Saturday, 28 April 2012

Exploring the Deep Web Part 5:
Safety: In Depth

I am not sure how much longer I will continue this blog, but I figure I may as well end what I started. So, I'm going to do a much more in-depth look at safe access of the Deep Web. To be as safe as possible, I'll cover only what I believe are truly anon services: Tails, and Liberte.

Liberte is a service that runs I2P through Tor, and exits with Privoxy on top of it. It runs off of a USB drive; all information that is saved is encrypted in 4096 bit. Liberte may not appeal to everybody; the browser is very, very stripped-down, and essentially just parses HTML. You can enable JavaScript if you wish, but this does have to potential to decrease your overall security. Overall, I would feel comfortable using Liberte unless I was on a watchlist and/or in China.

Tails is an OS, designed to be used from a DVD or a USB. It runs separate from your normal OS. It comes equipped with an anon web browser, email service, and IM service. I'd tend to say it's prettier than Liberte. Tails is weaker than Liberte in that it doesn't change your MAC address every time you start it up; however, this is only a problem if you're using open networks. I use Tails over Liberte because I find it much easier to work with.

Both of these anonymous services can be downloaded from the links provided. If you need any help, just ask in the comments.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

A Celebration and an Apology

Good sirs that have enjoyed my blog, I have two pieces of news for you. First, over 1000 views! Pretty exciting milestone. Second, it is exam period for me. Which means that I probably won't hit another milestone for a while, because I won't be making posts for a few weeks. So for my few dedicated followers (If any such people exist), I'd like to apologize for my future lack of posts, and hopefully you remember me come my summer vacation. 


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Exploring the Deep Web Part 4:
How to access the Deep Web safely

While the Deep Web in an amazing place, it has it's share of dangers. There are hackers who can access your data and webcam, site links that lead you to places that you may not ever want to see, and illegal activity everywhere. You will probably want to avoid these Deep Web sites, and if you accidentally come across one you won't want anybody to think you tried to access it. So, there are a few precautions you should take.

1) Social Precautions on the Deep Web

When you're on the Deep Web, you should be cautious. People may not be who they seem to be, and links may not go where you expect them to. There are a few ways that you can avoid being tricked in these social ways. The first rule is that you should never trust anybody on the Deep Web unless you are sure that they are who they say they are. Unless you can somehow determine this, don't trust what they say. You'll know if you can trust them. In terms of links you can trust, there are a number of onion link databases you can find. If you're a Deep Web beginner, you should go to the Hidden Wiki. This will have a host of links that you can trust.

2) Technology Precautions on the Deep Web

At the moment, I believe that the safest method of surfing the Deep Web is using Tails. Tails is a not-for-profit program that uses the Tor network to allow anonymity. It is loaded off of a live USB, and leaves absolutely no information on the computer it uses (unless you ask it to); this is because it runs off of RAM. Last, it encrypts all of your files and emails. Personally I use this because I don't think there will be any backdoors in it, and that it leaves no trace.

Anyway, that's all for now.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Exploring the Deep Web Part 3:
How I accessed the Darknet

So, now that I've explained how I learned about the Deep Web is like, I suppose I should explain how I accessed it in the end.

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, my first attempt at entering the Deep Web was a failure. The reason being that the site I was trying to access got DDOS'd. So I gave up for about a week, and then decided that I'd try to enter the Deep Web via a different route. I went for TorChan. So I turned on my computer, set up my anonymity programs, hopped on Tor, and dove.

The first thing I noticed was how slowly the page loaded. It felt like I was on the internet years ago. The web design was incredibly simple, the sections of the site loading piece by piece. I was cautious, as this was the Deep Web; so first thing I do, realizing I'm on the biggest secret of the web, was lunge for some scotch tape and covered my webcam. Checking that all my programs were working, I started wandering around, not sure of what horrible things I'd find.

Within a few minutes, I was smiling. The place wasn't as dark as what I'd heard the Deep Web was like, but it certainly was different. There were hackers, yes, but they weren't the evil brooding people they're portrayed as; they were just guys passionate about the internet, searching for information and a challenge. TorChan itself is the perfect site to start at. It's the largest chan in the onionlands The only cheese pizza it shows is made of cheese, tomato, and flour. And what was best for me was how intelligent the lot of them were.

I'm going to end this for now. Tomorrow I'll talk more about what TorChan is like, or maybe about the security I set up to feel confident wandering in there. Maybe I'll switch topics and explain the basics of the gold market, I've been doing a project on that.

Regardless, that's all for now. Happy browsing.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Exploring the Deep Web Part 2:
How I discovered it      

So, now that I've explained what the Deep Web is like, I suppose I should explain how I found out about it.

I first heard about it through the news, when there was word that anonymous had revealed some kind of nest of pedophiles exchanging files. I didn't really feel any draw towards it then, as it just seemed like a den of unsavoury criminals. Later, after I took interest in reddit's /r/darknetplan, I began seeing the Deep Web in a different light. I new before that it supported anonymous conversation; I learned that this could be used for good, for revolutions overthrowing dictators. SOPA showed me that the rights of those on the internet are important, and the deep web seemed like a natural progression from there; a bastion of anonymity, a shield against prying eyes. And, as the deep web became more and more intriguing, I naturally wondered how one might access it.

I followed a rumour that some PDF or jpeg was floating around on 4chan that would help me, and so I dove in, and found it. It was an iceburg photo, depicting the levels of the internet. I lost it long ago, but it was similar to this one:

Eventually, I found out that much of the Deep Web was based around the Tor network. I set up Tor on Mozilla Firefox, pasted in the Hidden Wiki's website, and dove. Unluckily for me, the Hidden Wiki happened to be down that day. The work of some 4chan trolls, I believe. That day I thought I'd done something wrong, that Tor wasn't working, or that the whole thing was some elaborate trolling I'd been put through. I was wrong, but it was about a week later when I actually got onto the Deep Web.

Anyhow, that's all for now. Happy browsing.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Exploring the Deep Web Part 1:
Introductions and etiquette
So I really only got on the internet this year. I could go on and on about it, how I was originally introduced to the actual internet (not just Facebook) through demotivational posters, and how that eventually led to a bizzare combination of attending both Reddit and 4chan. But that's not the point. Those may have been waypoints, but I've always thirsted for more. Deeper material. Information few others accessed. And as such, I began to search out what this material was, and found the Deep Web.

Deepweb. It's a sketchy word, one thrown around a lot, one that people really don't like. It's associated with drugs and killing, illegal materials and gore. Hackers. But what was really there? Was it as dangerous as people said? Was it empty? What was it? Did it have the legendary grifter video? I haven't plunged the net's depths, but I'll tell you what I know.

First off: the Deep Web is populated with people like you and I. People with 9-5 jobs, people who like to laugh, people interested in politics. People with morals. Like 4chan, it has it's trolls. Like reddit, it has it's white knights. Sure, there are other folk. I just haven't seen them, as I've been pretty cautious in my travels.

Second: the Deep Web is slow as hell. If you're the average ADHD internet boy going from link to link looking for his next information high, you probably won't belong. It'll bore you, and you'll leave disappointed. You have to have the right mindset; I'm a bit of a methodical delver, crawling for information, so it works for me.

Last: posts last (seemingly) forever, and move slowly. So care about grammar, and if you're going to try to troll out there, you may as well do a good job. If you make it to "Mariana's Trench" you'll see what I'm talking about.

My experiences are derived from exploring the onionlands via Tor.
Yours may differ.
Either way,

First post! I guess I'll start with who I am. I'm a student, age 19, going to university. I explore the internet, and want to help you explore, too.