15 February 2016

** Deep Web Search Engines To Explore The Hidden Internet

February 11, 2016 ·
Rakesh Krishnan writes on the February 10, 2016 online website, The Hacker News, about The Dark Web, “a vast section of the Internet which is hidden and not accessible through regular search engines and web browsers — the part of the Internet known as THE DEEP WEB — which is 500 times the size of the Web we now know.”

What Is The DEEP WEB?
“Deep Web is referred to the data which are not indexed by any standard search engine such as Google, or Yahoo,’ Mr. Krishnan writes. “The Deep Web refers to all web pages that [regular] search engines cannot find, such as databases, registration-required web forums [also referred to as digital-gated communities, or invitation-only digital communities], webmail pages, and pages behind paywalls. Then, there is The Deep Web, or Dark Net — a specific part of that hidden Deep Web. Deep Web and Dark Web are intriguing topics for Netizens all around [the globe],” Mr. Krishnan observes. “But, when you hear the term ‘Deep Web,’ or ‘Dark Web,’ you usually categorize them into one.”

What is The DARK WEB?
“The Dark Web is where you can operate without being tracked, maintaining total anonymity,” he writes. Unless each digital conversation is encrypted at both ends, I do not agree with his assertion. And, even if both are, there are very brief periods when the encryption is not actually active — albeit very brief. But, a determined adversary, with enough time, resources, and effort, could probably — eventually unmask someone they are attempting to identify and track — but, if the adversary is clever and careful, I agree with Mr. Krishnan. Under those circumstances, it would be very difficult; but, not impossible. There are other ways to skin a cat so to speak. But, I digress.
“The Dark web is much smaller than the Deep Web; and, is made up of all different kinds of websites that sell drugs, weapons, and even hire assassins,” he writes. “These are hidden networks, avoiding their presence on the Surface Web, and its URLs are tailed up with .onion. These [websitename] onion domains are not indexed by regular search engines, so you can only access the Dark Web with special software — called ‘The Onion Browser,’ referred to as TOR.”
“TOR is free and anyone can download it,” Mr. Krishnan notes.
“Many of us heard about The Dark Web, when the largest online, underground marketplace — Silk Road — was taken down [shuttered], following an investigation [and prosecution of it’s founder], by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” he adds. “But, what if, you can still be able to dig the Dark Net contents with your regular browsers, without the need of TOR?”
Here’s How To Surf & Search The Deep Web — Without TOR: Solution – Deep Web Search Engines
“Search engines like Google are incredibly powerful,” Mr. Krishnan writes, “but, they can’t crawl and index the vast amount of data that is not hyperlinked, or accessed via public DNS services. However, there are Deep Web Search Engines that crawl over the TOR network, and bring the same result to your regular browser.”

Some of such Dark Web Search Engines are:

— Onion City

— Onion.to

— Not Evil

— Memex Deep Web Search Engine

Here Are Some Deep Web Search Engines:

— The WWW Virtual Library

— Collection of Deep Web Search Tools

— Surfwax

— IceRocket

— Stumpedia

— Freebase

— TechDeepWeb

“These Deep Web search engines talk to the onion service via TOR, and relay, resolve the .onion links, and then deliver the final output to your regular browser — on the World Wide Web,” Mr. Krishnan writes.

“However,” he warns, “there is one consequence of browsing The Deep or Dark Web on a regular browser. Working this way will make these. onion search results visible to you, me, and also, for Google. Moreover,” he adds, “tracker-less search engines are also popular in the TOR culture — like Disconnect, DDG, IXQuick — which ensures your privacy,” while actively searching.

Importance of TOR

“It is worth noting,” Mr. Krishnan writes, “that mere access to TOR is not considered an illegal practice, but can arouse law enforcement suspicion. TOR has long been used by journalists, Researchers, or Thrill seekers in heavily censored countries in order to hide their web browsing habits and physical location, crawl The Deep Web, and exchange information anonymously. However, one of the main reasons behind the rise of TOR is NSA’s surveillance programs,” [and the Edward Snowden leaks] he added. “But, since TOR has long been the target of government intelligence agencies, most online users do not feel safe to use TOR anymore.”

Who Lurks In The Dark Web?“

“According to the recent survey conducted by researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid (in their book – ‘Cryptopolitik and The Dark Net), they found that 57 percent of the Dark Web is occupied by unauthorized contents like Pornography, Illicit Finances, Drug Hub, Weapons Trafficking, Counterfeit Currency flow, and many more,” Mr. Krishnan writes.

“The Netizens had given the shade of illegalities to The Dark Web. This is why today — The Dark Web is being defined as something that is illegal — instead of a ‘Pool of Information.’ However,’ Mr. Krishnan concludes, “there are countless reasons to use The Dark Web. But ultimately, it depends on the surfer,” and the information that is being sought.

“Sidelining The Dark Web,” he ends, “for criminal offenses often gray out the legitimate purposes inside The Dark Web.”
81 Percent Of Tor Users Can Easily Be Unmasked By Analyzing Router Information

In a separate, but related article, Swati Khandewal, writing on the November 18, 2014 website The Hacker News, notes that “the latest research suggests that more than 81 percent of Tor users can be “de-anonymized” by exploiting the traffic analysis software ‘Netflow Technology’ that CISCO has built in to its router protocols.”
Mr.Swati writes that “Netflow is a network protocol designed to collect and monitor network traffic. The technique involves analyzing “data in the network flows — which can then be juxtaposed with TCP connections, or other IP packets sharing common characteristics, such as UDP packets sharing source and destination IP addresses, port numbers, and other information.”
And, the analysis that at least 81 percent of Tor users can be de-anonymized — was a six year effort. Professor Sambuddho Chakravarty, a former [cyber] security researcher at Columbia University’s Network Security Lab; and, now researching Network Anonymity and Privacy at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi, India — “used a technique, in order to determine Tor relays, which involved a modified public Tor server running on Linux, accessed by the victim or client, and modified Tor node that can form one-hop circuits with arbitrary legitimate nodes.”
“According to the research paper.” Mr. Khandewal writes, “large-scale traffic analysis attacks in the Tor environment does not necessarily require the resources of a nation-state — even a single Autonomous System (AS) may observe a large fraction entry and exit node traffic.” Indeed, the paper concludes that “even a single AS could monitor more than 39 percent of randomly-generated Tor circuits.”
“Chakravarty’s research on traffic analysis doesn’t need hundreds of millions of dollars in expense, nor the kind of infrastructural efforts that NSA puts into their FoxAcid Tor redirects; however, it benefits from running one or more high-band width, high-performance, high-uptime Tor relays,” Mr. Khandewal noted.
The Bottom Line: It Is Very Difficult To Completely Hide Your Digital Presence, Digital Footprint, And/Or Digital Exhaust
The Bottom Line: It is very difficult to hide on the Internet/World Wide Web, even if you are using a Dark Web portal such as the Tor, or encryption. Enough digital exhaust, digital ‘bread crumbs’ are more often than not — enough for a determined adversary, or foe to discern who the originator of a particular email stream really is. This means that we should use this kind of research to our advantage in collecting against a foreign adversary; and, also be cognizant that these same kind of techniques will be used against us — to expose our undercover operatives; thwart law enforcement; and perhaps leave false trails, denial, deception, and so on

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