Here's what you need to know about the Dark Net

Here's what you need to know about the Dark Net

The Dark Net is where hackers buy exploit kits from Dark Markets.

A dark net is the everyday term for an encrypted, superimposed internet network which can only be used with specialist forms of software, authorisation, protocols and ports. The term ‘dark’ is used because it is not visible to you if you don't have the necessary tools or software to connect to it.

Well known internet networks like Google are simultaneously known as ‘clear net’ or surface web.

The dark net is the same as the clear net with the main difference being it depends on special encryption to connect to it. This is what keeps it dark. Generally, the dark net cannot be searched with clear net tools like google. However, publically accessible darknet networks like Tor can be catalogued for searching.

Governments, military, companies and anyone needing privacy are likely to use darknet networks.

Criminals use them for the simple reason that being a famous criminal wouldn't really help their cause.

Dark Nets are generally used to maintain anonymity and in some cases, security.

Examples of Dark Net include:

  • RetroShare - a file sharing ‘peer to peer’ or ‘friend to friend’ network
  • Tor - very common and very popular
  • I2P - anonymising network which is increasing in popularity
  • Gnunet - framework for building secure, decentralised privacy preserving applications.
  • freenet - peer-to-peer platform for censorship resistent communication and publishing.

Specific software is needed to enter any of the above, of which are available from their respective websites.

These services are not definitive solutions for providing total privacy. You can be de-anonymised.

Criminals use dark markets and hacker forums via dark nets - selling anything from assassination and drugs to hacking tools like malware, RATS, access tools, Trojan tools and exploit kits. Popular dark markets like Abraxas, Alphabay and Dream Market are accessed via Tor by downloading software from the Tor website.

There's a marketplace in Tor called the zero day forum, where stolen credit card details are available for resale. They also sell personal information and secure hosting to host malware and exploit kits. The sphinx banking Trojan is available there. This Trojan targets banks if there is a means for collecting account details.

Dark Nets, though supposedly built with good intentions, have led to a hellish breeding ground for criminal activity with vast financial temptations to those most inclined and susceptible to its allure.

Reference: Nathan House, Station X Ltd.

Huw Tremlett

Data Management Consultant

Huw Tremlett