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[This article is originally published in bizjournals.com written by RSM US LLP - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Issac Avila]

Persons engaged in fraud and illegal activity have long used several methods to hide ill-gotten assets. Today, forensic investigators have powerful new technological tools to track and uncover these assets. Some specialized techniques may require digital forensic specialists; however, more basic options are also effective.

Whether the suspected fraudster is a business partner, an employee or some other related party, the process for uncovering hidden accounts tends to follow a similar path.

Let’s look at basic techniques first.

The first step is to build a financial profile for the person or entity in question. This process involves gathering and reviewing documents and records such as tax returns, bank statements, mobile payment account history, investment account statements, credit card statements, life insurance policies, paycheck stubs, real and personal property records, lien records and any other financial-related statements for the period of time during which questionable activity is suspected.

As these documents are being compiled, build a master list comprised of all accounts identified, including owner’s names, authorized users, associated addresses or other account profile information. It is also advisable to identify potential email addresses, social media accounts, and other web-based account information.

When analyzing these documents, keep the following tips in mind:

  • For financial accounts identified, get the electronic statements directly from the source when possible. This helps ensure the integrity of the information. Also, if possible, obtain the information in electronic format so it can be ingested into various search and analysis tools.
  • Tax returns provide information concerning wages, business income, and investment income. They can identify the existence of both real and personal property and the possibility of foreign accounts or trusts. As tax returns reveal sources of income, tie them to specific accounts. For example, if the interest income is listed on the return, but no account is identified, investigate to find an institution, account number, and the related statements.
  • If a business is uncovered, in addition to identifying all financial accounts related to that business, try to obtain the articles of organization and/or other ownership information for that business. This can help identify, among many things, parties involved in illegal activity and other businesses a suspect is associated with, and it can even help identify any hidden assets.
  • Investment accounts have long been a popular vehicle to transfer and/or launder illegal funds through the purchase and subsequent sale of financial products and commodities. 
  • Reviewing pay stubs from the relevant period cannot only identify multiple bank accounts, but it can also help identify and/or support any unusual spending behavior and other financial activity.
  • Mobile payments through providers such as PayPal and Venmo have become increasingly popular and provide another avenue to divert funds and hide assets. The transaction history for these accounts should be obtained not only for this reason but in addition, it provides a paper trail of both the origin and recipient of funds that could uncover hidden accounts or parties associated with fraud or illegal activity.
  • Depending on the jurisdiction (state, county, city) real property records including deeds, liens and other documents identifying ownership of assets are publicly available information. These records can be used to identify any assets not previously reported without the request of a subpoena.
  • If a recent credit report can be obtained, it can be a useful document to help identify a large portion of these items in a consolidated format.

With all information gathered, the next step is a funds-tracing exercise to analyze deposits to, and withdrawals from, each of the identified accounts. Funds tracing may reveal even more accounts for which statements should be obtained and funds traced. Update the account master list to reflect any new accounts discovered and to record all deposits, withdrawals and other activity for each account.

When conducting a funds tracing, remember the following:

  • Develop a thorough list of the suspect’s family members and acquaintances, including names, aliases, and addresses, and match those names against account statements and transactions to determine if any related parties received funds. Close attention should be paid to any financial transactions with the suspect’s parents, children, siblings, romantic partners and any of their respective businesses.
  • Any unusual transfers or expenditures deserve special attention, as well as recurring deposits from a bank or brokerage in any amount. This could uncover dividend-paying stocks or interest-paying bonds.
  • A review of canceled checks will not only tell to whom the checks were paid, but also to what account number and institution the check was deposited, which can lead to new hidden accounts. Again, pay special attention to checks to family members and acquaintances or for unusual activities or amounts.
  • An analysis of ATM withdrawals or credit card cash advances, including aggregate amounts and the locations made, may indicate areas where the suspect is spending a large amount of time and possibly working to hide assets in secret accounts. Ask for explanations for any large cash withdrawals, whether through an ATM or in person.

Digital forensic analysis is another powerful tool for tracking down hidden assets. Whether it’s a work computer, personal computer, tablet or smart phone, any activity performed on the device can leave a trail of evidence. More sophisticated suspects may use encryption, wiping programs and private or remote web-browsing sessions to hide this evidence, but such steps on their own can help indicate fraud.

Digital forensic efforts to uncover hidden accounts focus on a variety of areas, including:

  • Email contents— Investigators can conduct keyword searches using names of suspected co-conspirators, romantic partners, family members, business dealings, business names, known code words or any other word or words that might be of interest to the investigator. They can also search for key information, such as new account setup forms, details or confirmations related to wire transfers, mobile payments, details of new business ventures or other case-specific information.
  • Accounting or budgeting software programs—A suspect who is a business owner or key accounting employee may be keeping multiple sets of books. Even if deleted, these may be recovered via digital forensic analysis and lead to unknown accounts.
  • Spreadsheets and other files—Suspects often keep track of account numbers and other information in spreadsheets or other files. 
  • Browsing history—Most internet browsers log information pertaining to website visits, as well as other internet activities, such as the completion of web-based forms and temporary internet files. A digital forensic specialist may uncover visits to bank or brokerage websites that may lead to unidentified accounts. Internet activity can also show information relating to online purchasing and payment activity, which could be useful in identifying expenditures and other potential assets.
  • Metadata analysis—Artifacts contained within documents (Word, Excel, PDFs), such as created and modified times, username and company name, can also help uncover fraud.
  • Registry analysis—Certain artifacts stored in the registry, such as USB connection information, network, and login information also can help in an investigation.
  • Mobile devices—Forensic specialists can analyze call logs, SMS messaging, and in some cases, email and email attachments. In addition, users tend to use these devices to access and monitor various assets such as financial accounts, online payment, etc.
  • Online social media activity, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites—An analysis of a suspect’s public profile and activity may uncover a hidden business or other interests, which may lead to other unknown accounts. In addition, people frequently post information and pictures of new assets (i.e., cars, boats, etc.) on social media sites. This can lead investigators to potential assets and also help with documenting large expenditures.

By forensically preserving the electronic evidence (computer hard drive, mobile device, etc.) a number of potential data sources might become available. Included in this forensically preserved data might be previously deleted files, multiple versions or iterations of files, indications of files and programs being accessed. All of these items could provide leads for additional sources of information or indications of the user accessing or deleting data.

While this is not exhaustive, it does provide a useful overview for tracking down hidden accounts. Keep in mind that accounts are not the only places where fraudulent gains can be hidden.

However, a thorough search for, and careful analysis of, hidden accounts should be a central part of any fraud investigation.

For more information about fraud investigations, contact Brad Koranda at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 612-376-9387.

RSM’s purpose is to deliver the power of being understood to our clients, colleagues, and communities through world-class audit, tax and consulting services focused on middle market businesses. For more information, visit rsmus.com.

As a partner with RSM's Forensic and Valuation Services group, Brad Koranda provides strategic advisory and financial services to companies across a broad scope of industries, including business and professional services, real estate, manufacturing, distribution, technology, insurance, investment management, life sciences, health care, and financial services sectors.
Categorized in Investigative Research

[This article is originally published in technobleak.com written by Kunal Ambadekar - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Mercedes J. Steinman]

“The Next Generation Search Engines market 2018 – 2023 report cover very impotent details” The Next Generation Search Engines Market report categorizes the market-based Trends, future prospect, Market share, size depending on the total research. And also provide technology, product cost, gross margin, and revenue The report highlights the market size and the important segments, providing quick relevant information about the Next Generation Search Engines market.

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Next Generation Search Engines Market Overview:

Later, the report focuses on regions operational coverage across the world mainly sales (K Units), revenue (Million USD), market share and growth rate variable within each region depending upon its capacity. This research also results to measure global Ceramic Sanitary Ware competitors according to specific regions for development and compound growth rate

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This report features mainly top to bottom approach to target key aspects of Ceramic Sanitary Ware market that includes, Gross Revenue, CAGR, Key Players, Cost Structure, Production Capacity, Sales Analysis, and Future Growth Trends projected on the basis of historical Ceramic Sanitary Ware research.

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Categorized in Market Research

[This article is originally published in blogs.scientificamerican.com written by Daniel M. Russell and Mario Callegaro - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Rene Meyer] 

Researchers who study how we use search engines share common mistakes, misperceptions, and advice

In a cheery, sunshine-filled fourth-grade classroom in California, the teacher explained the assignment: write a short report about the history of the Belgian Congo at the end of the 19th century, when Belgium colonized this region of Africa. One of us (Russell) was there to help the students with their online research methods.

I watched in dismay as a young student slowly typed her query into a smartphone. This was not going to end well. She was trying to find out which city was the capital of the Belgian Congo during this time period. She reasonably searched [ capital Belgian Congo ] and in less than a second, she discovered that the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is Kinshasa, a port town on the Congo River. She happily copied the answer into her worksheet.

But the student did not realize that the Democratic Republic of Congo is a completely different country than the Belgian Congo, which used to occupy the same area. The capital of that former country was Boma until 1926 when it was moved to Léopoldville (which was later renamed Kinshasa). Knowing which city was the capital during which time period is complicated in the Congo, so I was not terribly surprised by the girl’s mistake.

The deep problem here is that she blindly accepted the answer offered by the search engine as correct. She did not realize that there is a deeper history here.

We Google researchers know this is what many students do—they enter the first query that pops into their heads and runs with the answer. Double checking and going deeper are skills that come only with a great deal of practice—and perhaps a bunch of answers marked wrong on important exams. Students often do not have a great deal of background knowledge to flag a result as potentially incorrect, so they are especially susceptible to misguided search results like this.

In fact, a 2016 report by Stanford University education researchers showed that most students are woefully unprepared to assess content they find on the web. For instance, the scientists found that 80 percent of students at U.S. universities are not able to determine if a given web site contains credible information. And it is not just students; many adults share these difficulties.

If she had clicked through to the linked page, the girl probably would have started reading about the history of the Belgian Congo, and found out that it has had a few hundred years of wars, corruption, changes in rulers and shifts in governance. The name of the country changed at least six times in a century, but she never realized that because she only read the answer presented on the search engine results page.

Asking a question of a search engine is something people do several billion times each day. It is the way we find the phone number of the local pharmacy, check on sports scores, read the latest scholarly papers, look for news articles, find pieces of code, and shop. And although searchers look for true answers to their questions, the search engine returns results that are attuned to the query, rather than some external sense of what is true or not. So a search for proof of wrongdoing by a political candidate can return sites that purport to have this information, whether or not the sites or the information are credible. You really do get what you search for.

In many ways, search engines make our metacognitive skills come to the foreground. It is easy to do a search that plays into your confirmation bias—your tendency to think new information supports views you already hold. So good searchers actively seek out information that may conflict with their preconceived notions. They look for secondary sources of support, doing a second or third query to gain other perspectives on their topic. They are constantly aware of what their cognitive biases are, and greet whatever responses they receive from a search engine with healthy skepticism.

For the vast majority of us, most searches are successful. Search engines are powerful tools that can be incredibly helpful, but they also require a bit of understanding to find the information you are actually seeking. Small changes in how you search can go a long way toward finding better answers.

The Limits of Search

It is not surprising or uncommon that a short query may not accurately reflect what a searcher really wants to know. What is actually remarkable is how often a simple, brief query like [ nets ] or [ giants ] will give the right results. After all, both of those words have multiple meanings, and a search engine might conclude that searchers were looking for information on tools to catch butterflies, in the first case, or larger-than-life people in the second. Yet most users who type those words are seeking basketball- and football-related sites and the first search results for those terms provide just that. Even the difference between a query like [the who]versus [a who] is striking. The first set of results are about a classic English rock band, whereas the second query returns references to a popular Dr. Seuss book.

But search engines sometimes seem to give the illusion that you can ask anything about anything and get the right answer. Just like the student in that example, however, most searchers overestimate the accuracy of search engines and their own searching skills. In fact, when Americans were asked to self-rate their searching ability by the Pew Research Center in 2012, 56 percent rated themselves as very confident in their ability to use a search engine to answer a question.

Not surprisingly, the highest confidence scores were for searchers with some college degrees (64 percent were “very confident”—by contrast, 45 percent of those who did not have a college degree describes themselves that way). Age affects this judgment as well, with 64 percent of those under 50 describing themselves as “very confident,” as opposed to only 40 percent older than 50. When talking about how successful they are in their searches, 29 percent reported that they can always find what they are looking for, and 62 percent said they are able to find an answer to their questions most of the time. In surveys, most people tell us that everything they want is online, and conversely, if they cannot find something via a quick search, then it must not exist, it might be out of date, or it might not be of much value.

These are the most recent published results, but we have seen in surveys done at Google in 2018 that these insights from Pew are still true and transcend the years. What was true in 2012 is still exactly the same now: People have great confidence in their ability to search. The only significant change is in their success rates, which have crept up to 35 percent can "always find" what they're looking for, while 73 percent say they can find what they seek "most of the time." This increase is largely due to improvements in the search engines, which improve their data coverage and algorithms every year."

What Good Searchers Do

As long as information needs are easy, simple searches work reasonably well. Most people actually do less than one search per day, and most of those searches are short and commonplace. The average query length on Google during 2016 was 2.3 words. Queries are often brief descriptions like: [ quiche recipe ] or [ calories in chocolate ] or [ parking Tulsa ].

And somewhat surprisingly, most searches have been done before. In an average day, less than 12 percent of all searches are completely novel—that is, most queries have already been entered by another searcher in the past day. By design, search engines have learned to associate short queries with the targets of those searches by tracking pages that are visited as a result of the query, making the results returned both faster and more accurate than they otherwise would have been.

A large fraction of queries are searches for another website (called navigational queries, which make up as much as 25 percent of all queries), or for a short factual piece of information (called informational queries, which are around 40 percent of all queries). However, complex search tasks often need more than a single query to find a satisfactory answer. So how can you do better searches? 

First, you can modify your query by changing a term in your search phrase, generally to make it more precise or by adding additional terms to reduce the number of off-topic results. Very experienced searchers often open multiple browser tabs or windows to pursue different avenues of research, usually investigating slightly different variations of the original query in parallel.

You can see good searchers rapidly trying different search queries in a row, rather than just being satisfied with what they get with the first search. This is especially true for searches that involve very ambiguous terms—a query like [animal food] has many possible interpretations. Good searchers modify the query to get to what they need quickly, such as [pet food] or [animal nutrition], depending on the underlying goal.

Choosing the best way to phrase your query means adding terms that:

  • are central to the topic (avoid peripheral terms that are off-topic)
  • you know the definition of (do not guess at a term if you are not certain)
  • leave common terms together in order ( [ chow pet ] is very different than [ pet chow ])
  • keep the query fairly short (you usually do not need more than two to five terms)

You can make your query more precise by limiting the scope of a search with special operators. The most powerful operators are things such as double-quote marks (as in the query [ “exponential growth occurs when” ], which finds only documents containing that phrase in that specific order. Two other commonly used search operators are site: and filetype: These let you search within only one web site (such as [site:ScientificAmerican.com ]) or for a particular filetype, such as a PDF file (example: [ filetype:pdf coral bleaching ])

Second, try to understand the range of possible search options. Recently, search engines added the capability of searching for images that are similar to the given photo that you can upload. A searcher who knows this can find photos online that have features that resemble those in the original. By clicking through the similar images, a searcher can often find information about the object (or place) in the image. Searching for matches of my favorite fish photo can tell me not just what kind of fish it is, but then provide links to other fishing locations and ichthyological descriptions of this fish species.        

Overall, expert searchers use all of the resources of the search engine and their browsers to search both deeply (by making query variations) and broadly (by having multiple tabs or windows open). Effective searchers also know how to limit a search to a particular website or to a particular kind of document, find a phrase (by using quote marks to delimit the phrase), and find text on a page (by using a text-find tool).

Third, learn some cool tricks. One is the find-text-on-page skill (that is, Command-F on Mac, Control-F on PC), which is unfamiliar to around 90 percent of the English-speaking, Internet-using population in the US. In our surveys of thousands of web users, the large majority have to do a slow (and errorful) visual scan for a string of text on a web site. Knowing how to use text-finding commands speeds up your overall search time by about 12 percent (and is a skill that transfers to almost every other computer application).

Fourth, use your critical-thinking skills.  In one case study, we found that searchers looking for the number of teachers in New York state would often do a query for [number of teachers New York ], and then take the first result as their answer—never realizing that they were reading about the teacher population of New York City, not New York State. In another study, we asked searchers to find the maximum weight a particular model of baby stroller could hold. How big could that baby be?

The answers we got back varied from two pounds to 250 pounds. At both ends of the spectrum, the answers make no sense (few babies in strollers weigh less than five pounds or more than 60 pounds), but inexperienced searchers just assumed that whatever numbers they found correctly answered their search questions. They did not read the context of the results with much care.  

Search engines are amazingly powerful tools that have transformed the way we think of research, but they can hurt more than help when we lack the skills to use them appropriately and evaluate what they tell us. Skilled searchers know that the ranking of results from a search engine is not a statement about objective truth, but about the best matching of the search query, term frequency, and the connectedness of web pages. Whether or not those results answer the searchers’ questions is still up for them to determine.

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in makeuseof.com  written by Dan Price  - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Carol R. Venuti]

Of course, most social networks have their own search engines built in, but they’re fundamentally limited by the fact they can only search their own database. And how you are supposed to know whether Aunt Mary is on Facebook, Google Plus, or one of the other myriad options?

The solution? Use a network-agnostic social search engine. They can search all the most common networks, as well as lots of the niche, smaller ones.

If you need a social search engine, you’ve come to the right place. Here are six options for you to consider.

1. Pipl

Pipl offers a vast database of online accounts – almost three billion are accessible through its search algorithms.

The search engine doesn’t only scan social media networks. It also scans a list of both personal and work emails, deep web archives such as court records, news reports, and publicly available government lists.

6 Most Powerful Search Engines for Social Networks pipl 670x449

To use the tool, enter the person’s name, email address, or social media username into the search box. If you wish, you can also enter a location. Click on the magnifying glass icon to start the search.

How to Check for Open Usernames on Dozens of Social Media Sites at Once How to Check for Open Usernames on Dozens of Social Media Sites at OnceIf you want to create a new presence across social media sites, this tool will help you find a username that you can use on all of them!READ MORE

The results page will show you hits from across the site’s various databases. You can use the filters on the left-hand side of the screen to narrow the results by location and age.

Twitter itself also allows you to search for tweets by location.

2. Social Mention

Social Mention is both a social search engine and a way to aggregate user-generated content across a number of networks into a single feed. It helps you search for phrases, events, and mentions, but it won’t let you find individual people.

The site supports more than 80 social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Google Plus, and Instagram. It can also scan blogs, bookmarks, and even comments.

6 Most Powerful Search Engines for Social Networks socialmention 670x476

In the left-hand panel of the results page, you’ll see an abundance of data about the phrases you entered. You can find out how frequently the page is mentioned, a list of associated keywords and hashtags, top users, and more.

On the right-hand side of the screen you’ll find links for exporting data into a CSV file, and along the top of the screen are various filter options.

3. snitch.name

The snitch.name site is one of the easiest on this list to use.

The site has several advantages over a regular search query on Google. For example, many social networks are either not indexed by Google, or only have very limited indexing. It also prioritizes “people pages,” whereas a regular Google search will also return results for results for posts mentioning the person, associated hashtags, and other content.

6 Most Powerful Search Engines for Social Networks snitch name 670x480

Obviously, even after running a search, some profiles theoretically remain restricted depending on the said user’s privacy settings. However, as long as you can access the account through your own social media account, you will be able to access the listing on snitch.name.

To use the site, fire up the homepage, enter your search terms, and mark the checkboxes next to the networks you want to scan. When you’re ready, click Search.

4. Social-Searcher

Social-Searcher is another web app that works across a broad array of social networks and other platforms.

You can use the site without making an account. Non-registered users can search Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Dailymotion, and Vimeo. You can also save your searches and set up email alerts.

6 Most Powerful Search Engines for Social Networks social searcher 670x316

If you need a more powerful solution, you should consider signing up for one of the paid plans. For $3.50 per month, you get 200 searches per day, three email alerts, three keyword monitors, and space for up to 3,000 saved posts. The top-level plan, which costs $20 per month, increases the limits even further.

5. Social-Searcher: Google Social Search

The same team who is responsible for the previously-mentioned Social-Searcher has also developed a Google Social Search tool.

It works with six networks. They are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You can mark the checkboxes next to the networks’ logos to limit your search to particular sites.

6 Most Powerful Search Engines for Social Networks google social search 670x353

The usual Google search tricks apply. For example, putting quotation marks around a set of words will force Google to only return results with an exact match, adding a minus sign will exclude specific words from the results, and typing OR between words will let you roll several terms into one search result.

Results are sorted by networks, and you can click on Web or Images to toggle between the different media.

6. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo takes a slightly different approach to the tools we have mentioned so far. It specializes in searching for trends and keyword performance.

That makes it an ideal tool for businesses; they can find out what content is going to have the biggest impact when they share it, as well as gaining an insight into the words and phrases their competitors are using.

On the results page, you can use the panel on the left-hand side of the screen to create filters. Date, content type, language, country, and even word counts are searchable parameters.

6 Most Powerful Search Engines for Social Networks buzzsumo 670x300

On the right-hand side of the page, you can see how successful each post was. Analytics for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest are shown, as are the total number of shares.

Free users can only see the top 10 results; you will need a Pro account for $79 per month to unlock more. It’s probably too much money for individual users, but for businesses the cost is negligible.

Which Social Media Search Engines Do You Use?

In this article, we have introduced you to six of the best social media search engines. Each of them focuses on a different type of user and presents its results in a different way. If you use them all, you should be able to quickly find the topic, person, trend, or keyword you’re looking for.

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published universalclass.com - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

The Internet is often the first place many people go when they need to do research. Though this might be the first place to look for basic information, the key to using the Internet wisely begins with understanding how the Internet works and how it can work for you.

How Internet Search Engines Work

An Internet search engine is akin to a library in the online setting. Within millions of domain names are stored pieces of information you can use for your research.

However, you need to begin somewhere.

Browser: The browser is the entryway to your Internet searches. You can use a variety of different search engines to help you begin your research, including:

  • Google
  • MSN's Bing
  • Ask
  • Yahoo!
  • Dogpile
  • Altavista
  • AOL search

No matter what search engine you decide to use, you will find a vast collection of resources. Many people choose one search engine before all others, and you might choose to do the same.

In collecting your information, assess how quickly the search engine can get your needed materials and then choose the search engine that works consistently for you. It is much easier to use one search engine than to use several.

While search engines are complex in the way they arrange their information, this is the basic setup.

  • Domain name: At the base, each Web site online has its own personal URL. This is the name of the Web site. For example, you might have www.Apple.com. This is Apple's Web site name. If you were to type this name into a browser or search engine, you would find a listing for the Apple site. If you typed in another spelling into a Web browser, you would not reach this site.
  • Domain details: After the domain name, you might see additional words, often after a back slash (/). This allows the site to break up into additional pages so a person can reach different pieces of information.
  • Subpages: Within those pages might be even more subpages, helping you further refine your search and find the results that you need to complete your research.
  • Keywords: Search engines operate much like a computer at a library might. You can type in a word that is related to your topic, a title of a book, an author, a question, or any other number of words to find results that are related to your search. Search engines rank the sites online by the keywords that are most related to the Web sites, as well as to keywords that are used most often on those sites. For example, when you want to look something up about dieting, you do not type in "carrot." You type in "diet" or "dieting." Search engines have complicated algorithms to determine what keywords match best to Web sites online.
  • Popularity: What you might not realize is that search engines also will rank Web sites based on how popular they are with users. For example, when you look up weight loss, you might find a site that talks about the health-related aspects of weight loss, rather than an actual weight loss plan. Why is this? More people decided to choose that Web site over weight loss product Web sites, so the search engine ranks it higher. These popularity rankings might change between search engines or they might change over the course of a week, depending on the popularity of a Web site.

Now that you know how a search engine basically operates, you can begin to see how you need to work with the search engine to find the pages and Web sites you need for your individual research. Though you might have a clear idea in mind of the questions you need to answer, you need to work with the search engine to ensure you can find the best possible information.

The Internet has a lot of information, and the main part of your research process will be sifting through your findings to determine what is useful. 

Search Engine Strategies

When you first use a search engine to look up the answer to a question or to begin a research project, you will notice something: Some of the results you receive are relevant and some are not. This happens because search engines all have different rules about how the search engine results will be listed.

To maximize the efficiency of your search engine search, you need to use strategies that help you find the most relevant results first. This will reduce your research time and ensure the sites on the list will help you with your project.

  • One-word search: The simplest way to use a search engine is to type in one word that is crucial to your search. This might be a word that is in your research title or a certain item you need to know more about to be prepared for a presentation.
  • One-phrase search: If you have a phrase that is often attributed to your main topic, then you can use this in search engines.
  • Multiple term search: When you want to make your search as specific as possible, you might want to type in as many keywords as possible to make sure you are narrowing the results. For example, instead of "diet," you might type in "diet healthy vegetarian."
  • Quotation marks: If you want the search engine to search for something that is spelled the same way that you typed it in, surround the word with quotation marks. This tells the search engine that you want only results that match the spelling exactly.
  • "AND": One of the Boolean operators is "AND," which is a way to tell the search engine that you want to include multiple words in the search engine results. For example, if you want to talk about salt and pepper, then you might type in "salt AND pepper." This will lead to results that include both of the keywords.
  • "NOT": If you have a term you need to research, but you do not want another term associated with it, then you would use another Boolean operator. For example, you want to research "pepper NOT salt." This will exclude any results that include salt.
  • "OR": The last used Boolean operator is "OR." If you are not sure what you need to include, but you need to include both terms, you might put "salt OR pepper." Your results might include one or the other or both keywords.
  • Use common terms: If you need to do some research on sweatshirts, it might be better to use the word "sweatshirt" instead of "hoodie." Think about the most basic term associated with the idea you need to research.
  • Synonyms: You also may want to choose to use synonyms of the topic you need to research if you cannot find the original word online. You can turn to your thesaurus for help with finding synonyms.
  • Related terms: You may also want to create a list of related words that can help you begin to find more research results. When talking about an engagement, for example, you might include "diamond ring" in your search list, too.
  • List the most significant word first: When you have a list of words you will use in your search engine, type in the most important word first. This will ensure the search engine focuses on the most important term.
  • Asterisks: When you are not quite sure how to spell a word or you are missing a part of a phrase, you can use an asterisk to tell the search engine you need help. For example, if you are not sure what Shakespeare's important quote in Hamlet was, you might type "to be * to be." This would return results that answer your question.
  • Question marks: If you are not sure about your keywords or a part of the phrase you are typing into the search engine, then use a question mark.
  • Plus (+) sign: You can also use this to link together the keywords you want to be used as a part of the search process. For example, you might use "peanut+butter+jelly."

It can also help to review the help section of your search engine to see what types of search options it offers. Because the search engines all operate differently, you need to make sure you are playing by their rules to get the best results.

Advanced Search Engine Strategies

When you want to make sure that your search engine is giving you the best results, you can use the strategies above, or you can continue to boost your results by using these more advanced research strategies:

  • Use the "advanced results" option. Some search engines, including Google, offer an advanced results option. When you are unable to find results you need for your research, extend your research into that section. The more boxes you can fill out here, the more you will be able to refine your results.
  • Use another language. If your results might be listed under a different language or in another country, make sure to list other possible languages the text might be in.
  • Specify the date. When you need to have results from a certain time period, add the date or the time period of the results you want to see.
  • Specify the file format. You might want to find a certain document online, but without specifying the type of document, this can be tricky. Instead, add in whether you need a .doc, .docx, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, or other type of file to refine your results.
  • Specify the type of site. You can also make sure you are only getting useful sites by typing in things like ".edu" and ".gov" with your keywords. This will qualify your results and give you only results that are college and university Web sites or those that are run by government agencies.

The more that you begin to refine your search, the more effective results you will have. The better your research, the better the results. 

Potential Problems with Internet Research

While more people use the Internet than ever before for their research, this is not without its troubles. The Internet contains valuable information, but it also contains information that has not been well-researched.

Another set of problems occurs when a person uses the Internet for all research.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Choose respected sites. It is best to choose Web sites that have been used for years and that are run by a team of experts. At the very least, the Web site should have some sort of expertise or have a board of editors that helps ensure that information on the site is accurate.
  • Consider the objectivity of the Web site. When you read a Web site about the benefits of beef, look to see who is sponsoring the site. If a beef company is sponsoring the site, you might want to look at the information more carefully. While a site may not be lying about the information it posts, the site might be influenced by its sponsors.
  • Realize that some publications cannot be posted online. There are some journals and articles that might not be able to be posted online due to copyright issues. Some articles can only be found in print at libraries.
  • Notice that some publications are limited online. Many publications are limiting the content they have online. When this is the case, you might only be able to find a portion of the content you need.
  • Some research can only be obtained online via memberships. Some journals and magazines online will post all of their latest issue's contents, but a person will need to subscribe to be a member to access the information.

The Internet is one research tool, but it is not the only research tool. Instead of looking at the Internet as the only way to find what you need, look at the Internet as a helpful starting point.

You might be able to find the basic information you need, but do not limit yourself to just this research tool.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published esl.fis.edu - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

The internet is a wonderful resource. It has all the information that students are likely to need about every topic they are studying. Internet research can be a very effective (and enjoyable) way of finding the information that you need. However, it is also very easy to spend a lot of time searching on the web and still not find what you are looking for. If you follow the 'rules' below, you can be sure to avoid wasting too much of your precious time.

Rule 1 - Be sure you know exactly what information you have to find.

The more exactly you know what you are looking for, the easier it will be to find it.

Rule 2 - Use multiple-word searches.

This is related to Rule 1. Let's say you have to find out about Shackleton's third journey to Antarctica. Do not just type in Shackleton. Type Shackleton third journey Antarctica. You will get fewer results, but you can be confident that these will be relevant to the information you need.

Rule 3 - Enclose phrases in quotation marks.

Suppose you had to find out which was the world's most dangerous animal. Typing the most dangerous animal in Google returns almost 100 million hits. If you enclose the phrase in quotation marks in "the most dangerous animal", you get just over 600,000. This is still a huge number, but you can be more sure the results will be relevant.

Rule 4 - Use the minus sign to filter unwanted results.

Imagine you are searching for information about the Hilton hotel organization. If you just type in Hilton, you will get a huge number of pages with information about Paris Hilton, a famous Hollywood star. If, however, you type in Hilton -Paris, the search results will not include any pages about the actress.

In Google, the Advanced Search will help you use this (Boolean) logic correctly; or you can read their help page.You could also ask your teacher or librarian to show you.

Rule 5 - Learn how to skim the search hits for webpages worth opening.

If you have used good keywords/keyword groups and correct Boolean logic, you should have a not-too-long list of links that contain the information you are looking for. These links come with one or two lines of information about the webpage they lead to. If you read this information with some care, you can avoid clicking on irrelevant pages. It is very time-wasting to wait a minute or so for a page to load, only to find that it is useless to your needs.

Rule 6 - Be sure to evaluate the reliability of the information you find.

Anyone can put information on the internet. Not all of the information is correct or up-to-date. If you find a webpage that has unusual colors/fonts or contains many spelling mistakes, you should be very careful about trusting the information it contains. See if there are details about the author somewhere on the website, or ask your teacher/librarian to advise.

Rule 7 - Research in your own language.

Much of the information on the web that is in English will be very hard for ESL students. An excellent idea is to research in your own language. You can then read the corresponding information in English with a far better chance of understanding it.

Rule 8 - Remember: you don't always need to use the internet.

School libraries are full of books and other resources containing most of the information you need. If you use a library book, you can usually be sure of its reliability (although it may not be up-to-date). Libraries have access to excellent reference resources such as the Encyclopedia Britannica or ProQuest magazine database. It is often best to start research in the library and to use a web search engine only if the library does not have what you are looking for.

Review the reference resources in the Frankfurt International Upper School Library

Rule 9 - Filter your results according to their reading level.

You can ask Google to show you only the pages that are written at a basic (or intermediate, or advanced) level of difficulty. [Watch this video to learn how to do this.]

Rule 10 - Remember: finding the right information is only the beginning.

Once you have found the information you are looking for, you will need to do something with it. Often you will make notes on it before putting it into a piece of writing of your own. In this case, be sure to keep the URLs (web addresses) and titles of the web pages. [More on taking notes.]

Rule 11 = Rule 1: Be sure you know exactly what information you have to find ..

    .. and what you have to do with it once you have found it.a

 

Categorized in Online Research

Search Engines

Search engines on the World Wide Web are remotely accessible programs that let you do keyword searches for information on the Internet. There are several types of search engines and searches may cover titles of documents, URL's, headers, or full text. Keep in mind that the results you get from one search engine may not match the results you get from another search engine. In fact, they are often different due to the way each search engine behaves. Therefore, it may actually be beneficial to use more than one search engine on a regular basis.

In this section, we briefly look at Google and Yahoo!. Web pages are often dynamic and can change at any time. As a result, you may find that if either site changes, your experience with JAWS may be different than what is described here.

Google

EXERCISE: Use the link below to go to the Google Website and follow along with the instructions.

When you first go to the Google Website there is a blinking cursor in an edit box where you can type the word or phrase that you are interested in.

Google Instant is a search enhancement that shows results as you type. It is designed to predict a person's search by updating the page and showing results while you type. It is a time-saving feature. However, because the page is changing as you type this can sometimes cause problems for screen reader users. You may find a link on the page that reads "Screen reader users, click here to turn off Google Instant." If you choose this link it makes your searches using a screen reader much easier.

To change your preferences for Google you can do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+F7 to open the JAWS list of links.
  2. Choose the link Options, and then press ENTER. A links submenu opens on the Google site.
  3. Press DOWN ARROW to move to the link Search Settings, and then press ENTER.
  4. Beneath the heading Google Instant predictions is an On/Off slider bar. At the time of this writing, it does not read well with JAWS. Press ENTER on it to go into forms mode.
  5. Press DOWN ARROW on this slider bar to turn the feature off.
  6. Press NUM PAD PLUS to get out of forms mode.
  7. Press B to move to the Save button at the bottom of the page, and then activate it by pressing ENTER.

To begin searching, for users of JAWS prior to version 10.0, the first thing you need to do is press the ENTER key to go into Forms Mode with JAWS. Once you are in Forms Mode, you can then type in keywords that will define your search.

If you are using JAWS 10.0 or later, forms mode comes on automatically when you get to a Web page which has the focus set to a blinking cursor in an edit box. If for some reason forms mode does not come on automatically on your computer, you can also press ENTER to go into forms mode, or you can press INSERT+F5 to open the Select a Form Field dialog box for JAWS.

MAGic Tip: MAGic users, just click into any edit box and forms mode comes on automatically for you.

JAWS Tip: New since JAWS 10, JAWS users who use a mouse can also click into edit boxes and forms mode comes on automatically.

After you have typed in some text, press ENTER to activate the Search button.

Google only returns Web pages that contain all of the words in your query. If you find that you get too many "hits" or Web pages that match your search, you can enter more words in your search query to narrow the choices.

Using good keywords gives you better results. Be as specific as you can. For example, a search for the keyword "musicians" will yield far more results than a search for the keywords "Elvis Presley." You do not need to include "and" between terms, but the order in which you type your keywords will affect the search results. You can also search for a specific phrase by including words in quotation marks. Google searches are not case sensitive.

You can also use the following items within your keywords for Google searches:

  • - (minus) sign. Causes Google to exclude a word from your search. For example, "JAWS" can refer to a screen reading software or a famous movie. You can exclude many of the movie-related hits by searching for "JAWS -movie." (Be sure to include a space before the minus sign and no spaces between the minus sign and the word "movie.") Searches for JAWS with different conditions yielded the following results:
    • JAWS, about 50,600,000 hits
    • JAWS windows -movie, about 8,600,000 hits
    • "JAWS screen reader" (in quotes) about 62,000

As you narrow your search and use better keywords, you get more relevant results.

  • Putting a phrase into quotes tells Google to look for the exact words in that exact order.
  • You can search for something within a specific website by typing the word or phrase followed by site:FreedomScientific.com (where the dot-com changes to whatever site you are searching.

The I'm Feeling Lucky™ button takes you directly to the first Web page Google returned for your query. You will not see the other search results at all. For example, to find the home page for Stanford University, simply enter "Stanford" into the search box and choose the I'm Feeling Lucky™ button. Google takes you directly to www.stanford.edu, the official homepage of Stanford University.

Try typing different things such as names, phone numbers, and more to find people or things.

Try a search for Freedom Scientific. Use this link to go to the Google Web site. On the results page, there are a couple of things you can do to get more information about the results of the search:

  • The statistics of your search are typically placed between the search edit box and the search results. You can press DOWN ARROW a few times to find this line, or you can use the JAWS find command CTRL+F to look for the word "Results," and then read that line. For example, when testing this, the search found, "About 86,400,000 for freedom scientific. (0.22 seconds)." This can be useful if you need to narrow the search.
  • Google uses a "main" region to guide you to the search results. You can press R to move from one region to another.
  • The items found as a result of your search are placed on the page as both links and headings. You can press the navigation quick key H to move quickly among the headings that match your search. Since they are also links, you can press ENTER to activate them and move to those Web pages of interest.
  • Below each heading (and link) that match your search is a short synopsis of what that page is about. After pressing H to move to a heading (link), just press DOWN ARROW to read the text below it for more information.
  • Remember, you can also press SHIFT+H to move backward.
  • There is also a good structure to the headings. The heading level one on the page is the Google logo and link that will take you back to the main Google page. The search results begin to be listed after a heading level two. The matches found for the search are all level three headings.

EXERCISE: Google uses regions to make navigation easier. Explore them by pressing R to move from region to region, and then press DOWN ARROW to move into the next section.

You can also read through the search results page using normal reading keys or use INSERT+F7 to open the list of links and see what related links were found. Use the Move to Link button in the links list ALT+M) to move to a particular link and then down arrow through the associated text to find out if this might be what you are looking for.

In addition to the information displayed on the initial results page, there are often links to more pages of information that meet your search criteria. These pages are reached by activating the link for the number of the page. Usually, you will find links for additional pages 2 through 10 near the bottom of each page. Each page beyond the first page also contains a number of items that match your search.

NOTE: Look for a region called "content information" to move to these links quickly.

Google Search Tools

Google also provides easy-to-use search tools. For example:

  • "Weather Chicago" yields the current weather in Chicago
  • "25 kilometers in miles" convert kilometers to miles
  • "Define screen magnification" yields definitions for screen magnification
  • "Seafood restaurants 33716" yields restaurants that serve seafood in or near that zip code
  • And so on...

NOTE: For both the Google Website and the Yahoo! Website discussed in the next section, be sure to check out the other links on their sites for Advanced Search, Help topics, and more.

Yahoo!.com

Yahoo! is another search engine that many people use. The main Yahoo! the page also has more information on it, such as sports and news headlines, entertainment links, and links to many other items. This tends to cause the page to appear more cluttered than the Google site but may prove itself useful to you as well. As with Google, when you first go to the Yahoo! Website there is a blinking cursor in an edit box.

For users of JAWS prior to version 10.0, the first thing you need to do is press the ENTER key to go into Forms Mode with JAWS. Once you are in Forms Mode, you can then type in keywords that will define your search.

If you are using JAWS 10.0 or later, forms mode comes on automatically when you get to a Web page which has the focus set to a blinking cursor in an edit box. If for some reason forms mode does not come on automatically on your computer, you can also press ENTER to go into forms mode, or you can press INSERT+F5 to open the Select a Form Field dialog box for JAWS.

MAGic Tip: MAGic users, just click into any edit box, and forms mode comes on automatically for you.

JAWS Tip: New since JAWS 10, JAWS users who use a mouse can also click into edit boxes and forms mode comes on automatically.

After you have typed in some text, press ENTER to activate the Search button.

Yahoo! behaves very much the same way as Google and displays a list of hits of matching items. These are links to further resources, and each link here also has a text description taken from that source that matches your query.

After a Yahoo! results page loads, press the letter H to move to the different headings on the page. Below the heading Search Results, you find the main links that match your search. Each contains a short text synopsis below it and a link for a cached version. Since the headings are also links, pressing ENTER on one takes you to the Web page indicated. Beneath each heading/link is text that describes a little bit about that page. Press INSERT+F7 to use the list of links to explore the links, or you can also press TAB to move from one link to another.

NOTE: Yahoo now also uses regions on search results pages. Look for the "main" region to guide you directly to the search results area.

To find the number of matches, use the JAWS Find and look for the word "results" without the quotes. You should hear something like the following: "50,300,911 results."

Yahoo! also has links to other results pages, just as Google does. These links show as numbers 2 through 10 and are located near the bottom of the page.

Going Beyond the Search Engine Results Page

OK, so what happens when you choose one of the links you find on a search engine page? What strategies do you use to find the information you were initially searching for on the resulting page?

ANSWER: All of the strategies you learned in this series of Surf's Up lessons, including:

  • Use N to jump past a series of links to move to the next block of text that has at least 25 characters without a link.
  • Use the list of links (INSERT+F7) to look for links that begin with specific words.
  • Use the list of headings (INSERT+F6) to look for structure in the headings on a page.
  • Use the JAWS Find to search for words or phrases on a Web page.
  • Look for regions.
  • Use the Adjust JAWS Options list to change things as needed such as:
    • Stoppage refreshes
    • Search for attributes, acronyms, abbreviations, and more.
  • Use the Custom Label feature of JAWS to label unlabeled links or unlabeled form fields on pages that you visit often.

Read More...

Source: This article was published freedomscientific.com

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published darkwebnews.com - Contributed by Member: Dorothy Allen

The Weird And Wonderful Deep Web

As is implicit in its very name, the deep web can best be described as a labyrinth of sorts, complete with infinitely fascinating content.

There are millions of pages of interesting indexes, databases, ideas, internal networks, communities and resources on the deep web, both innocent and nefarious in nature.

In being introduced to the concept of the deep web, one fact always manages to baffle the masses: 96 percent of the internet is not indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing.

That means only a tiny portion of the World Wide Web is accessible to you through standard means. The average internet user is only utilizing a portion of the potential the internet has to offer.

What is the deep web then?

THE DEEP WEB IS ALL OF THE INTERNET THAT CANNOT BE FOUND BY REGULAR SEARCH ENGINES, AS THE PAGES ARE NOT INDEXED IN ANY WAY.

magnifying glass looking a spider on a browser window.

Search engines like Google have software called web crawler or web spiders. They crawl to find web pages. That info is stored in the search engine’s index.

Google’s indexing system begins with a process called “crawling.”

Imagine a virtual robot spider that starts at the home page and then crawls to and from all the pages on the site that can be accessed by clicking all the links.

Google then scans the data and renders the content to send to Google’s index servers. From there, Google organizes the data by context and enters it into a base of algorithms that make up the search engine.

Beyond the boundaries of Google-able content is every bit of information you can think of.

Multi color index folders with alphabets.

Google’s index has information about hundreds of billions of web pages. It’s size is over 100,000,000 gigabytes. Source

It contains a wide range of information and data, from the inner-dashboard of your bank account after you log in to private, password-protected websites to unlisted articles and videos that might be censored or blocked in certain countries.

Below the “surface web,” there are treasure troves of possibilities. You just have to know how to find them.

The Dark Web Vs. The Deep Web

deep web vs dark web banner.

Confusion about deep web and dark web is rampant. Even big publications get it wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, the deep web and the dark web are actually two separate definitions.

The media and, frankly, much of the public that’s unacquainted with the dark web, tend to use these two concepts interchangeably. People often take one to be the synonym for the other and vice versa.

This is a common mistake for those who aren’t familiar with the subject. But, the difference between the dark web and the deep web is quite stark. The two are made up of and defined by, conflicting constructs. As such, the difference is worth clarifying.

Info graphic clarifies the concept of internet, surface web, deep web and dark web with examples and the metaphor of an ice berg.
Infographic clarifies the concept of the internet, surface web, deep web and dark web with examples and the metaphor of an iceberg.

The contrast between the deep web and the dark web is often visually described by comparing it to an iceberg. Imagine, for yourself, an iceberg:

Surface Web

Above water is all content average internet users peruse on a daily basis. This is your Facebook.com, reddit.com, your justice.gov, your harvard.edu.

Deep Web

Right below the surface of where the iceberg meets underwater is the deep web.

It’s comprised of the same general hostnames as sites on the surface web, but along with the extension of those domains.

This is the specific URL of your Facebook Messenger thread with a friend, or the Department of Justice’s public archival material, or Harvard’s internal communications system. The deep web is the majority of the internet as a whole.

Dark Web

The dwindling portion at the very bottom of the iceberg is a subset of the deep web that’s only accessible through software that guards anonymity.

Because of this, the dark web is home to entities that don’t want to be found.

To expand on that visual, it’s necessary to explain that the dark web contains URLs that end in .onion rather than .com, .gov or .edu.

The network that these .onion URLs reside on cannot be accessed with the same browser you use to access your Facebook messages, the justice department’s archive or your Harvard email account. You can use a simple Chrome or Safari to access these.

The dark web requires a specific software program (the Tor browser) to do the trick, and it offers you a special layer of anonymity that the surface web and the deep web cannot.

As such, the dark web is a place for people and activities who don’t want to be found through standard means.

It’s complete with illegal trade markets and forums, hacking communities, private communications between journalists and whistleblowers, and more.

How to Access the Deep Web

bearded man with glasses typing on computer keyboard. computer screen shows login formAccessing the deep web is not done through direct means since the information stored within it exists in databases, making it impossible for conventional search engines to obtain the data by just searching for it.

Search engines like Google only organize and index data which is available on the surface of the internet since in most cases, the URL is fixed, subject to get picked up by Google’s crawler bot, or there are no special permissions required to view the web pages.

When crawling and indexing pages, Google’s bot system prefers URLs that follow a simple directory structure; that is, a site’s main content should not be more than two subdirectory levels below the main domain of the site.

One way to visualize this concept is comparing it to a file-storing folder hierarchy—you don’t want to organize your desktop files in a way that would be too complicated with multiple routes and directions; that will completely defeat the purpose. The same idea applies here.

In the case where passwords are needed, standard browsers cannot bypass this stage since the information contained is highly confidential and so is the need to protect it.

Due to the sheer size of the deep web and the depth of the information it contains, there’s no real clear-cut way to access it.

There are different methods by which you access your email address, social media accounts or online portals, depending on the links you click in the process, the redirects you encounter, the content you enter, etc.

The information stored on the deep web is immense. And it’s most publicly accessible.

As mentioned earlier, below the deep web is the dark web which can only be accessed by the Tor browser.

A strict set of guidelines ought to be followed to ensure your activities on the dark web remain anonymous since Tor usage is often subject to monitoring by authorities and also occasionally has vulnerabilities that can leak your real IP address.

For more information about how to properly get into and use the dark web, check out a comprehensive guide on our Access Dark Web page.

What Can be Found on the Hidden Web?

The data found on the deep web includes, but certainly is not limited to…

  1. Multi-URL mega-databases that are too large for search engines to index properly. Here’s a helpful list based on category.
  2. Records, certificates, name directories, library indexes, etc.
  3. Password-protected and members-only websites.
  4. Timed access pages. This could include the internal webpage for a test you’re taking for an online course.
  5. Digital media content that’s blocked under a paywall. News organizations use this as part of their revenue model to encourage readers/viewers to subscribe and pay for journalistic reporting.
  6. The back-end dashboard of any sort of individual account, whether it be banking, social platforms, email services, etc. This is only available after an account is logged into and accessed. Then, the URL changes to a private address accordingly.
  7. Two-party user-to-user communications or threads on social media, chat services, messaging platforms, etc. The same rule for #4 applies here.

 

The deep web is extremely useful for communicating under encryption. These users include anyone who needs protection from overseeing powers.

Below are some of the main groups that benefit from the deep web’s encrypted communication capabilities.

1. Whistleblowers and journalists

protesters in front of whitehouse holding pictures of edward snowden
Edward Snowden is the most well know whistleblower in recent times.

Intelligence contractors, government or corporate employees, average citizens, ex-spies, members of the military…these are all demographics that have in the past opened up to journalists about corruption in their fields.

Under the mask of anonymity, they can communicate classified information to journalists to expose the wrongdoings.

Prolific whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning used this route to share classified documents.

2. Free speech and anti-censorship advocates, and political protesters.

man's face with a tape on lipsAnyone that seeks to evade government surveillance (which, in many cases, could later used to oppress free speech) finds the dark web a good place to communicate anonymously.

3. Citizens in oppressive regimes who need access to news and information they can’t get in their country.

office table with a tea cup, pencil on a notebook and a main typing on a laptop. Laptop screen shows the word censoredThe deep web also comprises of websites and services that are specifically gathered under the dark web category. This means they are only accessible through Tor and they always end in .onion URLs.

Dark Web Markets

The dark web is host to hundreds of underground markets that sell all kinds of illicit products and services, including…

1. Drugs

drug addictDark web markets sell every pharmaceutical product you can think of, from heroin to mushrooms to LSD. Most markets also sell legal prescription drugs, ranging from ADHD medications to testosterone pills to even Prozac.

2. Stolen information

a man stealing credit card from a person's back pocket.Stolen credit and debit card details, social security numbers, and other such information obtained through identity theft are often found on the dark web.

3. Malware, ransomware and hacking services

a person paying bag of money to another person who has paper in his hand.Hackers, phishing experts, and ransomware and malware developers regularly advertise their services on the dark web.

Cyber attacks are on the rise over the last few years precisely because the act of spreading ransomware is a lucrative practice for anyone who wants to make money by holding data for ransom. There’s also a recent spike in adware campaigns.

These products and services are often originally sourced from the dark web. Ransomware sales on darknet markets saw an uptick of 2,502 percent in 2017 alone.

4. Weapons

5 dollar note , a hand gun and some bullets on a tableFirearms, knives, and even grenades and bomb equipment can be found on dark web markets.

5. Hitman-for-hire services

a man in black suite with a hand gun standing on a road.This particular dark web market category entered into mainstream awareness after Ross Ulbricht, founder of the infamous darknet market Silk Road, was arrested and eventually sentenced to life imprisonment under charges relating to drugs, hacking, money laundering and procuring murder; the latter charge was particularly influential in persuading the jury to convict Ulbricht of other charges in addition to hiring a hitman to murder someone.

It’s also what gained the story international public attention among people unfamiliar with the idea of darknet markets.

There are several known markets that deal explicitly in the contracted assassin field like Hitman Network, for example.

Although, it is worth noting that scammers will often use this “industry” to lure in potentially vulnerable victims and run off with their money without getting the job done.

Child pornography

Unfortunately, the cloak of anonymity brought by the Tor network also brings in rather a heavy share of pedophiles and predators—over 80 percent, one study found.

Some darknet platforms allow users to disseminate pornographic images and videos of children, and some platforms even provide the means for users to arrange meetings with their victims.

International law enforcement has busted several such platforms within the last few years, arresting thousands of child abusers and human traffickers in the process. The number of users behind these sites are staggering.

One that was busted by German law enforcement earlier this year, was Elysium, which managed to reel in more than 87,000 users worldwide.

In 2014, the FBI cracked down on Playpen, another child pornography site with 150,000 users.

The FBI apprehended its creator and lead administrator and proceeded to operate the site to gather information on its users.

An investigation followed that led to more than 800 U.S. and abroad arrests, and more than 300 children being identified or rescued internationally.

Torrented content

Unreleased games, movies and television shows galore are easy to come by on the dark web. More sites are moving to the dark web in order to evade the increasing threat of legal action over censorship or copyright charges.

Leaked data dumps

This is a hot category, at least dominating all headlines for months after a major leak. There have been dozens of interesting leaks in the last five years. Here is a comprehensive and visually-compelling chart of them all. Just a couple of the most notorious leaks include…

Adult Friend Finder

The Adult Friend Finder breaches in 2015 and 2016 which collectively exposed the sexual preference data, emails, usernames, IP addresses and login history of more than 303 million users of the hookup network.

Ashley Madison

An online dating service that markets itself to people who want to cheat on their spouses was hacked in July 2015.

After some months of hesitation, the hacked data of around 32 million Ashley Madison users was ultimately released by the enigmatic hacking group The Impact Team.

The leak included names, phone numbers, addresses, member profiles, as well as credit card details and records.

The Ashley Madison leak was followed by an exhaustive extortion campaign in which many victims of the breach were tricked into paying scammers cash in exchange for secrets that would supposedly damage their reputation.

There’s an excellent TV documentary that chronicles how the Ashley Madison hack unfolded, also detailing the subsequent scandals that blew up afterwards.

WikiLeaks

Ever since the site was created in 2006 by computer programmer and activist Julian Assange, WikiLeaks data dumps have received massive public attention from around the world. It’s worth a whole section but in the interest of clarity, here’s a snapshot of what the whistleblowing website covers, plus examples in each category.

Facts & Tidbits About the Deep Web

1. It enhances privacy to a great extent.

main looking a computer screenEncryption is precisely the main function of the deep web. It is what defines it, and it is what keeps it alive.

Because of the solid layer of encryption offered by the deep web, it is regularly utilized by individuals and groups that are vulnerable to surveillance, hacks or other parties interested in compromising their security.

This demographic encompasses people such as journalists, whistleblowers, citizens living under oppressive regimes riddled with censorship, and even people who are in unsafe and abusive relationships who need a way to communicate safely with others.

The Chinese government has notoriously excessive censorship standards. So notorious, in fact, that the rest of the world has taglined the nickname, The Great Firewall of China.

By utilizing the deep web’s encryption along with a private network or proxy, Chinese citizens can bypass the firewall to access whatever content they desire.

2. The Tor Onion Router was created by the government.

Interestingly, the first individuals to think up a way to bypass the portal into endless possibility was the United States government.

In the 1990s, a team of Navy mathematicians crafted the Tor Onion Router technology to allow military units and government agencies to communicate classified material over an encrypted network.

This is the basis for the dark web we know today

3. It comprises most of the internet.

Most estimates say the deep web is made up of approximately 96 percent of the internet. The smaller 4 percent is indexed by search engines like Google and Bing.

Common Misconceptions About the Deep Web

1. The deep web and the dark web are the same.

As is explained above, the deep web and the dark web are entirely different, and they both require special addresses to access the content found in each case.

The deep web can be accessed by a protocol that uses non-indexed web links, rather than pages you can easily find through a Google Search.

By contrast, the dark web is accessed using the Tor browser. Links there operate under a .onion domain.

2. It is only a source of illegal goods and services.

The deep web does not entirely deal with illegal goods and services. Because most of the content on the deep web is mostly publically accessible with backends, indexes, and data, it doesn’t necessarily draw illegal acts. The dark web, however, is more of a haven for criminals.

3. It is an anonymous platform.

Just because the deep web is encrypted does not mean it’s anonymous. It’s entirely probable for users’ IP addresses and locations to be leaked.

The best mindset to have is to assume that your information inevitably will be leaked (even if the chance is low).

You’re best protected using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on the deep web if you’re doing anything that’s subject to any scrutiny, regardless of whether or not it’s legal. This is just a smart security enhancement measure.

On the dark web, in particular, you should use a combination of Tor (to access .onion sites) and VPN (to protect your anonymity and make your IP address near-untraceable).

4. It’s completely secure.

Similar to point #3, it’s important to assert that just because the deep web is encrypted does not mean it’s secure.

A good “What Not to Do” case that’s explicitly applied to the dark web can be made using Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht as an example.

The founder of the notorious darknet drug trade site made a series of careless actions that eventually led the FBI to his identity and location.

That said, people can also be smart about running a darknet market without getting caught. It takes thinking ahead of law enforcement.

Dangers of the Deep Web

1. Hackers.

7 hackers in two rowsHackers are ever at bay wandering around on the deep and dark web, and they will seize the opportunity to take advantage of an existing situation.

What’s more is that those who need some valuable information from a particular entity will hire them to undertake various operations, such as obtain confidential data or compromise a certain system to give desired results.

Various confirmed reports of data breaches and loss of funds due to hacking have been reported in the recent past. And the number of cases in which hacks occur is ever-increasing.

2. Getting caught for doing something illegal.

main sitting while raising hands.Hundreds of people have been caught and arrested by law enforcement for undertaking illegal operations on the deep and dark web.

Sometimes, these people were, in fact, innocent; the government has a track record for making examples out of people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time—trying to send a message that they’re serious about crackdowns.

One such case involved Barrett Brown, a journalist, activist and sort of press office for the prolific hacktivism group, Anonymous.

Inside a thread in Project PM, the online investigative community he founded, Brown stumbled across a zipped file containing Stratfor data.

This was part of the infamous Stratfor email hack of 2012, which leaked the global intelligence firm’s internal communications and client records to WikiLeaks who published it as part of its Global Intelligence Files (GiFiles) leak.

Brown copied and pasted that link of hacked data onto another forum so he and his team could discuss its contents for a larger investigation about the intelligence agency.

That’s all he did…copy and paste. Later, the feds arrested Brown and charged him with possessing stolen content.

Several other factors could expose your identity while on the deep web, such as using your real name and email to post on forums. These tend to give third parties a clue of who you are.

For this reason, people can expose their identity without you even knowing it.

This would give investigators enough time to monitor their activities and gather sufficient evidence to incriminate them after an arrest.

3. Spying by ISPs and the government.

three suited bodies with cameras as their headFor a fact, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can watch over every single detail their customers are doing on the internet since they are offering the service and have access to their systems’ databases.

On the other hand, governments possess the heavily-funded infrastructure and tools they use to spy on their targets, many of whom are average everyday citizens. WikiLeaks has extensively compiled leaked secrets about this deceptive practice.

Some of the leaks have revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spies on its targets by installing Trojans and malware that undertake various types of operations.

The WikiLeaks “Vault 7” dossier mentions how the CIA has developed tools for each device that can access the internet and, as such, one can be monitored without knowing.

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks also found that the CIA spies on its intergovernmental counterparts, mainly the National security Agency (NSA).

Some countries have strict guidelines that govern citizens’ use of and behavior on the internet.

Many of these policies also extend to the hidden web, assuming users will ultimately get caught evading the surface web. And as such, those found violating the laws are subjected to penalties that include fines or jail sentences.

With an increased level of cybercrime, then such measures ought to be in place to ensure that no one suffers at the expense of others.

Deep Web Anonymity: What Is It & How to Achieve It

Staying anonymous is imperative on the hidden web. Seeing as how anonymity is one of its primary functions, why wouldn’t you want to do the best you can to achieve it?

Here are the main programs you should download and guidelines you should follow to stay anonymous on the deep and dark web:

1. Tor (The Onion Router)

Tor has its origins in the United States Naval Research Laboratory, where it was created by a team of mathematicians in the late 1990s to give the government an extra layer of encryption in communicating sensitive messages.

Its main application was to protect intergovernmental communications and intelligence information from being intercepted by foreign entities.

Today, the browser is part of a larger open-source initiative called The Tor Project, which is, in part, funded by the U.S. Department of Defence.

It is tasked with creating a series of programs to access and improve functions of The Onion Router (Tor) network, which is what the Tor browser operates through.

The Onion Router network is an extremely unique technical invention. It is filled with websites that end with a .onion domain, contrary to the commonplace domain suffixes found on the surface web such as .com, .org, .edu, and countless others.

The Tor browser can be used to access the surface web, the deep web and the dark web. And it’s easy to use since its interface and intuitiveness is nearly identical to that of surface web-only browser Mozilla Firefox as the front end is  clone of it.

But when you look under the hood of how The Tor Browser actually works, its inner functions are completely different.

When you use the Tor browser, your connection bumps off a set of relays run by volunteers from around the world on a distributed network that extends from one end node to the other. The distributed nature of the network is precisely what allows for the Tor browser to protect your anonymity.

It attempts to prevent your location and browsing habits from being picked up by the sites you visit and communicate with.

So, The Tor Browser has the ability to protect your anonymity in a superficial sense (provided you don’t register accounts on dark web sites with your real name and sensitive information). But just because the Tor network is mostly anonymous does not mean it’s secure.

However, when using the browser, a few measures ought to be taken to ensure that your IP address is not leaked.

Among them is to make sure that all other applications are closed and to keep the Tor browser to its default size.

Other guidelines ought to be followed to ensure that your privacy and security is safeguarded while you’re browsing through the dark web in particular.

These guidelines involve using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will give you an extra boost in security as you navigate the dark web and also give you a fail safe from Tor vulnerabilities such as when it leaks your real IP, as it has before.

2. Virtual Private Networks

how vpn worksTo further protect yourself on the deep web, one should ensure that your Virtual Private Network is turned on even before launching the Tor browser since it hides the actual location of an individual by changing their IP address (which is usually used to track the location of a person) to a random location on the globe.

For example, if you’re in Phoenix, Arizona and you want to browse the internet freely (be it the surface web, dark web or the deep web), you can do so by installing a trusty VPN and running it while you’re online.

The VPN will mask your real IP address (where you are, in Phoenix), and make it so your IP address appears to be registered to a different, random location anywhere in the world.

This way, anyone who wants to find out your IP address will not be able to do so—your IP address will appear to be registered in another location, like Mexico City or Copenhagen or Toronto, and so on.

Furthermore, a VPN will encrypt all of your information, sent and received, over the internet or dark web. This means that if someone could intercept it, then they can not tell what you are doing anyway.

3. Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) Encryption

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is a communication system in which Important messages are encrypted using the receiver’s PGP encryption code.

When the message is sent, the public key of the receiver is used, and then the receiver uses their private key to decrypt the message.

The practice is used in darknet markets where vendors and sellers use the encryption method to protect the confidentiality of information they send between each other.

The average internet user may also find PGP useful for communicating online, as the reality of government surveillance continues to loom over citizens’ everyday lives.

On a broader level, PGP is used in instances where sensitive material is being exchanged between two parties.

This includes conversations about classified material between journalists and whistleblowers, as well as intergovernmental communications between federal entities.

Dark Web News has published a comprehensive guide here that outlines the importance of PGP and walks readers through the process of setting one up.

4. Anonymous Email

Just as the name suggests, anonymous email offers an individual increased online privacy to a great extent.

Regardless of what activities a person is pursuing on the deep web, they are always recommended to use an anonymous email in doing so. That is, they should not use their real email address, as it could easily disclose their identity by revealing their name.

When creating the email account, one should ensure that the username does not resemble their actual name so as to avoid being subject to government surveillance, fraud, scams, phishing attempts and other security issues.

There are a number of anonymous email services—most notably, HideMyAssTorGuard and Guerrilla Mail—you can try out if you’d like. A full guide on this topic has been made available by Dark Web News here.

5. Passwords and usernames

keyboard,notebook and a green highlighterAmong the blunders that disclosed the real identity and ultimate arrest of former Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht (alias “Dread Pirate Roberts”) was that he used his real name and email address to post to public forums about his activities on the dark web.

After this, it was easy for the feds to track him down and arrest him.

This shows the importance of using an anonymous username to undertake activities on the deep web.

The use of strong passwords is essential as well, as it ensures the account is not easily compromised by not only hackers, but also close associates. Strong passwords based on a given website will vary by meeting a specific criterion.

But for starters, a secure password should comprise of at least eight characters, have words that are not found in the English dictionary, consist of at least one uppercase letter, one number and special characters.

The general rule of thumb is: the more complex the password, the more secure the account. A simple password manager program can help with this.

When it comes to the username, it remains the responsibility of an individual to ensure that it is not similar to their actual name just as in the case of anonymous email handles.

6. Blocking the Webcam

thumb putting a black patch on laptop webcamHackers are ever at bay and they’re always ready to capitalize on any vulnerability within a given system so that they can break into it.

One lucrative form of ransomware attack is to take advantage of a computer’s vulnerability to install spyware that can take photos and videos via the webcam, only to send the data directly to the hacker in real time.

They can then demand a ransom from you and, depending on the nature of the photos/videos they capture with the webcam, chances are you’d be even more incentivized to pay up the ransom.

An easy fix to this is simply taping over your webcam or covering it in some way so hackers won’t be able to collect visual records of your everyday life if your computer is compromised

This is a frightening, but plausible possibility. It’s no wonder why the CEO of Facebook has taped his webcam.

Deep Web Browsing Tips

There are many factors that compromise the online safety and security of a user while on the deep web, despite the fact that you can just use a regular browser to access it.

The average Joe will probably leave more traces that reveal their identity as compared to an expert who has been operating on the hidden web for quite some time.

You’ll get the hang of it once you’ve had some time to get used to the deep web, but below are just a few best practices to keep in mind for your safety.

(Note that all of these tips apply to both the dark web and the deep web. The only difference is that you cannot access the dark web without using the Tor browser, as you will not be able to reach .onion links on a regular browser.)

  • Practice safe clicking

man clicking on a mouseAvoid all malicious links that aren’t sourced from a trusted website or user.

If you’re browsing the dark web in particular, you should always ALWAYS double check and even triple check to make sure you’re using the current.onion URL for whatever site you intend to visit.

Dark web links are constantly susceptible to change, so it’s best you check with a reputable source to make sure the link is verified.

  • Watch what you download

Don’t download applications, .pdf’s, or anything from untrusted sources or websites. It’s as simple as that.

  • Get an up-to-date antivirus program

hand on the keyboard of laptopThe devices used to access the hidden web should be clean and have an up-to-date antivirus that ensures their computer is not contaminated.

Hackers will often infiltrate a device by installing spyware on the browsers the victims are using. By doing so, information about the user’s activities is sent to the spyware developer in real-time.

  • Connect to trusted networks.

hands coming out of two monitors on the opposite to each otherLast but not least, don’t ever connect to unsecure or unknown networks. This includes the Wi-Fi at your friendly cyber cafe or coffee shop. Sometimes it’s best to just use a network you trust.

The dark and deep web are filled with the interesting content of all different categories. Dark web links are followed by a .onion parameter, and deep web links could contain any other domain.

Here are tables containing the top 10 most popular sites on both the dark and deep web, along with corresponding links.

[Table Coming Soon]

Dark Web News has compiled the biggest source of deep web links and screenshots online, and it’s continuously growing.

Deep Web Screenshots

Real-time or recent screen captures of live deep websites are incredibly useful for anyone who’s thinking about exploring on the deep web.

Screenshots give you a chance to take a peek into the website and its potential offerings without having to visit it yet.

Once you’ve decided it’s worth the dive, you can enter the site at the correct link associated with the screenshot.

Dark Web News has the largest selection of screenshots on the surface web.

If you head over to this page, then you can click on the eye symbol for any record in the table to view the screenshot of the site.

Deep Web Search Engines & Tools

The deep web does not have Google because of its prime characteristic of having data that is not indexed. This might sound like a disadvantage given the fact that Google has spoiled us all with easy and quick search returns.

But it’s imperative to remember that the entire purpose of the deep web is that it’s an open source of information that anyone is welcome to take stock in, and it has much MUCH more to offer than any Google search.

You just have to know how to harness the deep web to your advantage.

There are some search engines made for use in the dark web, and one of them is GRAMs, which happens to be the very first search engine of its kind to be developed to browse through the Tor network.

Due to the rising number of darknet markets, the developers saw the need to create a search engine that is convenient for dark web users.

It enables them to search the Tor network for markets, and it also provides guides for purchases and sales.

Some other alternative search engines and tools for finding and consuming content on the deep and dark web include:

  • DuckDuckGo: This is an anonymous search engine that keeps no logs of users’ browsing behaviors, search results, history, cookies, etc. It’s mainly used for browsing the surface web in a more anonymous way, but it picks up deep web links too.
  • Torch (xmh57jrzrnw6insl.onion): With over 10 million users and years of positive reputation-building under its belt, Torch has gained notoriety among the deep and dark web communities for delivering high quality search services of the hidden internet. It’s based on the Chromium suite and is compatible with Chrome extensions and add-ons.
  • Uncensored Hidden Wiki (zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion/wiki/index.php/Main_Page): The oldest and truest form of dark web search mastery is the Hidden Wiki. It is a repository for links to all sorts of websites on the darknet, from drug markets to fanbases to uncensored news publications to even some darker content having to do with human trafficking and abuse. That’s why you should be careful what you click on when you scroll through the Hidden Wiki; it certainly doesn’t discriminate on what graphic content is on the list.
  • The WWW Virtual Library is the oldest and most vast catalog of internet websites of all time. It was created at the European Organization for Nuclear Research by the founder of the World Wide Web and HTML himself, Tim Berners-Lee. The database has educational and encyclopedic references on virtually any topic thinkable.
  • This list has some additional search engines you can try out based on your needs.
  • Ichidian: A launched recently search engine helps users access dark web URLs in a faster and easier manner than others. It’s new, so it may take some time to adjust to its new user base.
  • notEvil (hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion): This is also an in-depth list of deep and dark web links. notEvil has been around for some time, and is widely known among the community as a good source for links.

Deep Web Reddit Resources

reddit logoReddit is a major source of information about deep web topics. Subreddit forums offer deep web users the opportunity to freely express themselves on various issues, obtaining first-hand information on anything that concerns the deep and dark web.

However, since the main function of Reddit is to be a tool for expressing uncensored views and opinions, deep/dark web forums on Reddit have indeed landed people into trouble with law enforcement since some tend to overshare and use their real names to post comments about their practices.

Users in dark/deep web subreddit communities can sometimes be at odds with each other. If you’re just an average onlooker, you’ll find the whole culture behind this scene incredibly fascinating to watch.

Users are downright combative with one another on a regular basis; sometimes comedically so. But that’s the way of life within this niche. Trolling is not only tolerated, it’s accepted.

Hackers will often openly brag about their exploits and taunt others for not being able to meet the challenge due to their “lower” skill sets.

As a result, angry fellow commenters may be motivated to dox that user. This happened recently with a user named PhishKingz, a phishing guru of sorts who has been behind some of the dark web’s notable phishing campaigns.

Many of those who engage in fraud and illegal activities end up exposing their identity to some extent.

Additionally, some darknet market users, admins, vendors and buyers tend to end up getting caught for accidentally exposing their identity.

And as a result, investigative bodies and law enforcement agencies monitor the subreddit forums for any leads of persons that may be engaging in criminal actives.

Consequently, this has over time led to the rest of quite a number of people.

For this reason, those posting on Reddit should ensure that they have turned on their VPN before logging into their account (creates with an anonymous email) and posting.

Failure to do so could lead to the actual IP address of the user getting exposed, making it easier to get traced.

Other measures include use of fake email addresses for making Reddit accounts, as well as fake usernames. The username should no way resemble the actual name or identity of the person.

Below are some of the subreddit forums that relate to the deep web:

Deep Web

https://www.reddit.com/r/deepweb shares verifiable tools, resources and general information that deep web users find interesting and helpful.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DeepWebTopics is a topical discussion board where users posts, stories, questions, observations and comments about things they’ve seen or want to see on the deep web.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DeepWebIntel is a general forum for deep web users to communicate, created by a user of the same name.

https://www.reddit.com/r/onions is more dark web-related, but it’s a helpful source for finding out more about what the darknet has to offer.

https://www.reddit.com/r/deepwebexperiences is a spot where people can share some of the interesting things they’ve seen on the deep web.

https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiLeakshttps://www.reddit.com/r/WikiLeaksDiscussions (invite-only) and https://www.reddit.com/r/WikileaksTaskForce are all dedicated to free and open conversation around WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and whistleblowing in general.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DeepWebMysteries/ is a community of citizen investigators who look for hidden meanings and patterns in deep web sites. It’s invite-only, so you have to message the moderators to get access to the subreddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/deepwebpics is exactly what it sounds like—a bunch of screenshots from deep web sites, or screenshots depicting content that’s related to the deep web in some way.

Carding

https://www.reddit.com/r/BankMoney is where users post questions and answers related to anything and everything fraud and carding-related.

https://www.reddit.com/r/carding is a carding forum community that’s private and requires an invite link.

https://www.reddit.com/r/cardingfraud shares ways to make a long-term profit by carding; it’s also private and requests an invite link.

Dark Net Markets

https://www.reddit.com/r/DarkNetMarkets2 is definitively the most widely used subreddit for dark web market vendors, buyers, admins, observers and browsers to communicate and swap tips and information about the associated darknet market brands.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DNMAvengers compiles an index of tested products from confirmed darknet market buyers, in a bid to add more accountability to the scene; the subreddit is currently under construction, but it’s still accepting new submissions.

Hacking

https://www.reddit.com/r/hacking is a subreddit for anyone in the hacking community, whether it be full-time hackers, curious users who want to tip their toes into the vice, or onlookers who simply enjoy reading countless threads of hacker culture on Reddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Hacking_Tutorials is a peer-to-peer educational subreddit for methods, tools, resources and tips hackers can use to carry out their activities.

https://www.reddit.com/r/hackingwithswift is a place where iOS and Swift developers and hackers can post questions/answers, swap comments and suggestions, and share cool projects with one another.

Deep Web Horror Stories

The number of creepy stories about the invisible web as of now is endless. And what’s more is that these numbers grow day by day.

Red Rooms

As its name suggests, “Red Rooms” are places where people are brutally slaughtered on camera for anyone inside the chat room to watch from home.

Due to the fact that most witnesses of this phenomena only have their experience and memory to use as evidence, there have been several rumors that Red Rooms are actually a hoax.

Observers have claimed that the sites will offer a “Pay Per View” button where users provide payment in Bitcoins to gain access to watch the content.

If Red Rooms are to be believed as true, they’d be best described as live-streamed snuff films, formatted for the Internet Age. Or,  they could very well be just a twisted scam.

Human Experiments

As scary as it sounds, this is indeed something that occurs in the dark web.

There is an enigmatic site called The Human Experiment, run by a group that abducts human beings and performs a whole host of experiments on them just for fun.

The acts performed on humans include starvation, radiation exposure, injecting chemicals into the body, among many others.

Sexual Content

Some of the content found on the deep web is highly explicit, and the scenes are not worth exploring especially for the faint-hearted.

Abductions and kidnapping for sexual purposes have been long documented on various dark websites.

There have been numerous accounts and stories of innocent wanderers of the dark web (usually newbies to the scene) who accidentally stumble upon this type of content. As a result, they've emotionally scarred for a long while afterward, or even indefinitely.

The dark web often hosts to content that depicts humans performing acts of bestiality on animals and engaging minors in sexual acts.

The price for these videos or photos depends on the site but on some occasions, the content is available to download for free.

Viewing this type of content is illegal in almost all countries and Dark Web News do not condone it at all. We are just reporting on what is actually found here.

Summoning Demons

Very crazy, right? But it is indeed a vice that many are performing.

These sites are formed by members of cults who engage each other by showing bizarre rituals, such as eating human flesh and drinking human blood in the act of offering sacrifices.

Creepy Games

There are some seriously dark games that are floating around the dark web right now.

One such example is the Blue Whale Suicide Challenge, which is loosely linked to around 130 deaths of teenagers throughout Russia as of September 2017 (because of ongoing investigations, that link has yet to be proven definitively).

The games starts off by trying to get the player addicted to it over a time period of 50 days by rewarding them for completing challenges that range in severity, from watching scary movies to physically hurting themselves.

The more the user plays the game and goes through more advanced levels, the more challenges they’re required to solve. At the end, the game tasks them with committing suicide.

Deep Web Torrent Sites

Perhaps it goes without saying, but extreme caution is absolutely required when undertaking any sort of torrenting activity.

Torrenting on the surface web can be dangerous, as your IP address and browsing history are readily made available to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Entertainment producers are incredibly touchy about their copyrighted content so, to avoid legal action, it’s best to use torrent sites under the cloak of anonymity on the deep web—using the Tor browser or I2P, another network that serves to protect users’ privacy.

(Here’s a plug to Dark Web News’ in-depth Tor guide, which can help get you started.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most reliable torrenting platforms, and their corresponding links:

The Pirate Bay — uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion

TPB is one of the most popular and all-inclusive torrent platforms that’s dominated the scene since its start in 2003. The surface web site is periodically subject to domain seizures, but the Tor version has remained intact.

Solarmovie — solarmovie6rystf.onion

As its name states, Solarmovie is a searchable database of movies. It covers pretty much every genre you can think of.

Demonoid — demonhkzoijsvvui.onion:8080

This is a longstanding BitTorrent-enabled discussion forum that facilitates peer-to-peer file sharing. The surface web address is: Demonoid.pw.

BTDB

Standing for BitTorrent Database, BTDB is a search engine for searching nodes that distribute torrent files via the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol. There doesn’t appear to be a .onion link for this one, but it’s accessible via the surface web here.

Wrap Up

The deep web is a fascinating place to be for any internet denizen. It’s a rabbit hole of internet wonder, offering all sorts of knowledge, records, data and content a person could spend days sifting through.

It may take a few steps to navigate your way through the various links and virtual pathways to find the insights you’re looking for, but that’s all part of the fun.

The deep web is beckoning your entrance. And if you’re up for the task, you might find the answers you’ve been looking for within its depths.

Categorized in Deep Web

Source: This article was published bizfluent.com By Rick Suttle - Contributed by Member: Edna Thomas

Companies conduct business research for a number of reasons, including gathering crucial information on consumers and business clients. However, companies must make sure they use the correct methods for collecting customer information. Most company market researchers use phone surveys when they want to get reliable information quickly. However, companies must make sure they complete enough surveys so the results can best represent opinions of the entire demographic.

Testing New Products

Business research tests the potential success of new products. Companies must know what types of products and services customers want before they market them. For example, a restaurant chain may initially interview focus groups to test a half dozen types of fish meals. The focus groups will likely consist of small groups of customers. The objective of the focus group may be to determine which fish meal customers like the best. The company may even use customer input in naming the entree and ask how much consumers would spend for the meal. Eventually, the company may test the fish meal through surveys with larger groups of people.

Ensuring Adequate Distribution

Companies may also use business research to ensure the adequate distribution of their products. For example, a telephone directory publisher may conduct a distribution followup study to make sure phone directories have been delivered to all residential customers. Publishers of telephone directories base their advertising rates on distribution. Therefore, ensuring that all residences receive phone books is crucial to the success of the publisher's business clients. Similarly, a consumer products company may want to talk to retailers about all the different brands they sell. The results of the business research will help marketing managers determine where they need to increase their product distribution.

Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

Companies use business research to determine the success of their advertising. For example, a milk manufacturer may want to know what percentage of the population saw its most recent television commercial. The milk company may find that more people become aware of its advertising the longer the television ad runs. The milk company may need to run its television advertisements at different times if few people have seen the commercials. Companies also use business research to see if consumers recall the message or slogan of their commercials.

Studying the Competition

Companies often use business research to study key competitors in their markets. Companies will often start with secondary research information or information that is already available. For example, a software company may want to know the percentage of customers in the market who purchase its products versus competitors' products. The researchers can then study the purchasing trends in the industry, striving to increase their company's share of the market. Companies will often need to increase their market share in an industry to increase sales and profits.

Categorized in Business Research

Cybersecurity Expert. Trusted advisor to board members and stakeholders, to define strategies for managing cybersecurity risks.

The development of the cyber environment is articulated through new digital scenarios -- from the technological development of smartphone apps to the Internet of Things, from the sharing economy to social networks -- the circulation of personal data has expanded extensively and rapidly. In particular, I recognize a slow but decisive transition from a material, utilitarian and free sharing typical of the sharing economy, for which self-regulation was sufficient, to today's atmosphere of social sharing. If the services of the sharing economy technologies seemed to put the privacy of users at risk, the new system seems to be even more saturated with issues. In fact, the social sharing of photographs, thoughts, and confidential information risks endangering the privacy of internet users and, considering that much of this personal data is also transported overseas where the discipline and the protection provided is profoundly different, the question becomes extremely complex.

This shift is characterized by the diffusion and horizontal expansion of increasingly sophisticated and integrated social engineering methods and techniques, and through the release and sharing of technologically persuasive applications. These scenarios are found in the profile of cyber attacks and are significant characterizations in terms of behavioral matrixes and operational creativity.

Inevitably, the concepts of knowledge and information management have been redefined and are now almost completely digitalized, with significant relapses in terms of security. In today's cyber scenario, a new multidimensional concept of security has emerged, deriving from the interpenetration of the paradigms of social change and digital-media convergence -- both understood as multipliers of instances coming in particular from the underground. This underground becomes ever more reticular, competent and cohesive, from a digital point of view, until it's the "cartilage" of the system exoskeleton, not only in infrastructural terms but also in terms of cultural identity.

As a result, open society, right-to-know and digital info sharing become the pillars of contemporary democratic architecture. It is necessary to explore cyberspace in a deep and scientific way -- to understand it as a human space, one which needs to be identified and analyzed dynamically, with scientific rigor, avoiding any reductionist simplicity dictated by the fashions of the moment. The specificities and the socio-cultural differences between activism and hacktivism are also worth examining in the transition process toward fully digital models of politics and diplomacy.

As an example, Bitcoin should not be considered mere virtual currency, but also as an instrument, product, and modality of self-construction. It's an identity-based dissemination of digital exchange communities and an interactive process through which all the subjects involved create information, innovation, and resources.

It is essential to direct operational research into the elaboration and anticipation of scenarios that are no longer futuristic or even too far in the future -- ones in which we imagine the impact and dynamics of the cybercriminals who use distributed denial of service (DDoS) or botnet attacks. These attacks might be a self-legitimized form of cyber-protest or a revisitation, in a cyber environment, of protest sit-ins that animated most of the 20th century and which often caused paralysis not only of viability but also of the vital functions of important institutions.

The unknown journey that leads humanity toward post-globalization is strongly marked by some pieces of evidence including the conflicts arising from the frictions between the development of the metropolitan institutional environment and the organizational dynamics of transnational digital communities and the advent of new sexual-digital identities.

We are witnessing the progressive emergence of organized and globalized criminals, above all at the level of the media. These criminals are born from the necessity of evolution through the web, pre-existing local and internationalized structures, and by long processes of criminal hybridization. This hybridization has connected them through the web. This evolution requires a resetting of operational missions based on full integration between social sciences and computational technologies in order to uncover qualitative and quantitative strategies that can be used to attain a deep understanding of the organized and now digitized criminal complex.

The triangulation of big data, web intelligence, and information assurance turns out to be the key to managing the complexity and the centrality of information, which is now the regulating essence of every aspect of life. Today, it's important to focus not just on the internet of things but also on the sometimes obscure internet of thoughts, which requires equal amounts of analytical attention. This emphasizes that today cyber can no longer be considered an object external to mankind, and should instead be seen as pervasively connected to it. Therefore, in firmly considering cybersecurity as a dynamic process and not a static product, it is evident that it is not possible to guarantee the security of the globalized citizen in relation to the relationship between freedom and democracy, without using appropriate conceptual tools to understand and manage the complexity that turns out to be unquestionably human, cultural and social.

Source: This article was published on forbes.com By John Giordani

Categorized in Internet of Things
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