The black web is one of the hottest subjects. Even though the version that exists now is far more innocuous than the wild west version that was shrouded in secrecy, the black web still remains a hot button topic. Previously, people only whispered about the hidden part of the Internet to their closest friends. Now, it’s become the subject of many YouTube videos and middle school dares. A lot has changed on the black web, that’s for sure, but it still remains a huge curiosity to many. And like moths to a flame, we can’t help but feel drawn to it.
But what exactly is the black web? The easiest way to understand what the black web is through the graphic listed above. Only about 4% of the entire net is available to us through regular search engines. The rest are hidden. The tip of the ice berg is the “world wide web” and features your everyday websites like Facebook, Pandora, Google, etc. Just below this part is the deep web. Here lies 90% of the content on the Internet This can’t be accessed through search engines and houses information hidden from the public such as banking login info, Government resources, and medical records.
Then, there’s the black web. By definition it’s the part of the Internet that isn’t indexed by search engines. This means you won’t find it on your normal browser or through Google’s search engine. It contains only 5% of the Internet’s content, making it slightly larger than the normal web. The black web is touted to be unregulated and one of the last spaces of total and complete freedom as well as anonymity on the web. This isn’t necessarily true anymore, but you can still find some sketchy things if you know where to look. It also does remain as a place where people can practice total freedom of speech. The black web in fact is one of the resources that Julian Assange utilized and many people from around the world use the chat rooms and forums as a way to smuggle out as well as in information that is normally blocked by their country.
Who can access it and how?
People from all over the world can access the black web. It’s a great place for users to share information in countries with strict Internet regulations. It also allows people the chance to communicate with others from around the world without restrictions. So in that sense, everyone can access the black web regardless of where they’re from.
However, getting into the black web isn’t as easy as it is to find your new favorite song. You can’t simply plug it into your Google search engine and expect to get anywhere; after all, it’s hidden behind a number of walls and barriers. In order to get into this black corner of the internet, you’ll need special software that allows you to access these hidden parts. There are a number of ways you can go about getting online, but the most common is the Tor browser. You can download the browser from the clear net, or normal web, and use it to browse the black web to your heart’s content.
Keep in mind however that the Tor browser doesn’t really offer a way to search for things. So if you’re looking for say a forum that will allow you to speak to people from around the world, you’ll need to know the site’s name or check out the Onion Wiki for a list of sites. Unlike surface web content, all of the sites you visit will have a .onion extension. Also, the Onion Wiki only contains a small fraction of the websites available for access. Many are hidden.
You also don’t want to use your normal computer or laptop for browsing the black web. While Tor does an excellent job of keeping your identity safe while bouncing it off of multiple locations, this shady part of the Internet is still home to hackers who can easily figure out who and where you are. If you’re using your regular computer to browse the sites, keep in mind that anyone can find all of the personal information stored within your computer. This means that they can access your banking information, usernames and passwords, and your social media accounts. Because of this, it’s recommended that you buy a dated laptop for cash at a pawn shop and use it only for perusing the black web. Sure, the laptop will run slow but Tor runs so slow on its own that you won’t notice the difference.
The black web is still a black market for illegal goods
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard talk that the black web is a hotbed for criminal activity and illicit acts; and it is. While the government has cracked down heavily on the content within the last 10 years, there are still heinous websites operating out there in the shadows. While the government was expunging the worst from the black web, other websites went further into hiding, especially after the Silk Road was taken down for good. The website had been taken down a number of times before, but once the police tracked down the owner of the site and subsequently arrested him, the Silk Road has yet to pop back up. For those not in the know, the Silk Road was the largest online black market store. On the site, you could buy any manner of illegal things ranging from drugs to guns and everything in between.
The government also targeted some seriously disturbing websites that catered to child pornography, rape fetish, and animal crushing. Most of these were also taken down, the biggest of which was Daisy’s Destruction. We won’t go into detail, but the Australian man responsible for running the site was arrested and put behind bars. For the most part, you won’t come across websites like this. However, rumor has it they’re still operating via forums and the face to face exchange of DVDs and VHS tapes containing the illicit material. Others insist that if you know what you’re looking for and can maneuver around firewalls, you can still find this type of content.
But how much of the black web is still truly black? Well according to researchers from King’s College in London, out of 2,723 live sites, they found that over 57% of them host sketchy material. This means that you can get your fill of black market goods, pornography, hacking, whistle blowing, drugs, credit card information, and more. You’ll just have to be a little savvy and know what you’re doing. You’ll also have to earn the trust of the website’s host before they allow you to purchase any goods.
Is it legal to be on the black web?
With so much shady content on the black web, you’d expect that using it would be highly illegal. However, it isn’t. You’re able to access and for the most part freely roam around the websites. Of course if you attempt to buy anything illegal from the websites you peruse you are subject to the law. However, with so much anonymity on the black web and through Tor, it’s pretty difficult to catch people. Despite the Silk Road’s closure, many people still opt to purchase drugs through various websites on the black web and to date “they haven’t been caught or gotten in trouble.” However, this shouldn’t encourage you to participate as the government is still monitoring the sites. Plus for a skilled enough hacker, it’s pretty easy to figure out who you are.
There’s also the fact that you won’t be able to use your PayPal or credit card information to purchase goods. Nobody on the black web accepts that as payment and if they do, you should probably turn tail and run as fast as you can. You will need to convert your money into Bitcoin, or crypto currency. Bitcoin is largely untraceable and adds another layer of anonymity to you. Keep in mind though that there is still a paper trail behind the currency that could easily lead back to you.
There is also an element of danger that comes from accessing these websites. Even if you’re using a throw away laptop with no information linked to you, websites that you visit can still collect information on you regardless of how safe you think you’re being. Plus there are a lot of sting websites put into place by the government in order to catch people purchasing illegal goods.
So long story short, yes it is perfectly legal to be on the black web but accessing some of the blacker websites can put you at risk and buying illegal goods can also land you in some serious legal trouble.
Is the black web as bad as people say it is?
Despite the information we’ve provided you with thus far, the answer isn’t as black and white as it may seem. Obviously the black net is host to a number of terrible websites and illegal operations. However, it isn’t all bad. As we mentioned before, there are forums and chat rooms that allow people from around the world to communicate.
People in North Korea for example are extremely limited when it comes to not only the Internet but their everyday lives as well. Kim Jong-Un has been painting a picture of a profitable country full of loving and supportive people. Everybody appears so happy to be part of North Korea on the broadcasts that the Supreme Leader allows the world to see. “We love our Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un,” people praise when looking at the camera. However to many, it appears to be nothing short of an act. And once the North Koreans started accessing these open forums, the world began to learn just how bad life really is in North Korea.
Without the black net, these people wouldn’t be able to get information and media out to the general public. It also allows people like Julian Assange to collect valuable data and release it for the public’s good. “The black web has a lot of information on it, ready to be shared. It can be anything from government secrets and cover ups to what life is really like for some people. We didn’t know that the North Koreans were suffering until they started posting in the forums and sharing images,” say some.
Despite the good that it can offer, people still remain leery of the black web and for good reason. “Anywhere that’s hosting red rooms and actively circulating child pornography needs to be shut down. The government has definitely cracked down on a lot of the filthy stuff, but the black web remains largely unfiltered. Just because you shut down one drug website doesn’t mean that three others won’t pop up in their place.”
Others insist that the black web isn’t mean to be taken seriously anymore. “If you really think that you’re coming across a legit hacker, hitman, or red room then there’s something seriously wrong with you. These sites are for fun and to give people a good scare. You’re not going to find a legit red room or whatever through Onion Wiki or any other means. You’d have to possess some seriously high quality hacking skills and know what you’re doing. And even then, I suspect it’s not real,” some users say.
Some of the sketchiest things to come from the black web
Even though the black web is a shell of its former self, there have been some seriously disturbing and trippy things to come from its existence. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the sketchiest things that have come from the black web.
- Daisy’s Destruction- We mentioned this loosely earlier, but this was one of the most heinous websites in all of history. We’ll spare you the bulk of the gory details, but the site was known for some seriously messed up child pornography. Luckily the host of the site was caught and jailed.
- Sad Satan- Nobody is really sure where the game first appeared or why, but one thing is for certain: it’s messed up. The original version is apparently no longer in circulation because it featured pictures of child pornography and severe gore. Other copies of the game still exist and you can watch play through on YouTube. Despite the terrible quality of the graphics and the fact that not much happens besides wandering through a maze, the music is nauseating and disturbing.
- Cicada 3301- In 2012, a puzzle hit the black web. It insisted that it was looking for “highly intelligent individuals” and gave users one month to solve the riddles. After the month was up, Cicada simply vanished. They would reappear two more times with similar puzzles. Nobody knows what the point of the puzzles were or who Cicada really was. It remains one of the greatest Internet mysteries to date.
- Red rooms- You can’t talk about the black web without talking about red rooms. Red rooms are supposedly video streaming sites where you can watch people get tortured and murdered live while chatting with others from around the world. Many insist that they’re all fake, but others say they’ve come across some legit ones.
- Hitmen- Hitmen are another popular service on the black web. While the bulk if not all of the websites offering this are discernibly fake, there are those that insist if you know what you’re looking for, you can find a legit person willing to kill someone for money.
- Cannibalism- Supposedly there are websites that used to exist on the black web where people could offer themselves up to be consumed by cannibals. There were also varying degrees to this; they could offer up their whole body (IE die) or just pieces. While these sites don’t exist anymore, you can still find recipes for cooking with human flesh and cannibal forums where people talk about it.
What are your thoughts?
What are your thoughts about the black web? Is it something you’ve visited before? We also want to know whether or not you believe that red rooms and hitmen really exist on there. Do you have any spooky stories regarding the black web that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comment section below! And if you have anything that you think belongs on our list of weird things to come from the black web, let us know.