While there is some good to the Dark Web/Deep Web, it can also be used for some pretty bad stuff. Like Commercial darknet markets. They function primarily as black markets, selling or brokering transactions involving drugs, cyber-arms, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, other illicit goods as well as the sale of legal products. In December 2014, a study by Gareth Owen from the University of Portsmouth suggested the second most popular content on Tor were darknet markets. Many hackers sell their services there individually or as a part of groups. Such groups include hackforum, Trojanforge, Mazafaka, dark0de and the TheRealDealdarknet market. However some have been known to track and extort apparent pedophiles.

There are reports of crowdfunded assassinations and hitmen for hire, however these are believed to be exclusively scams. The creator of Silk Road was arrested by Homeland Security investigations (HSI) for his site and allegedly hiring a hitman to kill six people, although the charges were later dropped. There is an urban legend that one can find live murder on the dark web. The term “Red Room” has been coined based on the Japanese animation and urban legend of the same name. However the evidence points towards all reported instances being hoaxes.

On June 25, 2015, a creepy indie game Sad Satan was reviewed by Youtubers Obscure Horror Corner which they claimed to have found via the dark web. Various inconsistencies in the channel’s reporting cast doubt on the reported version of events.

There is regular law enforcement action against sites distributing child pornography often via compromising the site by distributing malware to the users. Sites use complex systems of guides, forums and community regulation. Other content includes sexualised torture and killing of animals and revenge porn.

Although much of the dark web isn’t that bad, some prosecutors and government agencies, among others, are concerned that it is a haven for criminal activity. In 2014, journalist Jamie Bartlett in his book The Dark Net used the dark net and dark web to describe a range of underground and emergent sub cultures, including social media racists, cam girls, self harm communities, darknet drug markets, cryptoanarchists and transhumanists.

Work Cited:

Burleigh, Nina (19 February 2015). “The Rise and Fall of Silk Road, the dark web’s Amazon”. Retrieved 25 May 2015.

Greenberg, Andy (17 April 2015). “New Dark-Web Market Is Selling Zero-Day Exploits to Hackers”. Wired. Retrieved 24 May 2015.

 Holden, Alex (10 February 2015). “Ukraine crisis: Combatants scouring dark web for advice on bridge bombing and anti-tank missiles”. Retrieved 28 May 2015.

Holden, Alex (15 January 2015). “A new breed of lone wolf hackers are roaming the deep web – and their prey is getting bigger”. Retrieved 19 June2015.

“Hacking communities in the Deep Web”. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.

Cox, Joseph (12 November 2015). “A dark web Hacker Is Hunting Potential Pedophiles to Extort Them for Money”. Retrieved 12 November 2015.Greenberg, Andy (18 November 2013). “Meet The ‘Assassination Market’ Creator Who’s Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins”. Forbes. Retrieved 29 August 2015.

Ormsby, Eileen (3 August 2012). “Conversation with a hitman (or not)”. Retrieved 29 August 2015.

Nicole Hong, “Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison”, Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2015.

Andy Greenberg, “Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison”, Wired, May 29, 2015.

Ormsby, Eileen (29 August 2015). “Waiting in the Red Room”. Retrieved 29 August 2015.

Howell O’Neill, Patrick (28 August 2015). “Dark Net site promised to livestream torture and execution of 7 ISIS jihadists”. Retrieved 29 August2015.

Willacy, Mark (26 August 2015). “Secret ‘dark net’ operation saves scores of children from abuse; ringleader Shannon McCoole behind bars after police take over child porn site”. Retrieved 26 August 2015.

Conditt, Jessica (8 January 2016). “FBI hacked the Dark Web to bust 1,500 pedophiles”. Retrieved 8 January 2016.

Cox, Joseph (5 January 2016). “The FBI’s ‘Unprecedented’ Hacking Campaign Targeted Over a Thousand Computers”. Retrieved 8 January2016.

Farivar, Cyrus (16 June 2015). “Feds bust through huge Tor-hidden child porn site using questionable malware”. Retrieved 8 August 2015.

Evans, Robert (16 June 2015). “5 Things I Learned Infiltrating Deep Web Child Molesters”. Retrieved 29 August 2015.

Cox, Joseph (11 November 2014). “As the FBI Cleans the Dark Net, Sites Far More Evil Than Silk Road Live On”. Retrieved 3 August 2015.

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