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Category Archives: Tor Browser
Posted: September 23, 2020 at 7:32 pm
Accused ricin mailer appears in court
WASHINGTON -- A Canadian woman accused of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House included a threatening letter in which she told President Donald Trump to "give up and remove your application for this election," according to court papers filed Tuesday.
[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]
Pascale Ferrier of Quebec was arrested Sunday at the U.S.-Canada border and made her first court appearance Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Buffalo, N.Y. She faces a charge of threatening the president.
The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but was intercepted at a mail sorting facility Friday. The package, postmarked from Canada, included a letter in which she referred to Trump as "The Ugly Tyrant Clown," according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.
"So I made a 'special gift' for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter," she wrote, according to the affidavit. "If it doesn't work, I'll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I'll be able to come. Enjoy! FREE REBEL SPIRIT."
Ferrier appeared in court briefly Tuesday, and U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. entered an innocent plea on her behalf.
Darknet drug case leads to 179 arrests
WASHINGTON -- Law enforcement officials arrested 179 people and seized more than $6.5 million in a worldwide crackdown on opioid trafficking on the darknet, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.
The operation, which mainly occurred in the U.S. and in Europe, comes more than a year after officials took down the "Wall Street Market," which was believed to be one of the largest illegal online marketplaces on the darknet.
The darknet is a part of the internet hosted within an encrypted network and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools, most notably the Tor Browser.
As part of the initiative, law enforcement officials seized more than $6.5 million in cash and virtual currency, in addition to 500 kilograms of drugs, the Justice Department said. About 275 kilograms of drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy and other opioids, had been seized in the U.S.
The arrests include 121 made in the U.S., two in Canada, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the United Kingdom, three in Australia and one in Sweden. The Justice Department said its investigation was ongoing, and investigators were still working to identify other individuals behind darknet accounts.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the takedown showed "there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace."
CDC issues guidance on holiday visits
New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the coming holiday season warns that hosts and attendees at holiday celebrations will need to take steps to limit the risk of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus.
Virtual gatherings or those that involve one's immediate household are low-risk, the agency said in a posting Monday. If people do gather in person for Christmas and other holidays, the CDC recommends doing so outdoors, keeping groups small, using measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, and considering local virus conditions as well as where attendees are coming from.
Traditional celebrations like Halloween trick-or-treating, large indoor Dia de los Muertos gatherings, crowded Thanksgiving parades and Black Friday shopping sprees could spread the virus and should be avoided, according to the guidance. The CDC recommends alternatives such as virtual Halloween costume contests, holding a small dinner for household members and shopping online.
City readies for Taylor findings unrest
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Officials in Kentucky's largest city were preparing Tuesday for more protests and possible unrest as the public nervously awaits the state attorney general's announcement about whether he will charge officers in Breonna Taylor's shooting death.
Photo bySouth Florida Sun-SentinelKyle Welp plays tuesday with his dog Ryder at the freshwater dog swim area of Snyder park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP/south Florida sun-sentinel/Joe Cavaretta)
With timing of the announcement still uncertain, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency because of the potential for civil unrest, hours after police said they would restrict access in the city's downtown. The mayor and police said they were planning ahead of time to protect demonstrators, and the people who live and work there.
But some involved in protests seeking justice for Taylor questioned why the police were going to such "overkill" lengths when the city has been the site of peaceful protests for months.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron has declined to set a deadline for his decision. Earlier this month, he remarked that "an investigation, if done properly, cannot follow a certain timeline."
Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said officials from Cameron's office have promised to give authorities a heads-up.
-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports
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The Nation in Brief - Arkansas Online
Posted: at 7:32 pm
Facial recognition is a technology that can recognize and verify an individual from a digital image or a video frame. Facial Recognition system identifies your face based on skin tone, facial hair, and other biometric information. It then compares the data to a database of stored faces and finds a match.
Law Enforcement agencies all around the world have been using the latest technologies that help track down criminals. The latest in this long list of technologies is the Facial Recognition System.
Of course, there are other methods to distinguish individuals from each other and identify them, such as:
But facial recognition continues to be the perfect biometric benchmark. And the reason for this is that it is easy to deploy, and there is no need for physical interaction by the end-user. Tracking down criminals using facial recognition is faster and more efficient.
Japanese Police Force has also joined the long list of law enforcement agencies around the globe that use facial recognition. A system can compare photographs of people previously arrested with images obtained from surveillance cameras and social media.
Police have used facial recognition technology across the nation since March. Its a more efficient and reliable way to locate criminal suspects. Critics warn that the system could transform the country into a surveillance society unless it runs under strict regulations.
According to a senior National Police Agency official, that shouldnt be a problem: We are using the system only for criminal investigations and within the scope of the law. We discard facial images that are found to be unrelated to cases.
The Japanese National Police Agency also follows strict rules laid down by the National Public Safety Commission to handle and use facial images, the same way they do fingerprints and DNA evidence.
The agencys database currently holds 10 million facial images of criminal suspects. Some of those have not yet been arrested.
The implications of facial recognition are far-reaching. It can help law enforcement agencies track down criminal suspects. But governments can use the same technology to monitor and control their citizens, like Chinas government does to Uighur Muslims. More than a million of them are in detention camps, and the Chinese government uses surveillance technologies like facial recognition to control and discipline them.
In 2013 American coder Edward Snowden made key revelations about how the National Security Agency was breaching the general publics privacy in the name of security and surveillance. Snowdens revelations raised huge concerns about public privacy, and a huge overload of privacy advocacy was seen. It was now clear that governments can go to anylengths to control and discipline their citizens.
Concerns about the possible breaches of privacy, facial recognition being one of them, are present among the Japanese masses. The only way governments can use facial recognition to track down criminals is by monitoring everyone. That is the biggest issue that privacy advocates have against facial recognition.
Many government agencies could even access the webcams of internet users in the name of public safety and surveillance. And most of the time, users are not even aware of such an intense breach in their privacy. Thats why many start covering their webcams, muting their microphones, and using various privacy tools, such as a VPN or Tor browser.
Privacy in the age of the web is one of the most common issues that we face today. Almost everyone can track you or keep tabs on your personal information.
Internet users may fall victim to a data breach and lose their sensitive data. Or worse their data might end up in malicious hands. If you are anonymous online, then your chances of falling victim to a data breach are almost zero. But its virtually impossible to stay truly anonymous.
Location-based services are on the rise as almost everyone uses a smartphone these days. These services access your location and provide you information about nearby places such as the nearest restaurant, information about indoor positioning, speed, altitude, etc. But the privacy concern about this location-sharing is that these services may be collecting more data on the users than they need to.
Going online may feel like the equivalent of having zero privacy. Almost 40% of internet users worldwide feel that they dont have control over their data. Advertisement agencies and social media sites collaborate to bring you better ads but only at the cost of your privacy. Your personal data is handed over to these third-party sites all the time.
The Japanese government and marketplaces gather data about people to use it according to their needs. Nobuo Komiya, a criminology professor at Rissho University, said, It is natural for the police to adopt advanced technology.
Nowadays, many governments are more concerned about their control over citizens and less about their privacy. They often overlook data breaches in the name of security. So everyone should take their privacy into their own hands.
Posted: August 31, 2020 at 8:08 pm
A young Russian citizen and his co-conspirators came within an inch of carrying out a major ransomware attack against Tesla unaware that their target had already turned them in.
Last week, the United States Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) unsealed a criminal complaint against a conspirator in a thwarted ransomware plot against the electric car maker Tesla.
On Aug. 22, the Bureau arrested 27 year-old Russian citizen Pavel Kriuchkov in Los Angeles, who had allegedly spent much of his month in the U.S. attempting to recruit a Tesla staffer at the firms Gigafactory Nevada site to collude on a nefarious special project.
That special project came with a lucrative incentive a bribe of $500,000, later upped to $1 million. A small advance payment was to have been paid into the staffers Bitcoin (BTC) wallet, installed using a Tor browser to evade detection.
In return for the bribe, the staffer was asked to assist in the installation of a targeted malware attack against Tesla a two-stage plot involving a distributed denial of service attack, followed by an exfiltration of sensitive company data.
The plan was to hold Tesla to ransom under threat of dumping the information publicly. Kriuchkovs conspirators had their eye on a $4 million ransom.
The hitch was that, soon after Kriuchkovs first meeting with the staffer, who remains anonymous, the staffer had already alerted Tesla, which, in turn, tipped off the FBI.
A series of August meetings between Kriuchov and the staffer were physically surveilled and wire-tapped by FBI agents. They collected intelligence about the operation and other prior exploits while preparations for the cyberattack were being hatched.
One of the conspirators was, according to Kriuchkovs communications with the staffer, a hacker specializing in encryption, who allegedly works as a high level employee of a government bank in Russia.
Kriuchkov himself was self-avowedly hazy on the technical aspects of the planned attack, and was ostensibly being paid $250,000 for his recruitment efforts.
In one early meeting, Kriuchkov, the staffer and two of the latters friends made an excursion to Lake Tahoe in California. Kriuchkov insisted on footing the bill for the groups expenses, but shied away from posing in group photos, insisting he could remember the beauty of the sunset without a memento.
On Aug. 21, Kriuchov informed the staffer that the attack was being delayed until a later date, and that he would be leaving Nevada the following day. Following his arrest in Los Angeles on Aug. 22, he is now in detention pending trial.
While Tesla is not explicitly named in the FBIs criminal complaint, Tesla news site Teslarati has confirmed the company was the target. CEO Elon Musk acknowledged the scheme in a tweet:
Posted: at 8:08 pm
The Russian national in question is Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, age 27. He offered the Bitcoin payment to the employee of a Nevada-based company.
The U.S. Department of Justice charged Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov with conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer. Kriuchkov traveled all the way from Russia to the United States to meet with the employee, who is known in the court documents as CHS1.
The attempt to get CHS1 to install malware on his employers computer system ran awry when the employee notified the FBI about the situation. The malware was designed to allow Kriuchkovs criminal allies access to the data in the companys network.
The data was then to be sold on the dark web unless the company agreed to pay a hefty ransom (probably in some form of cryptocurrency). Kriuchkov also told CHS1 that he was part of a larger criminal gang.
Unfortunately for Kriuchkov, he was tracked by the FBI over a three-week time period while he was in the United States. During the surveillance, evidence was collected, including conversations that were recorded. Kriuchkov was then arrested in Los Angeles.
The court document lays out the timeline for the entire affair. Kriuchkov was made aware of the employee (CHS1) through a mutual contact, and he contacted CHS1 through Whatsapp to set up a meeting in Nevada.
Kriuchkov then flew to the United States twelve days after arranging the meeting. He then met with CHS1 a number of times and worked to get in his good graces by paying for entertainment, such as a visit to Lake Tahoe, and dinners.
Once the employee deployed the malware on his companys computer, Kriuchkovs criminal allies would launch a DDoS attack to keep the company busy while the data was being stolen.
Kriuchkov initially made an offer of US$500,000 [AUS$695,000] to the employee to install the malware. This offer was later increased to a cool million. To help facilitate the transfer of Bitcoin, Kriuchkov helped the employee set up a Bitcoin wallet through the Tor browser and said, a payment of 1 BTC would be made upfront.
Things came to a head on August 21 when Kriuchkov told CHS1 that plans for the malware planting had been delayed due to his gang finishing up another big project. He told CHS1 he was heading back to Russia. He was then arrested the following day in Los Angeles.
If convicted, Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov faces a fine of US$250,000 [AUS$347,580] and up to five years in prison.
Images courtesy of Richard Patterson/Flickr, Caspar Camille Rubin/Unsplash
Posted: at 8:08 pm
Law enforcement agencies working online benefit from machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) , which lead to leading solutions. ML and AI work together, and automated methods can search the dark web, detect illegal activity and bring malicious actors to justice.
The interface between AI and GIS has created enormous possibilities that were not possible before. The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is so advanced that it exceeds or exceeds human accuracy in many areas, such as speech recognition, reading and writing, and image recognition. Together, ML and AI are rapidly making their way into the world of law enforcement.
AI, machine learning, and deep learning help make the world a better place, for example, by helping to increase crop yields through precision farming, fighting crime through predictive policing, or predicting when the next big storm will arrive, whether in the US or elsewhere.
As fraud detection programs are driven by artificial intelligence (AI), many of these chains turn to AI to ensure that they use various techniques to stop bad actors in advance. Broadly speaking, AI is the ability to perform tasks that typically require a certain level of human intelligence.
Reward programs are particularly popular because they can store large amounts of valuable data, including payment information. Reward points are also valuable because bad actors can spend them or sell them on dark web marketplaces.
Coffee giant Dunkin 'Donuts was the victim of a hacker attack in October 2018, and the fraudsters who initiated the program were able to sell users' loyalty credits on dark web marketplaces for a fraction of their value. Sixgill is a cyber threat intelligence service that analyses dark web activity to detect and prevent cyber attacks and sensitive data leaks before they occur. Using advanced algorithms, its cyber intelligence platform provides organisations with real-time alerts and actionable intelligence that priorities major threats such as cyber attacks, data breaches and cyber attacks.
New York City-based Insight has developed a threat detection platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to scan deep and dark networks for specific keywords to alert potential targets. Sixgill investigates the Dark Web, the Internet of Things, and other areas of human activity to identify and predict cybercrime and terrorist activity. While the darker web requires someone to use the Tor browser, it can also be accessed by someone who knows where to look.
That's why AI and ML are used to bring light into the dark web, and they can sweep it away faster than a person could. The IntSights report primarily scans deep and dark nets for the latter, but it can also scan the darker net, though not as fast or as far as a person could do, the report said.
The problem with using AI and ML for this job is that there is not enough clarity: 40% of the websites on the dark-net are completely legal. The remaining 60% are not, and this includes anonymous transactions that are legal, according to the IntSights report.
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How AI Has Helped The Dark Web - AI Daily
Posted: August 20, 2020 at 6:11 pm
New tool allows users to prevent themselves from being tracked online
With major web browsers now including privacy protections against cookie-based tracking, theres been a rise in the use of fingerprinting and researchers now say theyve developed a way to spot and prevent these stealthy tracking techniques.
Unlike techniques such as API changes and network request blocking, which require manual analysis, the open source tool automates the process of detection by extracting features such as syntax and execution from scripts and training a classifier to detect fingerprinting.
It does this through a complementary combination of static and dynamic analysis. Static analysis, says the team, helps FP-Inspector overcome the coverage issues of dynamic analysis, while dynamic analysis gets around the inability of static analysis to handle obfuscation.
And, says the team, FP-Inspector can identify fingerprinting scripts with 99.9% accuracy and half the amount of website breakage, compared with blanket API restrictions such as those enforced by Brave and Tor Browser.
Many of the fingerprinting scripts the team detected were missed by existing filter lists maintained by tracking protection organizations.
Disconnect, for example used by Firefox and Microsoft Edge didnt list , while DuckDuckGo, used by Safari, omitted the domain.
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EasyPrivacy, used by Brave and tracker blocking browser extensions such as AdblockPlus and uBlock origin, didnt have on its list.
We compared FP-Inspector to a prior approach on detecting fingerprinting scripts that uses manually crafted heuristics, and found that FP-Inspector, that uses machine learning, is 26% more accurate at detecting fingerprinting scripts, author Umar Iqbal of the University of Iowa tells The Daily Swig.
The team took a list of the top websites ranked by Alexa and ran them through FP-Inspectors detector. They found that browser fingerprinting was present on more than 10% of the top 100,000 websites, and on more than a quarter of those in the top 10,000.
These fingerprinting scripts, says Iqbal, are mostly served by ad tech companies that specialize in anti-ad fraud and cross-site tracking services.
The team found that nearly 14% of news websites used them, falling to just 1% of credit- and debt-related websites, probably because fingerprinting is more widespread on sites relying on advertising and paywalls for monetization.
Browser fingerprinting techniques allows sites to identify and track web users
Discussing the increase in fingerprinting activity, Iqbal said: All mainstream browsers Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge are building privacy protections against cookie-based tracking.
For example, Safari blocks third-party cookies and Chrome has announced plans to phase out third-party cookies in the next two years.
Considering these privacy protections around cookie-based tracking, fingerprinting provides an alternate approach to track users without relying on cookies; we suspect that it might be the reason for the rise of fingerprinting.
And, he says, with privacy protections against third-party cookie blocking on the rise, he expects the use of fingerprinting for cross-site tracking to grow.
Read more of the latest browser security news
The team has reported the domains they found serving fingerprinting scripts to Disconnect, DuckDuckGo, and Easylist/EasyPrivacy.
As a result of our reporting, EasyPrivacy has created a new category for fingerprinting in their filter list, says Iqbal.
We also reported previously unreported uses of web APIs by FP scripts to Firefox, and we expect that as a result of our reports, Firefox may decide to redesign these APIs to reduce their fingerprinting potential.
To encourage follow-up research, the team plans to release the fingerprinting countermeasures prototype extension, as well as their list of newly discovered fingerprinting vendors and the bug reports theyve submitted to tracking protection lists, browser vendors and standards bodies.
Iqbal and his colleagues offer a detailed analysis of their findings in a white paper, Fingerprinting the Fingerprinters (PDF).
More information on FP-Inspector can be found on GitHub.
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Browser fingerprinting more prevalent on the web now than ever before research - The Daily Swig
Posted: July 5, 2020 at 9:41 am
As protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement continue around the United States, Gmail is treating emails from advocacy and political groups referring to racial justice issues like marketing emails.
The Markup analyzed hundreds of emails sent to a test Gmail account from more than 200 candidates and organizations from across the political spectrum from whom wed signed up to receive communications. Of the emails referring to racial justice received since George Floyd was killed in May, Gmail sent seven in 10 to the less-visible promotions tab, which the company says is for deals, offers, and other marketing emails.
We also analyzed 22 emails we received from eight racial justice groups over 10 days starting on June 19 and found Gmail sent nine in 10 to the promotions tab. The groups were: The Bail Project, Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, Justice for George NYC, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Reclaim the Block, and the Youth Justice Coalition.
Emails treated like marketing included:
In fact, Gmail categorized all 18 emails sent by Color of Change, a nonprofit that advocates for Black equality, as promotions.
People across the country are looking to racial justice groups like Color of Change to keep them informed and provide opportunities to create change, said Evan Feeney, the groups campaign director. That Google is treating these messages the same as a coupon from a store that you signed up for their mailing list that one time is absurd.
Gmails categorization of racial justice emails mirrors an investigation published by The Markup in February that found Gmail sent about half of all political emails to the promotions tab. Since May 25, Gmail sent both political emails and racial justice emails to promotions about 70percent of the time.
Gmail is the most popular free email program in the world, with an estimated 43percent of the market, according to the email marketing firm Litmus. Gmail claims to have 1.5billion active email addresses, so its choices have an outsized effect on which messages reach people.
In an email, Google spokesperson Brooks Hocog declined to comment but pointed to one of the statements the company sent to The Markup for the story published earlier this year.
In addition to user input, machine learning, to a lesser extent, is also used to classify emails, the statement said. Types of email that might make it into the Promotions tab include calls-to-action, marketing newsletters and offers or coupons. This approach applies to all emails that fit the promotion classification, regardless of industry, affiliation, etc.
By default, Gmail places email in three inbox tabs: primary, which is visible when a user signs in, social, for messages from social networks, and promotions. It also sends some messages to spam. Google, which owns Gmail, says many factors influence how emails are sorted, including how users interact with them individually and in the aggregate.
Some email marketers say they have reliable methods to influence inbox placement in the same way SEO experts say they can boost a websites ranking in Googles search engine. But while some may be able to avoid having email sent to spam, avoiding promotions is tougher, said Laura Atkins, co-founder of the email deliverability consulting firm Word to the Wise.
We at least know what makes the mail go into the spam folder, she said. We have no idea what makes mail go into promotions.
Users can influence the Gmail algorithm by moving individual emails into the primary tab, but its unclear how many times that move has to be repeated before Gmail consistently delivers emails from that sender to the primary inbox, Atkins said.
Gmail says users can set up filters to override the algorithm and direct messages from specific senders to their own primary inbox. They can also disable the tabs. Google declined to say how many users keep them enabled. A 2016 survey by an email deliverability firm showed about 34percent of respondents said they use the tabs.
In order to see how Gmail would categorize emails without any explicit user feedback, we created the test account last year with a new phone number using the anonymizing Tor browser. The email data is exported with Googles automated tools. We kept the test account segregated in a dedicated browser to avoid sending signals to the email sorting algorithm based on web browsing or by association with other accounts, and we did not open or click on any of the emails.
We found Gmails choices were not always consistent. A signup confirmation email from Justice for George NYC went to the primary inbox in our main test inbox, but in a second test inbox it went to the promotions tab. (We did not respond to the signup confirmation email, so did not receive additional emails.)
A representative from Justice for George said in an email that Gmail addresses account for 85 percent of its mailing list and said its incredibly inaccurate to categorize the groups emails, which provide opportunities for New Yorkers to engage in anti-racism advocacy, as marketing.
The percentage of emails from political causes and candidates sent to the primary inbox has remained consistently below 9percent, both in our earlier analysis and in our analysis of racial justice emails.
A coalition of advocacy groups, including Color of Change, approached Google in 2018 about the way their emails were being categorized after they noticed a drop in petition signatures and noticed the percentage of emails winding up in the promotions tab had increased. Google granted them a series of phone calls, but nothing changed, several members of the coalition said. Google would not discuss its interactions with those groups with The Markup.
Among the nonprofits whose emails we signed up to receive is the Youth Justice Coalition, which advocates against inequality in the criminal justice system. The Los Angelesbased nonprofit sent us an email asking recipients to testify at a government hearing to reform the 911 system. Gmail sent it to the promotions tab.
I definitely see this as concerning and problematic, said Emilio Zapien, the groups media and communications coordinator. The dissemination of information is vital to all the organizing work that we do.
He said the group has shifted its focus to social media since he noticed a couple of years ago that its emails were going to the promotions tab.
I opened up my email inbox this morning and saw that [an email] was in promotions and it didnt even pop up in my primary email section, he added, and it just makes me wonder, how many people is this affecting the flow of information for?
This article was originally published on The Markupby Adrianne Jeffries and Leon Yin and was republished under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.
Read next: Large doses of vitamin D may protect you from COVID-19 but it's also toxic
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To Gmail, Black Lives Matter emails are 'promotions' - The Next Web
Posted: at 9:41 am
The Dark Web mightsound like an internet urban legend, but its a real place. A part of the internet that really is shrouded in metaphorical darkness. Isnt that counter-intuitive? If the sites on the Dark Web are hidden, how do people find them? Can the Dark Web even be searched?
The answer to that question is actually a little complicated and requires some explaining about how all of this works, but as you might imagine, there are ways of finding Dark Web sites. There must be some way of finding the sites, or they would be pointless, right?
Public websites are not hard to find. First of all, websites are registered with domain authorities just like putting your phone number in a registry. Search engines such as Google catalog and cache all of these public sites and their contents. If you dont register a URL (universal resource locator), people will have a hard time finding your web server.
The Dark Web cant be crawled in this way. So you cant automatically accumulate the addresses of each Dark Web site. Given that the Dark Web works so differently from the surface web, can there even be such a thing as a Dark Web Search engine?
Its also important to understand that there is a difference between the Dark Web and the Deep Web. The Deep Web is simply all the online content that is not indexed by mainstream search engines. Its the stuff that a standard web crawl cant get to, and it includes anything behind a paywall or password. This means all of your emails and the contents of your cloud drive are a part of the Deep Web thank goodness for that! After all, you wouldnt want your private data to be searchable by just anyone on the Web!
Then there are other things connected to the internet that search engines also dont index, but arent exactly hidden. For example, an internet-connected camera or other smart device has a public-facing IP address. So if you typed its IP into your browser, youd have access to it assuming that you knew the username and password.
In fact, Shodan is a special search engine that crawls the internet looking for such devices specifically. If any of those are not properly protected, one can then find and access them, which could create a pretty dangerous situation.
The Dark Web is different. The entire network is encrypted, usually as part of the Tor network. Its designed to hide the location and identity of any sites that run through it. Anyone who has the specific address of a Dark Web site can get to its front page. However, there is no way to crawl the encrypted addresses of Dark Web sites.
If an owner of a Dark Web site wants people to visit, they will usually advertise the site somewhere on the surface web. So youll often see an anonymous posting somewhere like Reddit. Once a few people have visited the site and have taken notice of it, then it will be recorded somewhere on the surface web.
One this happens, all you have to do is use a surface web search engine like Google or Bing to search for the right keyword, and you will find the Dark Web address.
If a Dark Web site doesnt want to be known, theres not much anyone can do. Such sites most likely exist, and only people who are personally invited and keep it secret, know of its existence. As it stands, theres no practical way of discovering these sites.
Since some Dark Web sites put their addresses in the open on the surface web, its natural that some people are going to collect them all, and thats when you have the beginnings of a Dark Web search engine.
As we explained above, you cant really build a traditional search engine for the Dark Web. Instead, you either just have a long list of sites that may be out of date or make it a bit smarter and set up some searchable database.
You can check out our article on Dark Web search engines to see a more extensive list, but for starters, go have a look at DuckDuckGo and Ahmia. They are common and safe ways to see what sorts of sites are on the Dark Web.
While the Dark Web includes any website thats hidden from the surface Web by sophisticated encryption, the vast majority of Dark Web sites exist on the Tor network a highly-encrypted anonymous network.
Tor addresses are called onion links. If you download the special Tor browser, all you have to do is paste that onion link into the address bar, and then the site will load just like any other.
However, we strongly recommend that you dont try browsing the Dark Web without the additional protection of a VPN. While Tor itself encrypts everything, a VPN will hide the fact that youre connecting to Tor in the first place.
Posted: June 17, 2020 at 1:56 am
Tor Browser is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Download Tor desktop app to experience real private browsing without tracking, surveillance, or censorship. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor Browser for PC provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
Features and Highlights
BLOCK TRACKERSTor Browser isolates each website you visit so third-party trackers and ads can't follow you. Any cookies automatically clear when you're done browsing. So will your browsing history.
DEFEND AGAINST SURVEILLANCEThe app prevents someone watching your connection from knowing what websites you visit. All anyone monitoring your browsing habits can see is that you're using Tor.
RESIST FINGERPRINTINGThe browser aims to make all users look the same, making it difficult for you to be fingerprinted based on your browser and device information.
MULTI-LAYERED ENCRYPTIONYour traffic is relayed and encrypted three times as it passes over the Tor network. The network is comprised of thousands of volunteer-run servers known as Tor relays.
BROWSE FREELYWith Tor Browser, you are free to access sites your home network may have blocked.
Also Available: Download Tor Browser for Mac
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Tor Browser Download (2020 Latest) for Windows 10, 8, 7
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Need to hire an assassin, buy some contraband, view illegal porn, or just bypass government, corporate, or identity thief snooping? Tor is your answer. Tor, which stands for "The Onion Router" is not a product, but a protocol that lets you hide your Web browsing as though it were obscured by the many layers of an onion. The most common way to view the so-called Dark Web that comprises Tor sites is by using the Tor Browser, a modded version of Mozilla Firefox. Using this Web browser also hides your location, IP address, and other identifying data from regular websites. Accessing Tor has long been beyond the ability of the average user. Tor Browser manages to simplify the process of protecting your identity onlinebut at the price of performance.
What Is Tor?If you're thinking that Tor comes from a sketchy group of hackers, know that its core technology was developed by the U.S. Naval Research Lab and D.A.R.P.A.. The Tor Project non-profit receives sizeable donations from various federal entities such as The National Science Foundation. The Tor Project has a page listing many examples of legitimate types of Tor users, such as political dissidents in countries with tight control over the Internet and individuals concerned about personal privacy.
Tor won't encrypt your datafor that, you'll need a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Instead, Tor routes your Internet traffic through a series of intermediary nodes. This makes it very difficult for government snoops or aggressive advertisers to track you online. Using Tor affords far more privacy than other browsers' private (or Incognito) modes, since it obscures your IP address so that you can't be tracked with it. Standard browsers' private browsing modes discard your cached pages and browsing history after your browsing session. Even Firefox's new, enhanced private browsing mode doesn't hide your identifiable IP address from the sites you visit, though it does prevent them tracking you based on cookies.
Starting UpConnecting to the Tor network entails more than just installing a browser and firing up websites. You need to install support code, but luckily, the free Tor Browser bundle streamlines the process. Installers are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Tor Project recommends installing the browser on a USB drive for more anonymity and portability; the drive needs to have 80MB free space.
We tested a standard Windows installer, with choices to create desktop icons and run the browser immediately. The browser itself is a heavily modified version of Firefox 38.5 (as of this writing), and includes several security plug-ins as well as security tweaks such as not caching any website data. For a full rundown of the PCMag Editors' Choice browser's many features, read our full review of Firefox.
Before merrily browsing along anonymously, you need to inform Tor about your Web connection. If your Internet connection is censored, you configure one way, if not, you can connect directly to the network. Since we live in a free society and work for benevolent corporate overlords, we connected directly for testing. After connecting to the Tor relay system (a dialog with a progress bar appears at this stage), the browser launches, and you see the Tor project's page.
InterfaceThe browser's home page includes a plea for financial support to the project, a search box using the anonymized Disconnect.me search, and a Test Tor Network Settings link. Hitting the latter loads a page that indicates whether you're successfully anonymized. We recommend taking this step. The page even shows your apparent IP addressapparent because it's by no means your actual IP address. We verified this by opening Microsoft Edge and checking our actual IP address on Web search sites. The two addresses couldn't have been more different, because the Tor Browser reports the IP address of a Tor node.
The browser interface is identical with Firefox, except with some necessary add-ons installed. NoScript, a commonly used Firefox add-on, is preinstalled and can be used to block most non-HTML content on the Web. The green onion button to the left of the address bar is the Torbutton add-on. It lets you see your Tor network settings, but also the circuit you're using: Our circuit started in Germany and passed through two different addresses in the Netherlands before reaching the good old Internet. If that doesn't suit you, you can request a new circuit, either for the current session or for the current site. This was one of our favorite features.
Everything you do in the browser is tested for anonymity: When we tried full-screening the browser window, a message told us that that could provide sites a way to track us, and recommended leaving the window at the default size. And the project's site specifically states that using Tor alone doesn't guarantee anonymity, but rather that you have to abide by safe browsing guidelines: don't use BitTorrent, don't install additional browser add-ons, don't open documents or media while online. The recommendation to only visit secure HTTPS sites is optionally enforced by a plug-in called HTTPS Everywhere.
Even if you follow these recommendations, though, someone could detect the simple fact that you're using Tor, unless you set it up to use a Tor bridge relay. Those are not listed in the Tor directory, so hackers (and governments) would have more trouble finding them.
One thing we noticed while browsing the standard Web through Tor was the need to enter a CAPTCHA to access many sites. This is because your cloaked URL looks suspicious to website security services such as CloudFlare, used by millions of sites to protect themselves. It's just one more price you pay for anonymity.
We also had trouble finding the correct version of websites we wished to visit. Directing the Tor Browser to PCMag.com, for example, took us to the Netherlands localization of our website. We could not find any way to direct us back to the main URL, which lets you access the U.S. site.
The Dark WebYou can use Tor to anonymize browsing to standard websites, of course, but there's a whole hidden network of sites that don't appear on the standard Web at all, and are only visible if you're using a Tor connection. You can read all about it in our feature, Inside the Dark Web. If you use a standard search engine, even one anonymized by Disconnect.me, you just see standard websites. By the way, you may improve your privacy by switching to an anonymous search provider such as DuckDuckGo or Startpage.com. DuckDuckGo even offers a hidden search version, and Sinbad Search is only available through Tor. Ahmia is another search engine, on the open Web, for finding hidden Tor sites, with the twist of only showing sites that are on the up-and-up.
Tor hidden sites have URLs that end in .onion, preceded by 16 alphanumeric characters. You can find directories of these hidden sites with categories resembling the good old days of Yahoo. There's even a Tor Links Directory page (on the regular Web) that's a directory of these directories. There are many chat and message boards, but you even find directories of things like lossless audio files, video game hacks, and financial services such as anonymous bitcoin, and even a Tor version of Facebook. Many onion sites are very slow or completely downkeep in mind that they're not run by deep-pocketed Web companies. Very often we clicked an onion link only to be greeted with an "Unable to Connect" error. Sinbad helpfully displays a red "Offline on last crawl" bullet to let you know that a site is probably nonfunctional.
Speed and CompatibilityWebpage loading time under Tor is typically far slower than browsing with a standard Internet connection. It's really not possible to state definitively by how much your browsing will be slowed down if you use Tor, because it depends on the particular relay servers your traffic is being routed through. And this can change every time for every browsing session. As a very rough rule of thumb, however, PCMag.com took 11.3 seconds to load in Firefox and 28.7 seconds in the Tor Browser, at the same time, over the same FiOS connection on the open Web. Your mileage, of course, will vary.
Keep in mind, though, that the Tor Browser is based on the Firefox Extended Support Release versions, which updates less frequently so that large organizations have time to maintain their custom code. That means you don't get quite the latest in Firefox performance and features, but security updates are delivered at the same time as new main versions.
There's a similar story when it comes to standards compatibility: On the HTML5Test.com site, which quantifies the number of new Web standards supported by a browser, the Tor Browser gets a score of 412, compared with 468 for the latest Firefox version. You may run into incompatible sites, though. For example, none of the Internet speed connection test sites performed correctly in the Tor Browser.
Tor, Browser of ThunderWith the near complete lack of privacy on today's Web, Tor is becoming more and more necessary. It lets you browse the Web knowing that all those tracking services aren't watching your every move. Most of us have experienced how an ad follows you from site to site, just because you clicked on, or searched for a product or service once. All that goes away.
Of course, you pay a price of extra setup and slower performance with the Tor Browser, but it's less onerous than you may think. And the included support for fine-grain privacy and security protection is excellent. If you take your online privacy seriously, you owe it to yourself to check out the Tor Browser. For standard, full-speed Web browsing, however, check out PCMag Editors' Choice Web browser, Firefox.
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Tor Browser Review | PCMag