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Regardless of its predominantly negative connotations, an increasing number of people have started using the dark web to keep their online activity hidden.

According to PreciseSecurity.com research, North America is the most active region globally in this part of the internet. More than 30 percent of North Americans have used the deep web regularly during 2019.

The dark web represents a network of untraceable online activity and websites on the internet that cannot be found using search engines. Accessing them depends upon specific software, configurations, or authorization.

The 2019 survey showed that North America is the leading region in daily usage of the dark web. The statistics indicate that 26 percent of North Americans admitted using the dark web daily. Another 7 percent of them accessed the deep net at least once a week.

Latin Americans ranked second on this list, with 21 percent of respondents visiting the dark web every day and 13 percent weekly. With 17 percent of citizens utilizing it every day, Europe took third place on the global deep net usage list. Another 11 percent of Europeans admitted to doing so at least once a week.

The 2019 data showed online anonymity was by far the most common reason globally for accessing the Tor and the dark web. Nearly 40 percent of respondents used the deep net during the last year to stay anonymous. Another 26 percent of them claimed to use it to retrieve the usually unavailable content in their location. This reason is more ordinary in Middle Eastern, African, and BRICS countries. Other reasons include overcoming governmental censorships and protecting online privacy.

Nearly 25 percent of North Americans used the hidden web in 2019 to ensure their privacy from foreign governments. Another 38 percent of them named protecting the privacy from the internet companies as the leading reason for using the deep web.

The recent surveys revealed some interesting facts about the reasons why people don’t use technologies like Tor to access the dark web. Nearly 50 percent of respondents globally stated that it is because they don’t know how to, while 45 percent of them have no reason for doing so. One in ten citizens views these technologies as unreliable, and only 13 percent of them appear to be concerned about perceptions that it is used by criminals.

 [Source: This article was published in techdigest.tv - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Deep Web

"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes." So said the artist Banksy, but following the rush to put everything online, from relationship status to holiday destinations, is it really possible to be anonymous - even briefly - in the internet age?

That saying, a twist on Andy Warhol's famous "15 minutes of fame" line, has been interpreted to mean many things by fans and critics alike. But it highlights the real difficulty of keeping anything private in the 21st Century.

"Today, we have more digital devices than ever before and they have more sensors that capture more data about us," says Prof Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger of the Oxford Internet Institute.

And it matters. According to a survey from the recruitment firm Careerbuilder, in the US last year 70% of companies used social media to screen job candidates, and 48% checked the social media activity of current staff.

Also, financial institutions can check social media profiles when deciding whether to hand out loans.

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Meanwhile, companies create models of buying habits, political views and even use artificial intelligence to gauge future habits based on social media profiles.

One way to try to take control is to delete social media accounts, which some did after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when 87 million people had their Facebook data secretly harvested for political advertising purposes.

While deleting social media accounts may be the most obvious way to remove personal data, this will not have any impact on data held by other companies.

Fortunately, in some countries the law offers protection.

In the European Union the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) includes the "right to be forgotten" - an individual's right to have their personal data removed.

In the UK the that is policed by the Information Commissioner's Office. Last year it received 541 requests to have information removed from search engines, according to data shown to the BBC, up from 425 the year before, and 303 in 2016-17.

The actual figures may be higher as ICO says it often only becomes involved after an initial complaint made to the company that holds the information has been rejected.

But ICO's Suzanne Gordon says it is not clear-cut: "The GDPR has strengthened the rights of people to ask for an organisation to delete their personal data if they believe it is no longer necessary for it to be processed.

"However, this right is not absolute and in some cases must be balanced against other competing rights and interests, for example, freedom of expression."

The "right to be forgotten" shot to prominence in 2014 and led to a wide-range of requests for information to be removed - early ones came from an ex-politician seeking re-election, and a paedophile - but not all have to be accepted.

Companies and individuals, that have the money, can hire experts to help them out.

A whole industry is being built around "reputation defence" with firms harnessing technology to remove information - for a price - and bury bad news from search engines, for example.

One such company, Reputation Defender, founded in 2006, says it has a million customers including wealthy individuals, professionals and chief executives. It charges around £5,000 ($5,500) for its basic package.

It uses its own software to alter the results of Google searches about its clients, helping to lower less favourable stories in the results and promote more favourable ones instead.

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"The technology focuses on what Google sees as important when indexing websites at the top or bottom of the search results," says Tony McChrystal, managing director.

"Generally, the two major areas Google prioritises are the credibility and authority the web asset has, and how users engage with the search results and the path Google sees each unique individual follow.

"We work to show Google that a greater volume of interest and activity is occurring on sites that we want to promote, whether they're new websites we've created, or established sites which already appear in the [Google results pages], while sites we are seeking to suppress show an overall lower percentage of interest."

The firm sets out to achieve its specified objective within 12 months.

"It's remarkably effective," he adds, "since 92% of people never venture past the first page of Google and more than 99% never go beyond page two."

Prof Mayer-Schoenberger points out that, while reputation defence companies may be effective, "it is hard to understand why only the rich that can afford the help of such experts should benefit and not everyone".

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So can we ever completely get rid of every online trace?

"Simply put, no," says Rob Shavell, co-founder and chief executive of DeleteMe, a subscription service which aims to remove personal information from public online databases, data brokers, and search websites.

"You cannot be completely erased from the internet unless somehow all companies and individuals operating internet services were forced to fundamentally change how they operate.

"Putting in place strong sensible regulation and enforcement to allow consumers to have a say in how their personal information can be gathered, shared, and sold would go a long way to addressing the privacy imbalance we have now."

[Source: This article was published in bbc.com By Mark Smith - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

The internet is an iceberg. And, as you might guess, most of us only reckon with the tip. While the pages and media found via simple searches may seem unendingly huge at times, what is submerged and largely unseen – often referred to as the invisible web or deep web – is in fact far, far bigger.

THE SURFACE WEB

What we access every day through popular search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing is referred to as the Surface Web. These familiar search engines crawl through tens of trillions of pages of available content (Google alone is said to have indexed more than 30 trillion web pages) and bring that content to us on demand. As big as this trove of information is, however, this represents only the tip of the iceberg.

Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, was asked to estimate the size of the World Wide Web. He estimated that of roughly 5 million terabytes of data, Google has indexed roughly 200 terabytes, or only .004% of the total internet.

THE INVISIBLE WEB

Beneath the Surface Web is what is referred to as the Deep or Invisible Web. It is comprised of:

  • Private websites, such as VPN (Virtual Private networks) and sites that require passwords and logins
  • Limited access content sites (which limit access in a technical way, such as using Captcha, Robots Exclusion Standard or no-cache HTTP headers that prevent search engines from browsing or caching them)
  • Unlinked content, without hyperlinks to other pages, which prevents web crawlers from accessing information
  • Textual content, often encoded in image or video files or in specific file formats not handled by search engines
  • Dynamic content created for a single purpose and not part of a larger collection of items
  • Scripted content, pages only accessible using Java Script, as well as content downloaded using Flash and Ajax solutions

There are many high-value collections to be found within the invisible web. Some of the material found there that most people would recognize and, potentially, find useful include:

  • Academic studies and papers
  • Blog platforms
  • Pages created but not yet published
  • Scientific research
  • Academic and corporate databases
  • Government publications
  • Electronic books
  • Bulletin boards
  • Mailing lists
  • Online card catalogs
  • Directories
  • Many subscription journals
  • Archived videos
  • Images

But knowing all these materials are out there, buried deep within the web doesn't really help the average user. What tools can we turn to in order to make sense of the invisible web? There really is no easy answer. Sure, the means to search and sort through massive amounts of invisible web information are out there, but many of these tools have an intense learning curve. This can mean sophisticated software that requires no small amount of computer savvy; it can mean energy-sucking search tools that require souped up computers to handle the task of combing through millions of pages of data; or, it can require the searching party to be unusually persistent – something most of us, with our expectations of instantaneous Google search success, won't be accustomed to.

All that being said, we can become acquainted with the invisible web by degrees. The many tools considered below will help you access a sizable slice of the invisible web's offerings. You will find we've identified a number of subject-specific databases and engines; tools with an established filter, making their searches much more narrow.

OPEN ACCESS JOURNAL DATABASES

Open access journal databases (OAJD) are compilations of free scholarly journals maintained in a manner that facilitates access by researchers and others who are seeking specific information or knowledge. Because these databases are comprised of unlinked content, they are located in the invisible web.

The vast majority of these journals are of the highest quality, with peer reviews and extensive vetting of the content before publication. However, there has been a trend of journals that are accepting scholarship without adequate quality controls, and with arrangements designed to make money for the publishers rather than furtherance of scholarship. It is important to be careful and review the standards of the database and journals chosen. "This helpful guide" explains what to look for.

Below is a sample list of well-regarded and reputable databases.

  • "AGRIS" (International Information System for Agricultural Science and Technology) is a global, public domain database maintained in multiple languages by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. They provide free access to agricultural research and information.
  • "BioMed Central" is the UK-based publisher of 258 peer-reviewed open access journals. Their published works span science, technology and medicine and include many well-regarded titles.
  • "Copernicus Publications" has been an open-access scientific publisher in Germany since 2001. They are strong supporters of the researchers who create these articles, providing top-level peer review and promotion for their work.
  • "DeGruyter Open" (formerly Versita Open) is one of Germany's leading publishers of open access content. Today DeGruyter Open (DGO) publishes about 400 owned and third-party scholarly journals and books across all major disciplines.
  • "Directory of Open Access Journals is focused on providing access only to those journals that employ the highest quality standards to guarantee content. They are presently a repository of 9,740 journals with more than 1.5 million articles from 133 countries.
  • "EDP Sciences" (Édition Diffusion Presse Sciences) is a France-based scientific publisher with an international mission. They publish more than 50 scientific journals, with some 60,000 published pages annually.
  • "Elsevier of Amsterdam is a world leader in advancing knowledge in the science, technology and health fields. They publish nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including Gray's Anatomy and Nelson' s Pediatrics.
  • "Hindawi Publishing Corporation", based in Egypt, publishes 434 peer-reviewed, open access journals covering all areas of Science, Technology and Medicine, as well as a variety of Social Sciences.
  • "Journal Seek" (Genamics) touts itself as "the largest completely categorized database of freely available journal information available on the internet," with more than 100,000 titles currently. Categories range from Arts and Literature, through both hard- and soft-sciences, to Sports and Recreation.
  • "The Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute" (MDPI), based in Switzerland, is a publisher of more than 110 peer-reviewed, open access journals covering arts, sciences, technology and medicine.
  • "Open Access Journals Search Engine" (OAJSE), based in India, is a search engine for open access journals from throughout the world, except for India. An extremely simple interface. Note: the site was last updated June 21, 2013.
  • "Open J-Gate" is an India-based e-journal database of millions of journal articles in open access domain. With a worldwide reach, Open J-Gate is updated every day with new academic, research and industry articles.
  • "Open Science Directory" contains about 13,000 scientific journals, with another 7,000 special programs titles.
  • "Springer Open" offers a roster of more than 160 peer-reviewed, open access journals, as well as their more recent addition of free access books, covering all scientific disciplines.
  • "Wiley Open Access", a subsidiary of New Jersey-based global publishers John Wiley & Sons, Inc., publishes peer reviewed open access journals specific to biological, chemical and health sciences.

INVISIBLE WEB SEARCH ENGINES

Your typical search engine's primary job is to locate the surface sites and downloads that make up much of the web as we know it. These searches are able to find an array of HTML documents, video and audio files and, essentially, any content that is heavily linked to or shared online. And often, these engines, Google chief among them, will find and organize this diversity of content every time you search.

The search engines that deliver results from the invisible web are distinctly different. Narrower in scope, these deep web engines tend to access only a single type of data. This is due to the fact that each type of data has the potential to offer up an outrageous number of results. An inexact deep web search would quickly turn into a needle in a haystack. That's why deep web searches tend to be more thoughtful in their initial query requirements.
Below is a list of popular invisible web search engines:

  • "Clusty" is a meta search engine that not only combines data from a variety of different source documents, but also creates "clustered" responses, automatically sorting by category.
  • "CompletePlanet" searches more than 70,000 databases and specialty search engines found only in the invisible web. A search engine as well-suited to casual searchers as it is to researchers.
  • "DigitalLibrarian": A Librarian's Choice of the Best of the Web is maintained by a real librarian. With an eclectic mix of some 45 broad categories, Digital Librarian offers data from categories as diverse as Activism/Non Profits and Railroads and Waterways.
  • "InfoMine" is another librarian-developed internet resource collection, this time from The Regents of the University of California.
  • "InternetArchive" has an eclectic array of categories, starting with the ‘Wayback Machine,' which allows the searcher to locate archived documents, and including an archive of Grateful Dead audience and soundboard recordings. They offer 6 million texts, 1.5 million videos, 1.9 million audio recordings and 126K live music concerts.
  • "The Internet Public Library" (ipl and ipl2) is a non-profit, student-run website at Drexel University. Students volunteer to act as librarians and respond to questions from visitors. Categories of data include those directed to Children and Teens.
  • "SurfWax" is a metasearch engine that offers "practical tools for Dynamic Search Navigation." It offers the option of grabbing results from multiple search engines at the same time, or even designing "SearchSets," which are individualized groups of sources that can be used over and over in searches.
  • "UC Santa Barbara Library" offers access to a diverse group of research databases useful to students, researchers and the casual searcher. It should be noted that many of these resources are password protected. Those that do not display a lock icon are publicly accessible.
  • "USA.gov" offers acess to a huge volume of information, including all types of forms, databases, and information sites representing most government agencies.
  • "Voice of the Shuttle" (VoS) offers access to a diverse assortment of sites, including literature, literary theory, philosophy, history and cultural studies, and includes the daily update of all things "cool."

SUBJECT -SPECIFIC DATABASES

The following lists pool together some mainstream and not so mainstream databases dedicated to particular fields and areas of interest. While only a handful of these tools are able to surface deep web materials, all of the search engines and collections we have highlighted are powerful, extensive bodies of work. Many of the resources these tools surface would likely be overlooked if the same query were made on one of the mainstream engines most users fall back on, like Bing, Yahoo and even Google.

Art & Design

  • "ArtNet" deals with pricing and sourcing work in the art market. They also keep track of the latest news and artists in the industry.
  • "The Metropolitan Museum of Art" site hosts an impressively interactive body of information on their collections, exhibitions, events and research.
  • "Musée du Louvre", the renowned museum, maintains a site filled with navigable sections covering its collections.
  • "The National Gallery of Art" premier museum of arts in our nation's capital, also maintains a site detailing the highlights, exhibitions and education efforts the institution oversees.
  • "Public Art Online" is a resource detailing sources, creators, prices, projects, legal issues, success stories, resources, education and all other aspects of the creation of public art.
  • "Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog" is a subset of the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS). A browsable database of over 400,000 art inventory items held in public and private collections.
  • "Web Gallery of Art" is a searchable database of European art, containing nearly 34,000 reproductions. Additional database information includes artist biographies, period music and commentaries.

Business

  • "Better Business Bureau" (BBB) Information System Search allows consumers to locate the details of ratings, consumer experience, governmental action and more of both BBB accredited and non-accredited businesses.
  • "BPubs.com" is the business publications search engine. They offer more than 200 free subscriptions to business and trade publications.
  • "BusinessUSA" is an excellent and complete database of everything a new or experienced business owner or employer should know.
  • "EDGAR: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission" contains a database of Securities and Exchange Commission. Posts copies of corporate filings from US businesses, press releases and public statements.
  • "Global Edge" delivers a comprehensive research tool for academics, students and businesspeople to seek out answers to international business questions.
  • "Hoover's", a subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet, is one of the best known databases of American and International business. A complete source of company and industry information, especially useful for investors.
  • "The National Bureau of Economic Research is perhaps the leading private, non-partisan research organization dedicated to unbiased analysis of economic policy. This database maintains archives of research data, meetings, activities, working papers and publications.
  • "U.S. Department of Commerce", Bureau of Economic Analysis is the source of many of the economic statistics we hear in the news, including national income and product accounts (NIPAs), gross domestic product, consumer spending, balance of payments and much more.

Legal & Social Services

Science & Technology

  • "Environmental Protection Agency" rganizes the agency's laws and regulations, science and technology, and the many issues affecting the agency and its policies.
  • "National Science Digital Library" (NSDL) is a source for science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational data. It is funded by the National Science Foundation.
  • "Networked Computer Science Technical Reports Library (NCSTRL) was developed as a collaborative effort between NASA Langley, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University and University of Virginia. It serves as an archive for submitted scientific abstracts and other research products.
  • "Science.gov" is a compendium of more than 60 US government scientific databases and more than 200 websites. Governed by the interagency Science.gov Alliance, this site provides access to a range of government scientific research data.
  • "Science Research" is a free, publicly available deep web search engine that purports to use a sophisticated technology that permits queries to more than 300 science and technology sites simultaneously, with the results collated, ranked and stripped of duplications.
  • "WebCASPAR" provides access to science and engineering data from a variety of US educational institutions. It incorporates a table builder, allowing a combined result from various National Science Foundation and National Center for Education Statistics data sources.
  • "WebCASPAR" World Wide Science is a global scientific gateway, comprised of US and international scientific databases. Because it is multilingual, it allows real-time search and translation of reporting from an extensive group of databases.

Healthcare

  • "Cases Database" is a searchable database of more than 32,000 peer-reviewed medical case reports from 270 journals covering a variety of medical conditions.
  • "Center for Disease Control" (CDC) WONDER's online databases permit access to the substantial public health data resources held by the CDC.
  • "HCUPnet" is an online query system for those seeking access to statistical data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  • "Healthy People" provides rolling 10-year national objectives and programs for improving the health of Americans. They currently operate under the Healthy People 2020 decennial agenda.
  • "National Center for Biotechnology Information" (NCBI) is an offshoot of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This site provides access to some 65 databases from the various project categories currently being researched.
  • "OMIM" offers access to the combined research of many decades into genetics and genetic disorders. With daily updates, it represents perhaps the most complete single database of this sort of data.
  • "PubMed is a database of more than 23 million citations from the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health.
  • "TOXNET" is the access portal to the US Toxicology Data Network, an offshoot of the National Library of Medicine.
  • "U.S. National Library of Medicine" is a database of medical research, available grants, available resources. The site is maintained by the National Institutes of Health.
  • "World Health Organization" (WHO) is a comprehensive site covering the many initiatives the WHO is engaged in around the world.

[Source: This article was published in onlineuniversities.com By hilip Bump - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Categorized in How to

It’s a known fact that Google, along with other major tech players like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, is increasingly trying to grab a slice of the $3 trillion dollar healthcare industry. Now, the search giant is flexing its cloud muscle to team up with healthcare providers to make further inroads.

To that effect, Google has announced a partnership with Ascension, the second-largest health system in the US, in a deal that gives it access to personal health datasets that can be used to develop AI-based tools for medical providers.

The collaboration — dubbed “Project Nightingale” — comes a week after the company’s acquisition of fitness wearable maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion. It also corroborates earlier reports that it’s working on a Google Flights-like search tool to make it easier for doctors to find medical records.

A data-sharing partnership

Interestingly, the partnership was mentioned in Google’s July earnings call, but it came under scrutiny only on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that Google would gain detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states.

The report also said the data involved in the project includes patient names, dates of birth, lab results, doctor diagnoses, and hospitalization records, along with their complete medical histories.

The partnership “covers the personal health records of around 50 million patients of Ascension,” the Journal wrote.

Google confirmed the deal, adding the arrangement adheres to HIPAA regulations regarding patient data and that it will meet the necessary privacy and security requirements.

As the Journal noted, HIPAA laws make it possible for hospitals to share data with its business partners without the consent of patients, provided said information is used only to help the entity meet its clinical functions.

Healthcare as a service

“Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” Google said.

Ascension, for its part, said it aims to explore AI applications to help improve clinical quality and patient safety. It’s worth pointing out that the company is not paying Google for these services.

For the Mountain View company, the data-sharing project comes with another objective: design a searchable, cloud-based platform to query patient data, which it could then market to other healthcare providers.

The legality aside, it’s not fully clear why the sharing terms would include names and birthdates of patients. But this would also mean adequate safeguards are in place to anonymize the information before it could be used to develop machine learning models for personalized healthcare.

Health privacy concerns

This is far from the first time Google’s cloud division has gone after healthcare providers. It has similar relationships with a number of hospital networks, including Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, the Chilean Health Ministry, Mayo Clinic, and the American Cancer Society.

Still, the development is bound to raise concerns about health privacy, what with the Journal stating that 150 Google employees may have access to a significant portion of the medical data from Ascension.

That’s not all. The tech giant has been scrutinized for improperly sharing patient data in the name of AI research, and has drawn flak for merging Deepmind Health with Google despite the company’s earlier promises to keep its health initiatives separate.

Given this checkered history, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise if Google — and other big tech companies — grapple with the privacy and security implications associated with handling health information when they are already in possession of enormous amounts of data about their users.

Update on Nov. 13, 9:00 AM IST: Google’s data deal with Ascension is now being investigated by the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Wall Street Journal reported. The OCR said it “will seek to learn more information about this mass collection of individuals’ medical records to ensure that HIPAA protections were fully implemented.”

[Source: This article was published in thenextweb.com By RAVIE LAKSHMANAN - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Google Gravity:

Almost all of us use Google in our day to day life. Without Google we can imagine our life as easy as now.

But many times, we get bored with Google Home Page. So, if you want creative and funny Google Homepage, this article is for you.

If we compare Google with other Search Engines, we will notice that Google have number of interesting tricks which other Search Engines doesn’t have.

We will talk about the top 6 Google Magic Tricks which you can use in your spare time and amaze your friends with it as well.

Here are the Top 6 Funny Tricks of Google Gravity by which you can play with Google Home Page and make it more interesting:

1. Google Gravity


With this trick, you can move each and every element of your Google Homepage, with the help of mouse.

It is really amazing experience to play with Google Homepage.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Gravity” page, move your mouse and all the elements of the Google Homepage will start falling down. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse. 

2. Google Anti Gravity


Google Anti Gravity is the most funny trick in which every element of the Google Homepage start floating.

You can move every element of the Homepage like – button, search box with the help of mouse click. This is really amazing trick.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Anti Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Anti Gravity” page, you will notice that all the element are floating like – they are on the space. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse.

3. Google Zero Gravity


Google Zero Gravity is the trick which is similar to Google Gravity but unlike it, the element of the Google Homepage will be displayed in opposite manner, like – they are displayed in mirror.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Zero Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Zero Gravity” page, you will notice that all the element are in mirror position like – they are displayed on mirror and every element will start falling as well. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse.

4. Google Underwater


The Google Underwater trick will amaze you for sure.

In this trick, the Google Homepage will be floating on the sea water and you can generate the wave on to the water with the help of your mouse.

To make this trick work, you just have to do the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Underwater”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Underwater” page, you will notice that all the element of Google Homepage are floating on the water. You can use your mouse to move every element of the Google Homepage.

5. Google Sphere


With this trick, you can play with Google Homepage in a really great and amazing way.

With the help of your mouse you can make each and every element of Google Homepage to revolve around Google Logo and make a sphere with it.

It is really fun to use this trick and you should definitely use it.

To perform this trick, you have to do the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Sphere”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Sphere” page. When you will move your mouse, you will notice that every element of the Google Homepage will start revolving around Google Logo.

6. Google do a barrel roll


This is the trick which is not for Google Homepage but for Google index section, where we get the results for our query.

This is really amazing trick in which you can make a Google to do a barrel roll. So, you must try it.

All you have to do is just perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Anti Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: After this, you will see that Google is doing a barrel roll and it is really amazing to see that.

 

Hope, you like these funny trick on Google with Google Gravity, Google Anti Gravity and Google Zero Gravity.

[Source: This article was published in thecoderpedia.com By CoderPedia - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in proprivacy.com By Douglas Crawford - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

Using a private search engine such as StartPage or DuckDuckGo is becoming ever more important. These usually leverage the big search engines in order to return results, but proxy search requests so that Google or Yahoo or Microsoft do not know who did the search. In other words, these see only that the search query came from the privacy search engine.

These privacy search engines promise not to log your IP address or any searches you make. Does this sound good to you? Good. The next question, then, is which privacy search engine to use…

Best Private Search Engine

Here are the best private search engines that are anonymous and make a great Google alternative.

Keep reading this guide to learn more about each private search engine in-depth.

What Does Google Know About Me?

The problem with most search engines is that they spy on you. This is their business model – to learn as much about you as possible, to deliver highly targeted advertising directly to your browser window.

Google has even recently dropped its moratorium on combining what it learns by scanning your emails with what it learns about you through your searches. All the better to spy on you. Information typically collected and stored each time you make a search includes:

  • Your IP address
  • Date and time of query
  • Query search terms
  • Cookie ID – this cookie is deposited in your browser’s cookie folder, and uniquely identifies your computer. With it, a search engine provider can trace a search request back to your computer.

This information is usually transmitted to the requested web page, and to the owners of any third party advertising banners displayed on that page. As you surf the internet, advertisers build up a (potentially highly embarrassing) profile of you.

Of course, if Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, etc., know lots about you, this information can be (and often is) handed over to the police and the NSA. So it's a good time to get a Google alternative.

Indeed, it was only recently that evidence emerged showing Yahoo works with hand in glove with the NSA to betray its users to the intelligence service. Naughty, naughty.

Screenshot 1

Google Transparency Report on the number of User Data Requests received, and the number (at least partially) acceded to

The filter bubble: what the internet is hiding from you

An added benefit of using a search engine that does not track you is that it avoids the “filter bubble” effect. Most search engines use your past search terms (and things you “Like” on social networks) to profile you.They can then return results they think will interest you. 

This can result in only receiving search returns that agree with your point of view, and this locks you into a “filter bubble,” where you do not get to see alternative viewpoints and opinions because they have been downgraded in your search results.

Not only does this deny you access to the rich texture and multiplicity of human input, but it can also be hazardous as it can confirm prejudices, and prevent you from seeing the “bigger picture”.

Startpage.com

Startpage2

PROS

  • No logs or tracking
  • Non-targeted ads
  • Can proxy webpages
  • Based in Netherlands
  • Google results

CONS

  • Runs servers in the US (but can you choose non-US servers)

Startpage.com and Ixquick are run by the same company. In the past, Startpage.com returned Google results, while Ixquick returned results from a number of other search engines, but not Google. The two services have now been combined, and both return identical Google results.

Although no longer actively supported, the old Ixquick metasearch engine is still available at Ixquick.eu. Interestingly, despite no longer being actively supported, Startpage.com has recently removed Yahoo results from the legacy search engine. This is in response to news that Yahoo has been helping the NSA spy on its users.

Search results

  • Suggestions are not offered as you type by default, but this can be enabled in settings.
  • Search returns are fast, but perhaps not as fast as those of DuckDuckGo (this is a purely subjective assessment).
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Searches can be only filtered by Web, Images and Video categories. An advanced search option is available that allows you to specify a variety of search parameters, and you can filter results by time.
  • Ads are displayed above the search results. They are clearly marked as ads and are not mixed with the “pure” search results.
  • Video results display an image preview. YouTube cannot be played directly on the Startpage website for privacy reasons and will open in a new tab. 
  • Search results are pulled directly from Google and are therefore very good.

Startpage

Ads are discrete but clearly labeled

How it makes money

Much like DuckDuckGo, Startpage.com makes money from ads and affiliate links. 

These ads are untargeted, clearly marked, and not mixed in with the “real” search returns. They are somewhat more prominently displayed than with DuckDuckGo, however.

Privacy

  • Startpage is based in the Netherlands, which has strong privacy laws.
  • It runs servers collocated in the US. These are owned and controlled by Startpage, and I am assured that they are secure against government snooping. If this worries you, however…
  • It is possible to use non-US servers only (or non-EU servers).
  • Web pages returned from searches can be proxied (see below).
  • Startpage is the only privacy search engine that has been independently audited.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Features

Startpage.com’s killer feature is that, rather than visiting a website directly, you can proxy the connection. If you select this option, then a proxy server run by Startpage.com sits between your computer and the website.

 This prevents the website from knowing your true IP address (much like a VPN), and from being able to use web tracking and fingerprinting technologies to identify and track you. It also blocks malicious scripts. 

The downside is that pages load more slowly since StartPage.com must retrieve the contents and re-display them. That said, the newly re-branded and redesigned "Anonymous View" is much faster than was previously the case. It also breaks websites much less because it allows JavaScript "while rewriting and 'redefining' JavaScript primitives to protect your privacy." 

I must say that this is a terrific feature and one that can significantly improve your privacy. Given its downside, however, you probably won’t want to use it all the time.

My thoughts

With its new re-design, StartPage.com matches DuckDuckGo in terms of prettiness and user-friendliness.

But thanks to being based in the Netherlands and having nothing to do with Yahoo, it should be more resistant to NSA spying than its US-based rival (if you specify non-US servers!). And the ability to proxy web pages is an absolute doozy.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo

PROS

  • No logs or tracking
  • Looks great
  • Discrete non-targeted ads
  • Bangs
  • Contextual filters

CONS

  • US company
  • Uses Amazon servers
  • Yahoo results

DuckDuckGo is “The Search Engine that Vows Not to Track You”. Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo, has stated that “if the FBI comes to us, we have nothing to tie back to you.”

It is a US-based company and is the most popular and high-profile of the privacy search engines. Searches are primarily sourced via Yahoo, with whom DuckDuckGo has a strong relationship.

This is very worrying given recent revelations about its ties to the NSA, but DuckDuckGo continues to promise that it does not collect or share personal information.

Search results

  • DuckDuckGo offers search suggestions as you type in a query.
  • Search returns are speedy.
  • This includes image and video search returns.
  • Presentation of results is very clear.
  • Search filter categories include Web, Images, Videos, Products, Meanings, Definition, and News. Displayed filters are adaptive, and DDG will initially show results under the filter category that it feels is most appropriate to the search terms. Depending on the filter selected, DuckDuckGo may display image, video or Wikipedia previews at either the top of the search page or in a box to the right of the results.
  • Ads may also be displayed to the right of search results. Paid ads are clearly marked as such, are discreet, and are never mixed in with the “pure” search returns.
  • Image results, however, can only be filtered by size (Small, Medium. Large).
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. YouTube videos can be played directly from DDG the website, but a warning alerts you to the fact that these will be tracked by YouTube/Google.
  • Results can also be filtered by country and date (Anytime, Past Day, Past Week or Past Month).
  • Subjectively, I find the quality of DuckDuckGo’s search returns to be very good. I have seen complaints, however, by others who do not find them as good as those from Google. This is one reason why “bangs” are so useful (see below).

DuckDuckGo1

Here we can see both the contextual filter in actual (auto-direct to Products) and DDG's discrete ads

How it makes money

DuchDuckGo displays adsalongside its search results. These are sourced from Yahoo as part of the Yahoo-Microsoft search alliance. By default, when advertisers sign up for a Bing Ads account, their ads automatically enter rotation into all of Bing’s distribution channels, including DuckDuckGo 

Importantly, however, these ads are untargeted (they are displayed based on your search terms). And as already noted, they are clearly marked and are shown separately from the “pure” search returns.

DuckDuckGo is part of the affiliate programs of Amazon and eBay. When you visit those sites through DuckDuckGo and subsequently make a purchase, it receives a small commission. No personally identifiable information is given out in this way, however, and this does not influence search result rankings.

Privacy

DuckDuckGo states that does not collect or share personal information.

  • An affiliate code may be added to some eCommerce sites (e.g., Amazon & eBay), but this does not include any personally identifiable information.
  • Being based in the US means that DuckDuckGo is subject to government pressure and laws such as FISA and the Patriot Act. This means that the US government could mandate that DuckDuckGo start logging its users’ activities. And prevent the company from alerting users to this fact via a Gag order.
  • DuckDuckGo uses Amazon servers. Again, this is a US company, subject to pressure from the US government.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A+

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, has contacted me regarding this article. Please see the Update at the bottom of this page for his answers to some criticisms expressed here.

Features

In addition to its rather nifty contextual filters, the most striking feature of DuckDuckGo is “bangs”. 

These allow you to search other websites quickly and easily. For example, typing !guk before a search query will return Google UK search results, and typing !a will search the Amazon store for you.

Note that bangs take you to the website in question. The searches are not proxied, so you lose an element of privacy if you bang Google directly. Fortunately, there is a solution. You can combine bangs with Startpage.com (see review above) by typing !s or !sp, and because Startpage.com uses Google, you can have the best of both worlds.

My thoughts

DuckDuckGo offers good looking and easy-to-use interface, although some may prefer Google to the primarily Yahoo-based search results.

Bangs are a killer feature, however, and one that goes a long way towards compensating for this issue. Just remember that if you want to query Google and protect your privacy, it makes sense to bang into StartPage.com with the !s or !sp for Google search results in privacy instead of going to Google directly.

It is little surprise, then, that DuckDuckGo is so popular. But the fact that it is a US company should sound a note of caution.

SearX

SearX

PROS

  • Can be self-hosted
  • Choose which search engines to leverage
  • Can proxy webpages
  • No ads

CONS

  • Public instances could be logged

Less well-known, but fast gaining traction with the security community is SearX. Not only is SearX fully open source, but it is easy to set up and to run your own instance of it.

There is an official public SearX instance, or you can use one of many volunteer-run public instances. But what SearX is really about is running your own instance. This makes SearX the only metasearch engine where you can be 100 percent sure that no logs are kept!

Search results

  • By default, SearX leverages results from a large number of search engines.

Search results

In Preferences, users can change which search engines are used

  • Search suggestions are not offered
  • Searches can be filtered by the following categories: General, Files, Images, IT, Map (using OpenStreetMap), Music, News, Science, Social Media, and Videos. They can also be filtered by time.
  • There are no ads.
  • Wikipedia entries are displayed to the right of search results.
  • There are no additional filters for Images, although a preview is displayed when they are clicked on.
  • Video results display a thumbnail preview. Clicking on a video takes you to the website it is hosted on (for example YouTube or Vimeo).
  • Search results can be downloaded as a .csv, .json., or rss file.
  • As with Startpage, search results can be viewed proxied. This will “break” many websites, but does allow for a very high level of privacy.
  • Search results are as good as the engine’s selected. The official instance uses Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and a host of other first-rate engines by default, so the results are excellent.

Search results 2

The are no ads, search suggestions are listed to the right, and as with Startpage, you can proxy webpages

How it makes money

SearX is an open source project run by volunteers. On the official instance, there is no on-site advertising and no affiliate marketing.

Because it is open source, individual operators of public SearX instances are free to introduce their own finance models. But I have yet to find a single instance that is not 100 percent ad and affiliate-free.

Privacy

  • There is no way to know if a public SearX instance operator is logging your searches. And this includes the official instance.
  • That being said, there is no way to guarantee that DDG, Startpage, or any other “private” search engines are not logging your searches either…
  • If you are serious about privacy, therefore, you should set up your own SearX instance. In fact, setting up your own SearX instance on a server that only you directly control is the only way currently available to guarantee that your searches are not logged.
  • This makes self-hosted SearX instances by far the most secure search engines available. Documentation for installing your own SearX instance is available here.
  • For the casual user, public SearX instances are unlikely to log your searches and are much less likely to be monitored by the likes of the NSA than the other services mentioned here.
  • Just remember, though, that there is no way to be sure of this.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report for searx.me (the official instance): A. Note that each SearX instance (public or private) is different in this respect.

Features

As with Startpage, the ability to proxy websitesis a killer feature if you can live with it breaking many websites that you visit. 

 

My thoughts

For serious tech-savvy privacy-heads, a self-hosted SearX instance is the way to go. Simply put, nothing else is in the same league when it comes to knowing for certain that your searches are not logged.

More casual users may also be surprised at how well the software works on public instances. My personal feelings are that these are much less likely to log your searches or be spied on by the US and other governments than DuckDuckGo, Startpage or Disconnect. But this is purely speculation.

Disconnect Search

PROS

  • No logs or tracking
  • No ads
  • Choice of search engines

CONS

  • US company (so beware the NSA)
  • Uses Amazon servers (so beware the NSA)

Before writing a Disconnect review, we knew the US-based company had made a name for itself with some excellent open source privacy-oriented browser extensions. One of these is the open-source Disconnect Search add-on for Firefox and Chrome (a non-open source Android app is also available).

This browser add-on is still the primary way to use Disconnect Search, although a JavaScript web app is available. This mimics the browser extension, and allow you to perform web searches from the Disconnect Search web page.

Disconnect also markets a Premium VPN and online security app, with Disconnect Search functionality built-in. Please see my Disconnect review for more details on this.

Search results

  • Searches are usually made from the browser add-on.
  • You can select which of three search engines to query: Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo (default).
  • Unlike the other privacy metasearch engines discussing this article, Disconnect does not display search returns on its own website. Results are simply routed through Disconnect’s servers to hide their origin and are then opened in the selected search engine’s webpage.
  • Incognito mode searches are supported.

The browser extension

The browser extension

How it makes money

Disconnect markets a Premium product, but the Disconnect Search browser extension is free. It hides your IP when doing searchesbut then sends you directly to the selected search engine. 

This means that Disconnect performs no advertising or affiliate marketing of its own when doing a search.

Privacy

  • Disconnect is a US company and is therefore not a good choice for the more NSA-phobic out there.
  • The browser extension is open source, but search requests can still be logged by Disconnect, as they are made through its servers.
  • Disconnect hosts its service on Amazon servers.
  • Qualys SSL labs security report: A (this is for the Disconnect.me website).

My thoughts

The Disconnect Search browser extension provides a quick and easy way to hide your true identity while doing searches using your favorite search engine. The fact that Disconnect is US-based, however, is a major issue. 

Honorary mention: Peekier

Peekier is a new no-logs search engine. There is not enough information about this service currently available for me to give it a proper assessment. It is worth mentioning, however, because of the attractive and innovative way that it displays search results.

search

In a field were where, if we are honest, most search engines look pretty similar, it is great to see a different approach. I, therefore, think it worth flagging up Peekier and keeping an eye on the service to see how it develops.

Privacy Search Engines Conclusion

Using any of these services engines will significantly improve your search privacy. Crucially, your searches will not be recorded to help build a profile that is used to sell you stuff. All the search engines I looked at in this article are easy to use and return good results.

Will these services protect your searches from government surveillance (and the NSA in particular)? In the case of US companies, it is safest to assume not. But unless you are doing something very illegal, this may not concern you (although it should).

Startpage is non-US based, has been independently audited, and allows you to access websites with a great deal of privacy thanks to its proxy feature. It is, therefore, a much better choice for privacy-heads than DuckDuckGo.

Public SearX instances are less likely to be monitored than other higher-profile search engines, but they may be. It is also likely that you will know nothing about their operators. Running your own SearX instance on hardware directly under your control, however, is an extremely secure and private solution. And is therefore only one that I can recommend to serious privacy fanatics.

The fact the SearX has a great interface and returns on-the-button results from all the major search engines is the icing on the cake.

 

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in infosecurity-magazine.com By Liv Rowley - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

The surface web poses many threats to organizations, but the deep and dark web has gained notoriety over the years as more and more cyber-criminals make use of underground forums and marketplaces to buy and sell goods such as stolen credentials and personally identifiable information (PII).

Various anonymizing features and a lack of state-based governance has allowed cybercrime to flourish in this relatively safe space. 

Stolen information, illegal services and other illicit offerings and activity can be observed with unnerving regularity on the deep and dark web. Goods can be put together or sold as packages alongside other Cybercrime-as-a-Service (CaaS) offerings, thereby lowering the barrier to entry for novice cyber-criminals and allowing veterans to outsource parts of their operations. 

Dare to delve?

Whilst the darknet is complicated to navigate, it is far from impossible to penetrate. There are public Tor indexers available – such as Torch and Grams – though they are often clunky to use and not comprehensive in their reach.

Threat intelligence companies may offer cybersecurity modules that crawl the darknet, indexing content and providing search engine-like capabilities to defenders who purchase these services. Forums, however, may need to be infiltrated first in the same way as you would a real-world criminal organization.

However, organizations must first determine whether the risks associated with this type of hands-on research are worth it. These risks include the possibility of being unwittingly or unintentionally infected with malware or otherwise exposing yourself to those with malicious intentions. A strong understanding of operational security and acceptance of the risks associated with this type of research is key. In many cases, organizations may find it more prudent to enlist the help of threat intelligence vendors, whose professional expertise may come in useful.

Threat actors utilize Tor, I2P and other darknet browsing software to access hidden forums and marketplaces, while others lurk on the deep web behind password-protected or invitation-only closed forums or groups on Telegram, WhatsApp and other chat platforms. Some expect you to prove technical knowledge to gain entrance to a forum or to actively participate in a cyber-criminal community in order to maintain access. In other cases, you may need to be invited or recommended by a trusted relationship to gain access. 

Keep your enemies close

Organizations looking to conduct dark web research are setting out on a challenging task; dark web research can be similar to knowing that a party is taking place, but not knowing the address. Analysts need to be ready to hunt, dig and immerse themselves in the underground in order to find the action. In doing so, analysts are exposed to the myriad products and conversations surrounding cybercrime in these spaces, training their eye to be able to filter and identify the real threat.

This in turn allows organizations to better understand what they need to defend themselves against. In order to assess a threat actor’s credibility and the legitimacy of a particular threat, researchers may look at factors such as a threat actor’s reputation or length of time on the darknet.

Companies should prioritize monitoring for data related to their organization, such as proactively searching the dark web to find stolen credentials. Doing so at an early stage can massively reduce the risk or impact of an attack.

Detecting them using threat intelligence services can not only prevent additional breaches but also force IT security teams to locate the sources of the initial attacks and fix existing problems so attacks cannot occur again through that vector.

Stay alert and keep watch

In addition to looking for stolen credentials, it is also wise to monitor (using defined search terms) for documents or PII which might have been stolen or unintentionally leaked. Stricter data protection regulations mean that data leaks can have an even larger impact on an organization’s bottom line, as well as its reputation. In the event of a GDPR penalty, a company that can demonstrate robust detection capabilities can vastly reduce its liabilities.

A network of crawlers and sensors can alert organizations when their credentials have been offered for sale on the dark web – if you know what’s been stolen, it’s easier to block and mitigate damage. Good cyber threat intelligence is crucial to providing this feedback of information to build stronger defenses around any business.

Tracking for crimeware kits, malware, threat actors and TTPs that could target their sector more generally can also help security teams strengthen their security posture, broaden their situational awareness and put in place appropriate defense measures before adversaries can strike. 

The best way to fight cybercrime on the darknet is to operate in much the same way as the bad guys. If you understand the scope of what’s available to criminals, it’s a lot easier to rationalize how to defend against cyber-attacks and enable others to do the same. Collaboration and intelligence sharing is crucial in the fight against cybercrime.

Categorized in Deep Web

[Source: This article was published in fbi.gov - Uploaded by the Association Member: Carol R. Venuti]

Operation SaboTor, a multi-agency law enforcement action between January and March 2019 that targeted opioid sales on the Darknet, included this search of a vehicle and a residence in California. The search was the result of an eight-month investigation that led to five arrests.

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When Knoxville first responders found a man dead in his home, there was clear evidence on the scene of the heroin that caused his overdose. Also nearby were clues to how the deadly drugs had reached him. Investigators found a padded manila envelope with postage and markings that provided them another link back to the online drug sellers who have proliferated on the Darknet in recent years.

Drug traffickers are increasingly using anonymous online networks to sell narcotics, including potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, to buyers who can order and receive the drugs without ever leaving home. What can appear to be a regular e-commerce transaction is one of the delivery channels fueling a deadly nationwide epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drug overdose deaths have been on an upward climb for several years, across the United States and across all demographic groups. In 2017 alone, 70,237 people in this country died of a drug overdose; two-thirds of those deaths involved an opioid.

As part of a government-wide effort to address the epidemic, the Department of Justice created the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team in 2018 to leverage the power of federal and international partnerships to combat the complex and deadly threat of online drug sales.

Now in its second year, J-CODE is delivering results through coordinated efforts and the commitment of the nation’s law enforcement agencies to address opioid sales on the Darknet. Building on the success of last year’s Operation Disarray, the J-CODE team led Operation SaboTor between January and March of this year. These concentrated operations in the United States and abroad led to 61 arrests and shut down 50 Darknet accounts used for illegal activity. Agents executed 65 search warrants, seizing more than 299 kilograms of drugs, 51 firearms, and more than $7 million ($4.504 million in cryptocurrency, $2.485 million in cash, and $40,000 in gold).

“This is a new and evolving threat, and we found that no one agency can do it alone.”

Maggie Blanton, special agent, FBI Hi-Tech Organized Crime Unit

J-CODE joins the efforts of the FBI with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Defense (DOD). As many of these markets cross borders, Europol is also an invaluable international partner in J-CODE’s efforts to make a global impact on Darknet drug trafficking.

“This is a new and evolving threat, and we found that no one agency can do it alone,” said FBI Special Agent Maggie Blanton of the Hi-Tech Organized Crime Unit at FBI Headquarters. “The FBI may get information from local law enforcement after an overdose or arrest. Through that tip, we can work with our federal partners with the Postal Inspection Service, because so often the drugs are moving through the mail. Our Customs and Border Protection partners are a great resource on understanding trends and preventing drugs from coming into the country from abroad, and our partnership with DEA is critical because of their experience and expertise with drug cases.”

The evidence gathered from that overdose death in Knoxville, for example, was shared with local law enforcement and then with USPIS, the FBI, and other partners. The eight-month investigation led to the arrest of five suspects in the Los Angeles area in March 2019 who are believed to be behind at least two online drug sites that shipped out an estimated 1,500 parcels each month. Search warrants carried out on a residence rented by the suspects and two of their vehicles uncovered drugs, a loaded gun, mailing supplies, computers, cell phones, and transaction receipts.

FBI Special Agent Nathan Cocklin said members of his Hi-Tech Organized Crime squad from the Los Angeles Field Office, along with USPIS inspectors, interviewed the suspects as they were brought into custody. He said the suspects claimed they were just running a business, making money, and not considering the impact of their online sales. “It’s a transaction only,” Cocklin said of the Darknet marketplaces. “They don’t even know each other’s real names.” He said the suspects never considered that a package dropped in a mailbox in Southern California could mean the loss of a life in eastern Tennessee.

Drugs uncovered in a March 2019 search in California of a residence and vehicle involved in a Darknet drug investigation by the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team.
Members of the J-CODE team conduct a search of a residence and vehicle in California in March 2019, where drugs were among the items seized.

A Multi-Agency, Multi-Layered Approach

The Darknet is a part of the Internet accessed through a specialized browser called Tor. Tor allows users to better hide who they are, where they are, and what they are doing online. Darknet marketplaces offer illicit goods that range from hacked bank accounts and stolen credit card information to guns and drugs.

“It’s become easier to get onto the Darknet marketplaces—all you need is a smartphone or computer,” said Chris Oksala, a supervisory special agent with DEA. “There are multiple ways to pay for the drug—from cryptocurrencies to Western Union transfers—and there are multiple ways to shield your identity.”

But on the other side of the seeming ease and anonymity of buying and selling on the Darknet is the hard work being done by law enforcement, in concert, to combat the illegal activity occurring online—from targeting the marketplaces and the sellers to reaching out to those buying illegal wares online.

“These are very complex and time-consuming cases for one agency,” said Kyle Rau, USPIS program manager for Darkweb investigations. “The ‘one government’ approach allows us to tap into each agency’s strength and allows each agency to focus on a particular task.”

The FBI and its law enforcement partners in the United States and abroad have had tremendous success in recent years taking down some of the largest and most profitable Darknet marketplaces. In 2017, law enforcement seized the AlphaBay marketplace, believed to be the largest Darknet market at the time. That seizure was followed by a takedown of Hansa market, another major player.

“It is harder to get the infrastructure up,” stressed Cocklin. “To compare it to a normal drug organization, a dealer is easier to replace than the head of the organization. If you take out a marketplace, you have to rebuild. It takes money and time and undermines trust. Did taking out AlphaBay and Hansa stop everything? No. Did it make an impact? Absolutely.”

The next-level target is the Darknet drug trafficking organizations. The goal of Operation Disarray and Operation SaboTor, along with the ongoing work of J-CODE partners, is to identify and arrest those behind the online sales.

“It takes work, but the FBI, USPIS, DEA, and others are laser-focused on tackling the opioid epidemic on the web.”

Nathan Cocklin, special agent, FBI Los Angeles

The final prong of the J-CODE effort is educating the public on the dangers of opioids by contacting individuals who are known to have purchased drugs online. Sometimes the message arrives too late. In locating and contacting buyers, the J-CODE team often comes across death notices and obituaries. In some cases, agents learn from buyers that they had survived an overdose; in other cases, agents learn from family members that a buyer did not. Oksala stressed that many of the drugs being sold online carry the added danger of unknown, powerful chemicals. “People are making thousands of pills at a time, doing the formulation without any scientific training,” he said.

The agents arrive with information on addiction and treatment, and their very presence challenges the anonymous nature of the Darknet. “If they know someone is looking, people lose faith in the marketplace,” said Rich Sheehan, USPIS assistant inspector in charge. “We’ve proven time and time again that they are not anonymous.”

”We are able to identify people,” said Cocklin. “It takes work, but the FBI, USPIS, DEA, and others are laser-focused on tackling the opioid epidemic on the web.”

Categorized in Internet Privacy

[Source: This article was Published in techworld.com BY Laurie Clarke - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila] 

Threat intelligence firm Recorded Future has published new research examining the dark 

The dark web. It’s a name that evokes the damp and dingy crevices of the internet; breeding grounds for a virulent strain of depravity. But is the hype justified? Threat intelligence agency Recorded Future has published research that attempts to demystify our concept of this subterranean section of the web.

The organisation has close ties to In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s investment arm and Google Ventures, after receiving a substantial suffusion of cash from both shortly after being founded in 2009. According to its website, it provides threat intelligence to 91 percent of the Fortune 100, including GSK, Raytheon and Morgan Stanley. 

“The term dark web kind of has a Hollywood aura or mystique around it,” says Garth Griffin, director of data science at Recorded Future. “We wanted to make it more concrete, more specific, and measure what we could about what the dark web really is.”

To conduct the research, the team looked specifically at 'onion sites': those accessible through the Tor (The Onion Router) browser, which is generally seen as the gateway into the dark web. 

One of the team's first findings was the relatively small size of the dark web compared to the clear web. They discovered just 55,000 domains, of which only 8,400 were actually serving a website - a tiny fraction of the millions of domains supported by the clear web.

The instability and unreliability of dark web sites also became apparent, of which uptime is an incisive indicator. “The gold standard on clear websites is the ‘five nines’ - you know, 99.999% uptime,” says Griffin. The uptime on a Tor site generally hovers closer to 90%. Although this doesn’t suggest a radical difference, Griffin says that even the small step between four nines and five nines is noticeable in the user experience on the clear web. 

“This is again counter to the image of the onion network as a sort of metropolis of bustling criminal activity,” says Griffin. “It’s actually kind of hard to use and disorganised.”

Recorded Future found that the dark web is more homogeneous than the clear web in terms of the languages used. Eighty-six percent of the language is English, while this is closer to 54 percent on the clear web.  

Among the criminal sites on Tor, those home to the darkest shades of criminal activity is more concealed than others. The research quantified the visibility of these sites by counting the number of inbound links, that is, other sites hyperlinking back to them. They found that for popular markets on the site which are fairly visible, these numbered around 3,500 links. “Then we had this handful of sites that in our view represent top-tier criminal sites, where there is really scary criminal activity,” says Griffin. “These had a maximum of just 15 inbound links.”

By comparison, a popular site on a clear web like Wikipedia might count millions and millions of inbound links. These findings indicate the tiny scale of the slice of the dark web dealing in severe criminal activity. But even criminal users adept enough to worm their way into the dark web's fetid undercarriage aren’t immune - scams running to catch out criminals abound, including typosquatting, and fake sites that promise to deliver goods or carry out actions they never will. 

Griffin says the company has been harvesting from onion sites on the dark web for a very long time, but this research was novel in its wide-ranging view of the entire dark web, rather than just the explicitly criminal elements. Griffin says their clients are all in the security space, looking to protect their organisations from a variety of cyberthreats. “It gets a lot of attention focused on it by virtue of the Hollywood aura that surrounds it,” says Griffin. “In our view, the dark web is relevant, but it's far from the only thing that matters.” 

But is the dark web the safe haven for rampant, unchecked criminality it's made out to be? Tor was set up by the US army agency, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and was solely funded by US government agencies for much of its existence, even at the height of the Edward Snowden leaks (that were orchestrated with the help of Tor).

Today, it still counts a number of US government agencies, or beneficiaries of US government money, among its donors that include the Open Technology Fund, the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and DARPA via the University of Pennsylvania.

That the very site portrayed as a secure space impenetrable to law enforcement agencies was also founded and funded by them should be enough to give most criminals pause. High profile takedowns of criminal users of the dark web, including most notably the founder of Silk Road, and Playpen, the child pornography site, have proved that it’s not beyond the reach of the law. In fact, some commentators have suggested that while Tor was founded by the US government primarily as a place where their operatives could act unseen, it also successfully acts as a honey pot that attracts criminals to congregate usefully in one place.

Griffin concurs: “It's clearly not a silver bullet for the criminal community, because law enforcement has successfully taken down markets and carried out infiltration. It certainly does not prevent law enforcement from successfully disrupting criminal activity.”

This could explain why today there is still more criminal activity taking place on the clear web than through onion sites.

Categorized in Deep Web

[Source: This article was Published in ca.news.yahoo.com BY Bree Fowler - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill]

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

We’ve all been there. You talk on the phone with a friend about something, say sneakers, and then a little later see an ad for the latest Nike shoes in your Facebook feed.

It’s almost like your phone, or one of the apps installed on it is listening to everything you say.

Could that be true? Or is it just a modern myth?

Well, it’s technically possible for phones and apps to secretly record what you say. And lots of people sure seem to think they do.

According to a nationally representative phone survey of 1,006 U.S. adults conducted by Consumer Reports in May 2019, 43 percent of Americans who own a smartphone believe their phone is recording conversations without their permission.

But, to date, researchers have failed to find any evidence of such snooping.

The scary thing, according to security experts, is that there are much more efficient ways to learn all about you without ever having to eavesdrop on that never-ending conversation with your mom.

Possible, But Not Practical

During the 2017-18 school year, researchers led by Northeastern University computer science professor David Choffnes set out to see whether they could catch a smartphone spying on what they said.

Using an automated test program, they analyzed more than 17,000 popular apps on the Android operating system and did not find a single instance where an app activated a phone’s microphone and leaked audio data.

Michael Covington, a vice president at Wandera, a mobile security company, says his researchers performed a similar study, focusing on high-profile apps known for large-scale data collection, including Amazon, Chrome, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

They too found no evidence of secret recordings.

In the end, given current technology, Choffnes explains, recording audio just isn’t a very practical way to gather market intelligence, because accurately translating that audio into text for analysis would require massive amounts of computing power, especially if done on a large scale.

If snooping of that volume was going on, undetected by researchers, he adds, it would probably involve state-sponsored hackers, who hunt for fish much bigger than the average consumer.

While that all makes perfect sense, it still doesn’t explain why so many people believe they're getting ads inspired by private conversations, Covington says.

“What we’ve done is provide some insight into what advertising platforms aren’t doing,” he argues. “But, they clearly are doing something that’s allowing them to target those ads so well.” 

If Not With a Microphone, How?

When it comes to collecting data on consumers, there’s no shortage of effective options. Companies from Google on down to the tiniest developer of time-wasting games routinely record personal info—names, birthdates, credit card info—simply by asking for it.

Many also track your location throughout the day using your phone's GPS and nearby cell towers or web beacons.

And Facebook monitors your browsing habits beyond the confines of its own platform, thanks to a tiny, transparent image file known as a Facebook Pixel that's placed on websites across the internet to track what you watch and read and place in your shopping cart.

In Choffnes’ study, the researchers also found that 9,000 Android apps were secretly taking screenshots or recording videos of smartphone activity and sending them to third parties. In one case, a food-delivery app recorded video of the user’s activity and shared it with a data-analytics firm.

One screenshot captured ZIP codes. Imagine if others revealed usernames, passwords, or credit card information.

Clay Miller, chief technology officer for the mobile security firm SyncDog, says that while apps are designed to be "sandboxed," meaning they withold user data from other apps, data can sometimes cross over through a phone’s operating system.

Still, it's more likely that, at some point, you paused to admire those sneakers you were discussing with your friend online, Miller notes. And perhaps didn't realize—as few people do—that companies like Google combine data from their many free apps, creating a profile for ad targeting purposes.

So, if you were to do a Google search for a particular kind of sneaker and use Google Maps to drive to a shoe store and your Gmail account to sign up for a shoe store’s mailing list, you can bet you’re going to get ads for sneakers in your Chrome browser.

And, thanks to all that data-tracking software tied to Facebook, you'll probably see the same ads in your Facebook feed, too. 

If that weirds you out, try to limit the access those companies have to your browsing history by not using the universal sign-on features offered by Google and Facebook and by not signing into the Chrome browser, Miller says.

Keep an eye on the permissions granted to your apps, too, Covington adds. If you don’t think that gaming app needs access to the camera or microphone on your phone, revoke it.

To see exactly what permissions you've given to each app on an iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > and then scroll down to a category such as Camera. There you'll find a list of apps with permission to use your camera along with toggle switches to withdraw that access.

On an Android phone, go to Settings > Apps > and scroll down and click on a specific app. The next screen will show you what permissions that app has and allow you to turn them on or off.

“A lot of people might not connect the dots and realize that they’re trading their data and privacy for a free service, but that’s the world we live in,” Covington says.

 

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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