerpts are available however, so if only the results or findings of the paper are desired, this is a quick and easy search tool to find those.

If you’re looking for only freely available papers and journals, then you’ll want to explore the Genamics journal database. This search tool and journal directory is focused only on “freely available journal information”, and allows you to search by Title/ISSN, or browse using the “Category Browser” within the academic area that you’re interested in.


The website doesn’t look very professionally made, but the face of the site betrays the fact that the database contains over 101794 journals available for free, and that list continues to grow.

If academic conferences are your thing, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Conference Alerts website. Conferences are a fantastic way for academics to discuss and share research, and just to meet other professionals within the academic community. Conal is a website that lets you search for conferences by topic, country, or city.


This site isn’t just some dead listing that hardly ever gets updated. This website isn’t entirely a deep web search tool, because the listings themselves are HTML based, so search engines could crawl these results.

However, the Conal advanced search tool lets you search through the entire database by date, and you can subscribe to automated alerts that let you know of upcoming conferences that fit your search criteria.

Other valuable resources if you are an academic researcher looking for information inside of the deep web:

  • iSeek– The creators of this tool promise the results are safe, authoritative, intelligent and time-saving.
  • Digital Library of the Commons– The DLC is provided by Indiana University so students can research “full-text articles, papers and dissertations.” Most of the results found here include full PDF documents not accessible to search engines.
  • Infomine– This search engine from the University of California is what the school library offers to students to find scholarly information on the Internet.

2.2 People Research

One of the most common areas of the deep web that people dive into are resources available for checking into the background of other people. This might be a journalist trying to vet a source, a landlord looking into the background of a potential tenant, or a number of other reasons to research another person.

Researching people online covers a wide range of different areas and resources, mostly depending on what type of information you’re looking for, how you want to use it, and your connection or relationship to the person you’re researching.

In the following sections, you’ll learn the many different ways that you can do background research on people. In most cases the services are free, but in those cases where there’s a cost, that will be clearly noted.

2.2.1 Adoption Research

Between 1999 and 2011, there were roughly 234,000 adoptions. That means that the odds are pretty good that of those thousands of children across the world, either one of the adopted children or one of the natural parents will eventually want to locate and reconnect with each other.

A very good starting point for any adoption research effort is the Adoption Database. This site offers a search tool where you can filter for things like adopted name at birth, date of birth, birth mother’s maiden name, the hospital where the birth took place, and much more.


The volume of detail and the depth of results from this database is tremendous. What you’ll basically find here are records from adopted children or natural parents who’ve submitted their information so that they can be found, in addition to who they are looking for.


This means that the database is balanced on the principle that if both the adopted child and the natural parent both want to be found and submit their information to the database, the odds are good that they’ll find each other. There are thousands of records spanning many years of adoptions in this database, which makes it a powerful tool for adoption research.

Another free tool that can help with adoption research is the Adoption Registry. This registry is run like a classified ads database, where natural parents or adopted children can place an ad describing themselves and who they are looking for.


Another good search tool is called FindMe.org, a non-profit and free “mutual consent” reunion registry. This is a registry that lets both the adoptee and the adopted find each other when they are both interested in being found.

A final, useful deep web search engine for adoption records searches is a registry search tool called Adoptee Connect.

The listings themselves are free to browse or search, but to see more of the details (such as contact info) of the poster, you’ll need to sign up for a free membership. A basic free membership provides you with 5 free entries into the database, and free searching. For more entries, you’ll need to upgrade your account.

2.2.2 Background Check Websites

Whether you’re a landlord looking to ensure your future tenant isn’t a criminal, or you just met someone new at the local dance club and want to make sure they’re not a creep, searching someone’s background on the Internet is exceedingly easy.

There are a number of websites that will provide you with information about a person’s location, online interests and even the names of their family members for absolutely free. Many of these offer limited information with a paid premium service to see all of the details.

There are a lot of services out there, like Peoplefinders, which provide you with a free listing of possible matches in a certain area, when you search for specific names.


It even provides the town where the name was located in public records, and a list of potentially related names. Many times these names are actually people who lived in the same place as that person, but are not actually relatives — so the service is not perfect.

A similar service to this is Intelius, which provides similar information, as well as a history of most recent places the person has lived. It isn’t always easy to identify the actual person you’re interested in, especially if the name is fairly common.

There are some more advanced free services that do more than just provide basic listings from public records databases, but actually use custom Internet searches to dig up whatever information exists about the person across websites, blogs and social networks throughout the Internet.

One example of this is a site called PeekYou, where you can search for a name in a specific region across the world, and then review profile information that PeekYou has collected about the person based on their activities on Twitter, Facebook, forums and other activities across the net.


Another site like this is Pipl, which provides you with search results that span different people search services across the net, as well as social network activity and regular search results.


If you are concerned that the person you’re dealing with specifically might be a sex offender, there is a National Sex Offender registryquick search available (U.S. only) provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, that will show you whether that person’s name appears in any State’s registry anywhere in the United States.


There are plenty of paid services that will perform a criminal background check for you, but the truth is that in the U.S., if you know the State where a crime probably occurred, you can usually do your own research right at the State website.


Just look for the state Criminal Justice Department website, or the Corrections Department website. These services are usually free and offered for the good of public safety.

If you are more interested in fast, paid services, the following options are available for criminal searches on people:

  • Criminal Searches– Public records criminal history search service.
  • Criminal Check– Search all state criminal records databases at once.
  • Black Book Online– Lets you search the records of criminal courts, prison inmate records, and even arrest warrants.
  • FBI– While you’re the only one who can request your own records, aside from the police, you can submit for an Identity Theft Summary from the FBI to determine if your “rap sheet” is accurate.

International/European services to search criminal records:

  • Verified Credentials– Performs an international background check, but you must be a registered business.
  • Interpol– Offers a search tool for searching whether someone is listed in the International list of Wanted Persons.
  • ICC(International Criminal Court) – Provides search tools for cases, panel discussions and news releases about past cases. This can turn up criminal cases regarding the person you’re researching.

2.2.3Phone DDirectories

Surprisingly, one of the most useful deep web research tools to find people is actually the simplest — phone directories. The old days of thick paper phone directories being delivered door-to-door are pretty much over.

Now, you can pretty much go online and so long as you know the name of the person you’re looking for and the town where they live, you can probably get their phone number and street address – assuming they haven’t specifically requested that their information be kept private (which usually requires a fee paid to the phone company).

The White Pages Neighbors look-up toolis an excellent example of this. A quick search for my info turned up my full name, phone number, and street address.


It got my age just a tiny bit off – but hey, I’m not complaining!

Other yellow & white page online directories where you can do the same kind of look-up with similar results include:

  • WhoWhere.com– U.S. based search that includes a mobile app.
  • AnyWho.com– Lets you search for both people and businesses.
  • WhitePages International– Use the International directories listing to search phone directories for other countries across the world.
  • Reverse Phone Directory– Provides a “people search” option to look up addresses and phone numbers.
  • New Ultimates– Lets you search 10 phone directory databases at once from a single page.
  • Zaba Search– One of the few phone directory search engines that lets you search names in all 50 U.S. States at once.

2.2.4Veteran & Military Information

Are you looking for information about veterans in your family or want to dig into historical research? There is a surprising wealth of veteran information in the deep web, buried behind uncrawlable military database search tools.

The most impressive, free deep web directory for veteran information is the Veterans History Project.


This is a tremendous historic database filled with volumes of veteran service information, and a very useful resource if you’re looking for information about a specific service member.

Other deep web resources for finding information about veterans include:

  • National Archives– At this site you can locate historic military service records and documents online, plus you can request specific veterans records like personnel and medical records.
  • VetFriends– A service that helps veterans reunite, is also a great deep web search tool for searching through over 10,000 units and over 1.5 million military names. Search is limited unless you join as a member.
  • Grave Locator– An excellent resource for veterans who fought alongside and lost friends in battle. The service is offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and you can locate the graves of soldiers by name and date or birth or death.
  • Find a Grave in Scotland– Similar to Grave Locator, except this is focused on graves in Scotland and includes citizens as well as soldiers.
  • Ancestry.co.uk– Provides you with a search form to find soldier, veteran and prisoner lists from the past.

3. Tor – The Dark Web

After traversing the fields of the deep web, you’ve now arrived at the entrance to a cave. This cave is a deep, dark one where the potential for danger is great, but so is the possibility of finding treasure.

Presenting the Tor network, also known as “Onion sites”, due to the fact that the sites that are hidden away on the network often have the extension of “.onion”.

The Tor network is essentially an Internet within the Internet. You need special software to visit the pages hidden there, and since sites hosted on that network do not use an IP (Internet Protocol), they are not only uncrawlable by search engines, but it is extremely difficult for law enforcement to track down and prosecute sites there with illegal content.

If you dare to enter this deep domain, the first step is to download the Tor Browser Bundle.


Once you’ve installed the Tor browser, your next task is to find all that hidden content. How do you find hidden websites? Well, think back to the early days of the Internet when there were no magical search engines crawling the net and returning results automatically. There were hundreds of “directories” available where you could find what you were looking for.

That is precisely the case here, with directories known as .onion link lists. The three most common of these – and excellent starting points for your journey into this dark land – are the following (access these links with your Tor browser.

  • TorLinks– A categorized list covering everything from financial services and drugs to warez, media, political and erotic links.
  • The Hidden Wiki– This Wiki page is a frequently updated directory covering all sorts of content like media, books, whistleblower sites and more.
  • Deep Web Links– Lots of valuable links to be found on this directory, with an over-arching theme of freedom of speech.

These are starting points for exploring the darker hidden web of Tor, but they are most certainly not the only places to go. Many of the sites hidden away on the Tor network are provided via word of mouth and through communities of people who are also interested in the same content. Many of this “sharing” takes place on the regular Internet on websites and forums.

Some places to check for onion links thrown out into the public where you may discover them:

  • Reddit /r/onions– A dedicated area devoted to Onion sites.
  • The Hidden Wiki– This site has a frequently updated blog of new onion links, but you’ll also find user-generated comments throughout, where you might also discover interesting onion links.
  • DeepDotWeb– Deep Dot Web is a popular blog that stays on top of not only deep web links and news, but also anything to do with bitcoin, since the two topics and communities are usually tightly intertwined.
  • Pastebin– Search this directory frequently for anonymously posted onion links.
  • Anonbin– Another popular dropping point for anonymously shared onion sites.

Once you’ve installed Tor and you’ve warmed up your taste buds for all of these interesting deep web links, your final mission – if you choose to accept it – is to read the MakeUseOf Tor Guide, and really start exploring this mysterious area of the Internet.

What Are Your Favourite Deep Web Resources?

There are countless other interesting places to explore in the deep web. What are the best research resources you know of?

Author : Ryan Dube

Source : http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/journey-into-the-hidden-web-a-guide-for-new-researchers/

Categorized in Deep Web

This list offers some tips and tools to help you get the most out of your Internet searches.

Semantic Search Tools and Databases

Semantic search tools depend on replicating the way the human brain thinks and categorizes information to ensure more relevant searches. Give some of these semantic tools and databases a try.

  • Zotero. Firefox users will like this add-on that helps you organize your research material by collecting, managing, and citing any references from Internet research.
  • Freebase. This community-powered database includes information on millions of topics.
  • Powerset. Enter a topic, phrase, or question to find information from Wikipedia with this semantic application.
  • Kartoo. Enter any keyword to receive a visual map of the topics that pertain to your keyword. Hover your mouse over each to get a thumbnail of the website.
  • DBpedia. Another Wikipedia resource, ask complex questions with this semantic program to get results from within Wikipedia.
  • Quintura. Entering your search term will create a cloud of related terms as well as a list of links. Hover over one of the words or phrases in the cloud to get an entirely different list of links.
  • [true knowledge]. Help with current beta testing at this search engine or try their Quiz Bot that finds answers to your questions.
  • Stumpedia. This search engine relies on its users to index, organize, and review information coming from the Internet.
  • Evri. This search engine provides you with highly relevant results from articles, papers, blogs, images, audio, and video on the Internet.
  • Gnod. When you search for books, music, movies and people on this search engine, it remembers your interests and focuses the search results in that direction.
  • Boxxet. Search for what interests you and you will get results from the "best of" news, blogs, videos, photos, and more. Type in your keyword and in addition to the latest news on the topic, you will also receive search results, online collections, and more.

Meta-Search Engines

Meta-search engines use the resources of many different search engines to gather the most results possible. Many of these will also eliminate duplicates and classify results to enhance your search experience.

  • SurfWax. This search engine works very well for reaching deep into the web for information.
  • Academic Index. Created by the former chair of Texas Association of School Librarians, this meta-search engine only pulls from databases and resources that are approved by librarians and educators.
  • Infomine has been built by a pool of libraries in the United States.
  • Clusty. Clusty searches through top search engines, then clusters the results so that information that may have been hidden deep in the search results is now readily available.
  • Dogpile. Dogpile searches rely on several top search engines for the results then removes duplicates and strives to present only relevant results.
  • Turbo 10. This meta-search engine is specifically designed to search the deep web for information.
  • Multiple Search. Save yourself the work by using this search engine that looks among major search engines, social networks, flickr, Wikipedia, and many more sites.
  • Mamma. Click on the Power Search option to customize your search experience with this meta-search engine.
  • World Curry Guide. This meta-search tool with a strong European influence has been around since 1997 and is still growing strong.
  • Fazzle.com. Give this meta-search engine a try. It accesses a large number of databases and claims to have more access to information than Google.
  • Icerocket. Search blogs as well as the general Internet, MySpace, the news, and more to receive results by posting date.
  • iZito. Get results from a variety of major search engines that come to you clustered in groups. You can also receive only US website results or receive results with a more international perspective.
  • Ujiko. This unusual meta-search tool allows for you to customize your searches by eliminating results or tagging some as favorites.
  • IncyWincy is an Invisible Web search engine and it behaves as a meta-search engine by tapping into other search engines and filtering the results. It searches the web, directory, forms, and images. With a free registration, you can track search results with alerts.

General Search Engines and Databases

These databases and search engines for databases will provide information from places on the Internet most typical search engines cannot.

  • DeepDyve. One of the newest search engines specifically targeted at exploring the deep web, this one is available after you sign up for a free membership.
  • OAIster. Search for digital items with this tool that provides 12 million resources from over 800 repositories.
  • direct search. Search through all the direct search databases or select a specific one with this tool.
  • CloserLook Search. Search for information on health, drugs and medicine, city guides, company profiles, and Canadian airfares with this customized search engine that specializes in the deep web.
  • Northern Light Search. Find information with the quick search or browse through other search tools here.
  • Yahoo! Search Subscriptions. Use this tool to combine a search on Yahoo! with searches in journals where you have subscriptions such as Wall Street Journal and New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Librarians’ Internet Index (LII) is a publicly-funded website and weekly newsletter serving California, the nation, and the world.
  • The Scout Archives. This database is the culmination of nine years’ worth of compiling the best of the Internet.
  • Daylife. Find news with this site that offers some of the best global news stories along with photos, articles, quotes, and more.
  • Silobreaker. This tool shows how news and people in the news impacts the global culture with current news stories, corresponding maps, graphs of trends, networks of related people or topics, fact sheets, and more.
  • spock. Find anyone on the web who might not normally show up on the surface web through blogs, pictures, social networks, and websites here.
  • The WWW Virtual Library. One of the oldest databases of information available on the web, this site allows you to search by keyword or category.
  • pipl. Specifically designed for searching the deep web for people, this search engine claims to be the most powerful for finding someone.
  • Complete Planet is a free and well designed directory resource makes it easy to access the mass of dynamic databases that are cloaked from a general purpose search.
  • Infoplease is an information portal with a host of features. Using the site, you can tap into a good number of encyclopedias, almanacs, an atlas, and biographies. Infoplease also has a few nice offshoots like Factmonster.com for kids and Biosearch, a search engine just for biographies.

Academic Search Engines and Databases

The world of academia has many databases not accessible by Google and Yahoo!, so give these databases and search engines a try if you need scholarly information.

  • Google Scholar. Find information among academic journals with this tool.
  • WorldCat. Use this tool to find items in libraries including books, CDs, DVDs, and articles.
  • getCITED. This database of academic journal articles and book chapters also includes a discussion forum.
  • Microsoft Libra. If you are searching for computer science academic research, then Libra will help you find what you need.
  • BASE – Bielefeld Academic Search Engine. This multi-disciplinary search engine focuses on academic research and is available in German, Polish, and Spanish as well as English.
  • yovisto. This search engine is an academic video search tool that provides lectures and more.
  • AJOL – African Journals Online. Search academic research published in AJOL with this search engine.
  • HighWire Press. From Stanford, use this tool to access thousands of peer-reviewed journals and full-text articles.
  • MetaPress. This tool claims to be the "world’s largest scholarly content host" and provides results from journals, books, reference material, and more.
  • OpenJ-Gate. Access over 4500 open journals with this tool that allows you to restrict your search to peer-reviewed journals or professional and industry journals.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals. This journal search tool provides access to over 3700 top "quality controlled" journals.
  • Intute. The resources here are all hand-selected and specifically for education and research purposes.
  • Virtual Learning Resource Center. This tool provides links to thousands of academic research sites to help students at any level find the best information for their Internet research projects.
  • Gateway to 21st Century Skills. This resource for educators is sponsored by the US Department of Education and provides information from a variety of places on the Internet.
  • MagBot. This search engine provides journal and magazine articles on topics relevant to students and their teachers.
  • http://web.mel.org/index.php?P=SPT--BrowseResourcesFeaturedResources&ParentId=915" style="color: rgb(0, 82, 163); text-decoration: none;">Michigan eLibrary. Find full-text articles as well as specialized databases available for searching.

Scientific Search Engines and Databases

The scientific community keeps many databases that can provide a huge amount of information but may not show up in searches through an ordinary search engine. Check these out to see if you can find what you need to know.

  • Science.gov. This search engine offers specific categories including agriculture and food, biology and nature, Earth and ocean sciences, health and medicine, and more.
  • WorldWideScience.org. Search for science information with this connection to international science databases and portals.
  • CiteSeer.IST. This search engine and digital library will help you find information within scientific literature.
  • Scirus has a pure scientific focus. It is a far reaching research engine that can scour journals, scientists’ homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional intranets.
  • Scopus. Find academic information among science, technology, medicine, and social science categories.
  • GoPubMed. Search for biomedical texts with this search engine that accesses PubMed articles.
  • the Gene Ontology. Search the Gene Ontology database for genes, proteins, or Gene Ontology terms.
  • PubFocus. This search engine searches Medline and PubMed for information on articles, authors, and publishing trends.
  • Scitation. Find over one million scientific papers from journals, conferences, magazines, and other sources with this tool.

Custom Search Engines

Custom search engines narrow your focus and eliminate quite a bit of the extra information usually contained in search results. Use these resources to find custom search engines or use the specific custom search engines listed below.

  • CustomSearchEngine.com. This listing includes many of the Google custom search engines created.
  • CustomSearchGuide.com. Find custom search engines here or create your own.
  • CSE Links. Use this site to find Google Coop custom search engines.
  • PGIS PPGIS Custom Search. This search engine is customized for those interested in the "practice and science" of PGIS/PPGIS.
  • Files Tube. Search for files in file sharing and uploading sites with this search engine.
  • Rollyo. "Roll your own search engine" at this site where you determine which sites will be included in your searches.

Collaborative Information and Databases

One of the oldest forms of information dissemination is word-of-mouth, and the Internet is no different. With the popularity of bookmarking and other collaborative sites, obscure blogs and websites can gain plenty of attention. Follow these sites to see what others are reading.

  • Del.icio.us. As readers find interesting articles or blog posts, they can tag, save, and share them so that others can enjoy the content as well.
  • Digg. As people read blogs or websites, they can "digg" the ones they like, thus creating a network of user-selected sites on the Internet.
  • Technorati. Not only is this site a blog search engine, but it is also a place for members to vote and share, thus increasing the visibility for blogs.
  • StumbleUpon. As you read information on the Internet, you can Stumble it and give it a thumbs up or down. The more you Stumble, the more closely aligned to your taste will the content become.
  • Reddit. Working similarly to StumbleUpon, Reddit asks you to vote on articles, then customizes content based on your preferences.
  • Twine. With Twine you can search for information as well as share with others and get recommendations from Twine.
  • Kreeo.com. This collaborative site offers shared knowledge from its members through forums, blogs, and shared websites.

Hints and Strategies

Searching the deep web should be done a bit differently, so use these strategies to help you get started on your deep web searching.

  • Don’t rely on old ways of searching. Become aware that approximately 99% of content on the Internet doesn’t show up on typical search engines, so think about other ways of searching.
  • Search for databases. Using any search engine, enter your keyword alongside "database" to find any searchable databases (for example, "running database" or "woodworking database").
  • Get a library card. Many public libraries offer access to research databases for users with an active library card.
  • Stay informed. Reading blogs or other updated guides about Internet searches on a regular basis will ensure you are staying updated with the latest information on Internet searches.
  • Search government databases. There are many government databases available that have plenty of information you may be seeking.
  • Bookmark your databases. Once you find helpful databases, don’t forget to bookmark them so you can always come back to them again.
  • Practice. Just like with other types of research, the more you practice searching the deep web, the better you will become at it.
  • Don’t give up. Researchers agree that most of the information hidden in the deep web is some of the best quality information available.

Helpful Articles and Resources for Deep Searching

Take advice from the experts and read these articles, blogs, and other resources that can help you understand the deep web.

  • Deep Web – Wikipedia. Get the basics about the deep web as well as links to some helpful resources with this article.
  • Deep Web – AI3:::Adaptive Information. This assortment of articles from the co-coiner of the phrase "deep web," Michael Bergman offers a look at the current state of deep web perspectives.
  • The Invisible Web. This article from About.com provides a very simple explanation of the deep web and offers suggestions for tackling it.
  • ResourceShelf. Librarians and researchers come together to share their findings on fun, helpful, and sometimes unusual ways to gather information from the web.
  • Docuticker. This blog offers the latest publications from government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, and other similar organizations. Many of these posts are links to databases and research statistics that may not appear so easily on typical web searches.
  • TechDeepWeb.com. This site offers tips and tools for IT professionals to find the best deep web resources.
  • Digital Image Resources on the Deep Web. This article includes links to many digital image resources that probably won’t show up on typical search engine results.
  • Timeline of events related to the Deep Web. This timeline puts the entire history of the deep web into perspective as well as offers up some helpful links.
  • The Deep Web. Learn terminology, get tips, and think about the future of the deep web with this article.
  • How to Evaluate Web Resources is a guide by WhoIsHostingThis.com to help students quickly evaluate the credibility of any resource they find on the internet.
Categorized in Deep Web

Islamic terrorists are arming themselves with the technical tools and expertise to attack the online systems underpinning Western companies and critical infrastructure, according to a new study from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.

The goal of the report was to bring awareness to "a hyper-evolving threat" said James Scott, ICIT co-founder and senior fellow.

Dark web marketplaces and forums make malware and tech expertise widely available and — with plenty of hackers for hire and malware for sale — technical skills are no longer required. A large-scale attack could be just around the corner, said Scott.

"These guys have the money to go on hacker-for-hire forums and just start hiring hackers," he said.

U.S. authorities are well-aware of the rising threat posed by Islamic terrorists armed with advanced cybertools. In April, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter declared a cyberwar against the Islamic State group, or ISIS. Ransomware chatter rose to prominence on dark web jihadi forums around the fall of 2015 and continues to be a topic of debate, particularly among members of ISIS and Boko Haram.

"I had the same position that I have right now with this in December of last year with regards to ransomware hitting the health-care sector," said Scott. "We were seeing the same exact thing."

Much of the chatter on jihadi chat boards comes from Europeans and Americans, often social outcasts living vicariously through the online reputation of their handle — including disenfranchised teens or jailhouse Muslim converts turned radicals, Scott said. They may not have strong coding skills, but they have access to Western institutions and businesses and are looking to leverage that access to serve ISIS.

An example of the sort of conversation that takes place on Islamic dark web forums involved a cleaner in Berlin who worked the overnight shift and wanted to know how they could help, said Scott. Others chimed in, explaining how the janitor could load malware onto a USB device and plug it into a computer to allow them to remotely hack into the network.

"That is the kind of insider threat that we are going to be facing," said Scott. "That is what they are seeing as the next step — an army of insider threats in the West."

"These guys have the money to go on hacker-for-hire forums and just start hiring hackers"
-James Scott, ICIT co-founder and senior fellow.

Though not known for being particularly sophisticated in their use of technology — beyond the use of encrypted messaging services and creating malicious apps — Islamic terrorists are now aggressively seeking ways to bridge gaps in their knowledge, said Scott. This may come in the form of hiring hackers, recruiting tech-savvy teens and educating new recruits.

"They are rapidly compensating for that slower part of their evolution," said Scott.

For example, ISIS operates what can best be described as a 24-hour cyber help desk, staffed by tech-savvy recruits around the globe. There are always about six operatives available to address questions, for example, about how to send encrypted messages, and strategize about how to leverage local access into cyberattacks. They also share tutorials, cybersecurity manuals and YouTube links, and try to recruit other techies, said Scott.

"It is obvious that cyber jihadists use dark web forums for everything — from discussing useful exploits and attack vectors, to gaining anonymity tips and learning the basics of hacking from the ISIS cyber help desk," he said. "Setting up properly layered attacks is incredibly easy even if one has a modest budget. All one needs is a target and a reason."
ICIT will present its findings and identify possible solutions for protecting critical infrastructure — along with a panel of industry experts and government officials — on June 29 in Washington.

Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/15/the-cyber-jihad-is-coming-says-this-security-firm.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, English computer scientist and the creator of the World Wide Web, couldn't have predicted that people would be using his idea to spread the word about the Arab Spring uprisings, or raise thousands of dollars to create a product. His goal was simple: he wanted a way to help people find and keep track of information more easily.

Nearly 27 years later, the World Wide Web has grown beyond the single server that Berners-Lee created to become a much larger and more influential entity. But there's one thing that continues to worry Berners-Lee--that some organizations are trying to limit people's ability to access certain types of content on the internet.

"It's been great, but spying, blocking sites, re-purposing people's content, taking you to the wrong websites--that completely undermines the spirit of helping people create," Berners-Lee tells the New York Times.

That's why this week, Berners-Lee and other powerful individuals in tech are hosting an event called the Decentralized Web Summit to discuss ways to give individuals more privacy, and more control over what they can access on the web. They want to find a way to stop governments from blocking certain web pages for example, and find more ways for people to pay for things on the internet without handing over sensitive credit card information.

Berners-Lee also told the Times that he's concerned about how the rising dominance of tech giants, such as Amazon, Google, and Twitter, is discouraging competition among companies that deal with the web, and stemming a more diverse flow of ideas.

"The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging," he says. "We don't have a technology problem, we have a social problem."

Berners-Lee and others sketched out their ideas for a few technological solutions that they believe could help decentralize the web. They think it would be beneficial for more websites to adopt a ledger-like style of payment, such as Bitcoin, to give people more control over their money.

Another one of the Decentralized Web Summit's organizers, Edward Kahle, has also created an Internet Archive, which can store discontinued websites and multiple versions of a web page. Those are small steps, but it's a move back in the direction of Berners-Lee's original version of the World Wide Web: a place where anyone can find the information they need--anytime, anywhere.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/anna-hensel/tim-berners-lee-decentralized-web-summit.html

Categorized in Online Research

Sometimes, a little bit of knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.Everyone’s guilty of it. Have you ever had a harmless little headache? Then you’ve found yourself with smartphone in hand, searching your symptoms on Google, running down an endless online checklist?

The next thing you know, you’re absolutely petrified you have a brain tumour.Sound familiar? It’s more common than you think.

By giving us instant health information (ranging from medically sound to commercially manipulative to completely crackpot) without the knowledge or context to decipher it, Google has turned us into a generation of raving hypochondriacs, or ‘Cyberchondriacs’.

A Ten Eyewitness News online poll showed that more than 50 percent of people admitted to having taken panicked trips to the doctor after talking themselves into thinking they could be on death’s door.

“They have near convinced me I’m dying,” poll responder Ana Hamed said of Google symptom searches, while Michael Bielaczek said, “I had a cough, I Googled it, turned out I had full blown AIDS.”

Amy Bastian responded, “I’m a nurse in a GP surgery, and the amount of people who Google their symptoms is bloody ridiculous! Sure, if you want to go from having a sore toe to being clinically dead in two clicks, go for it, but it would really just be easier to come see your GP to start with.”Instead, many people start with a Google search, or an online symptom checker when they feel ill.

In Australia, half of patients aged 25-44 access health information online, while nearly one in three use the Internet to search specific problems addressed at a GP visit, according to a 2013 study by the Australian General Practice Statistics and Classification Centre (AGPSCC.)

But just how accurate is that health information?

If you’re using an online symptom-checker, the answer might shock you.

A study conducted last year by researchers at Harvard Medical tested 23 of the most popular online symptom checkers, feeding them a range of symptoms from 45 patient case studies.Distressingly, the correct diagnosis was displayed first in only 34 percent of evaluations.

Likewise, the correct diagnosis was displayed amongst the top 20 possible diagnoses only 58 percent of the time.

Your chances of getting proper medical advice online is worse than winning at two-up. Online symptom checkers are a minefield for misdiagnoses.So how do we navigate the confusion? Luckily, there are a few guidelines to follow to avoid those late-night panic attacks.

Dr Magdalen Campbell from the Sydney North Health Network says it’s all about increasing your health literacy, and using the Internet as a tool together with your GP.

“We realize patients often Google their symptoms,” she said, “ but since using the Internet as a diagnostic tool is not always the best way to do things, if we're going to recommend using the Internet, we would do it as part of the consultation.”Be cautious with the information you find online. Here are some tips, tricks and things to remember:

Don’t Google late at night

If it’s something that can wait, sleep on it. Things tend to look brighter in the morning.

“I usually say don't do it in the middle of the night because you're usually tired and anxious and worried by that stage,” Dr Campbell said.

After a proper nights’ sleep, any search results you come across are bound to be less exaggerated by your own fears.

Even doctors have their own GPs

We’re all human, and the advice to resist Internet-based and self-diagnosis goes for everyone, even medical professionals.

“We will tend to, as human beings, disaster-think,” Dr Campbell said. “When we actually get any symptoms, we tend to look at the worst possible scenario and often come out with that. So it's better to actually go to the GP with any information and concerns, then as a partner with the GP, figure out what the symptoms are and what they really mean.”

If you are going to use the Internet, use reputable sources

Anyone can publish anything on the Internet, so take your search results with a grain of salt. And no, you can’t trust Wikipedia.

A recent study showed Wikipedia is the sixth most popular website for accessing medical information online, but nine out of ten articles on some of the most common medical conditions (coronary artery disease, lung cancer, depression, osteoarthritis, hypertension, diabetes and back pain) did not contain the most up-to-date research and health information.

“Dr Google goes world-wide, s o some of the information isn't even actually relevant in Australia,” Dr Campbell adds. “Dr Google goes to every single website.

“We say look, start with the very reputable ones. Everything from any of the government sites, the National Prescribing Service (NPS), and then move out from there. Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have links and widgets to various different health information sites.

“And for goodness sake, tell me what you've got from the Internet – I can tell you myself from knowledge whether it’s reputable, or else I can actually do a search on the secure medical websites, where research is being done.”

Know that online symptom searches can cause ‘cyberchondria’

Remember that online symptom checkers show you every possible diagnosis from a cold virus to leukaemia. And they’re only right about one-third of the time. Keep calm, and take your concerns to your doctor.

“They'll look down the list and see something they recognize, or that they are concerned or worried about, and then try to fit their symptoms into what that disease is. So we prefer to actually diagnose something prior to them [looking online],” Dr Campbell said.

The moral? If you use the proper approach, you won’t become a victim of cyberchondria.

The Internet can be a fantastic resource for medical information, but only if used wisely, and in its proper context.

Search in the light of day, use a government or doctor recommended resource, and most importantly, your search results are no substitute for your GP.

Keep calm, and Google responsibly.

Source:  http://tenplay.com.au/news/national/june/has-google-created-a-nation-of-cyberchondriacs

Categorized in Search Engine
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