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Communications The Internet Network Networking

The Dark Web Has Shrunk By 85% (bleepingcomputer.com) 107

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: The number of Dark web services has gone down significantly following the Freedom Hosting II hack that took place at the start of February, and only consists of around 4,400 services, according to a recently published OnionScan report. Previous research published in April 2016 by threat intelligence firm Deep Light had the total number of Dark Web services at around 30,000. Comparing the two numbers, the report shows a decrease of over 85% in the overall size of Dark Web in the last year alone. According to the recent OnionScan statistics, the Dark Web is laughably small, with around 4,000 HTTP websites, 250 TLS (HTTPS) endpoints, 100 SMTP services, and only 10 FTP nodes.
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The Dark Web Has Shrunk By 85%

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  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @05:08AM (#53998513)

    Or has it became 85% darker?

    • Damn! I came here to ask the same question. I would say it is FAR more likely in fact. It doesn't make sense that 85% of them suddenly stopped being greedy and slimey all of a sudden. Every criminal thinks they will never get caught, or has already resigned themselves to the idea that it is part of the game. Some might have closed up shop, but 85%? I highly doubt it.
      • by farrellj ( 563 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @05:31AM (#53998569) Homepage Journal

        True! I doubt that they have simply gone off-line. They must have found some other system since they know TOR has been compromised.

        • I was thinking that, and it is still in my opinion the most likely explanation, but alternatively maybe 85% of the dark web was run by the US government and now they have cancelled the op?
          • by farrellj ( 563 )

            LOL!

            That could be the explanation! I hope not...But the American Government has done weirder things! :-)

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          TOR isn't compromised. Stop spreading FUD.

          The loss of Freedom Hosting did take a lot of sites down, but it's likely a lot are still up and just unlisted. It's not like the normal web with DNS servers and ranges of IP addresses to scan for HTTP servers.

          • by farrellj ( 563 )

            If you believe that TOR is not compromised, then you should read this excerpt from this article in WIRED magazine...there are similar stories from many other outlets as well.

            "The Feds Would Rather Drop a Child Porn Case Than Give Up a Tor Exploit

            The Department of Justice filed a motion in Washington State federal court on Friday to dismiss its indictment against a child porn site. It wasn’t for lack of evidence; it was because the FBI didn’t want to disclose details of a hacking tool to the defe

      • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @06:39AM (#53998717) Homepage

        It doesn't make sense that 85% of them suddenly stopped being greedy and slimey all of a sudden.

        Every criminal thinks they will never get caught, or has already resigned themselves to the idea that it is part of the game. Some might have closed up shop, but 85%? I highly doubt it.

        Not 100% of what goes on the dark web is criminal.

        Take tor as an example:

        Yes, some of them use .onion tor web services for the purpose of hiding ethically-dubious criminal activities.
        (silk road used to be an example back then).

        BUT, some use them for very practical reason like evading censorship (though it is *still* considered illegal in some specific jurisdiction, globally it's not and it's hardly unethical).
        The popular Duck Duck Go search engine also has a .onion tor server [3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion].
        If you're in China, and want to get informations about Tibet or the Tiananmen Massacre or simply about Taiwan, you can't through a normal search engine. They are either blocked in China or collaborate with the government and only report government-approved informations.
        On the other hand, if you have access to the tor network (along with VPNs that's one of the few popular solutions to get around China's Great Firewall) you can search the web using Duck Duck Go's onion tor server. (And then read the source using your tor socks proxy).

        As needs come and go, or because ressources are limited, some of these non-criminal dark web site are going to disapear.

        • Not everyone who buys Zig Zag wraps is rolling a blunt either (only about 99.99% are.) What's your point?
          • Not everyone who buys Zig Zag wraps is rolling a blunt either (only about 99.99% are.) What's your point?

            Oh Gawd, they are going to crucify you since you messed up between joints and blunts. But your point is still valid.

            If you use Tor, you are immediately interesting. If you have something new, it better use invisible packets, or it is only a matter of time before you are found out. The internet is an inherently insecure place. Perhaps some day people will understand that.

        • I use tor for random browsing all the time. Just using the network increases its usefulness, same way encrypting all emails increases the part of the digital universe that has "gone dark" to spy orgs of all stripes
          • That's a quick way to get on a bunch of government watch lists.

            The deep government has no problem charging you higher tax rates based on your opinions.
        • So, I'd call TOR the "light grey market" of the web, just shady enough to slip past those who haven't bothered to shut it down yet.

          It's also a good way to draw attention to yourself... very few people actually use it, so a search of just them is much more practical.

          • It's also a good way to draw attention to yourself... very few people actually use it, so a search of just them is much more practical.

            Depends on the region. Europe in general is much more privacy conscious. Specially some central / northern parts (E.g.: Germany, Switzerland).
            Here you find people who use Tor regularily, just for the sake of keeping their life private.

            You can thank these kind of people to help fill tor with background noise traffic.
            Their are the one you make your reading of the anarchist cookbook less obvious
            And who make "rounding up all tor users" completely impractical.

          • by aliquis ( 678370 )

            I use Tor and VPN for contests and to change region pricing..

            • Congratulations, you have made the list of "the usual suspects" as described in the film Casablanca.

              What I'd like to see is some kind of analysis of TOR traffic vs normal internet traffic, not bytes up/down but connections made. I suspect it's less than 1%, which already makes it a better hunting ground for illicit activity, probably much less than 1% in reality.

              • by aliquis ( 678370 )

                Well.. I also post "racist" (anti-refugee pro-myownculture & people) and anti-government stuff and back in the days tried to trigger Echelon on IRC :D, many years ago I used to send encrypted e-mails and ran an IRC server on LinkNet (SSL IRC mostly used by pirates) which I also used. I speak pretty open about what I think and as a younger person of myself I always used my correct name and e-mail because I thought that was how a society should be, that one should be free to say whatever one wanted and be

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          There are lots of legitimate uses closer to home too. Looking up medical information that you wouldn't want traced back to you, for example. Pretty much anything you might use "private browsing" mode for, if you understand the limitations of it.

        • I've never used Tor, but I used to use Freenet, and the bulk of it consisted of the following:
          1. Piracy. Music, movies, anime, the usual.
          2. Porn! Of course. Surprisingly, not much really bizarre and kinky stuff.
          3. Crypto-anarchist enthusiasts and free-speech advocates.
          4. Paranoid political nutters describing how the UN is going to use FEMA camps to incarcerate gun owners.
          5. Paranoid religious nutters describing how the Beast will take over the government and force Christians to have gay sex.

          I'm sure much mo

        • Not 100% of what goes on the dark web is criminal.

          Take tor as an example:

          Yes, some of them use .onion tor web services for the purpose of hiding ethically-dubious criminal activities. (silk road used to be an example back then).

          BUT, some use them for very practical reason like evading censorship (though it is *still* considered illegal in some specific jurisdiction, globally it's not and it's hardly unethical).

          Or, my main use for it: investigating sketchy links in spam. There's a fraction of these malware-serving web pages that specifically check for IP addresses belonging to companies and organizations that fight this stuff. I've found that if I curl the page normally, I get something entirely innocuous, but if I curl it through tor ... there's the malware.

          Alas, most of them are now blocking tor exit nodes...

        • Not 100% of what goes on the dark web is criminal.

          ... and not 100% of what is criminal should be criminal. I you want to use the dark web to buy recreational drugs, that should be nobody else's business, and I prefer you do that rather than patronize a local street dealer.

      • by Denis Goddard ( 3009697 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @07:14AM (#53998821)
        I briefly skimmed the OnionScan report when /. ran a story about the site a few months (?) ago. IIRC, her whitepapers said her scan did things like honor robots.txt and had other selectors for what would be indexed. The report was discussed on darkweb sites, not surprising if dark web operators took measures to not be indexed on principle.
        • After the first report:

          "HEY! I indexed all you guys who don't want to be indexed, because you tell me you don't want to be indexed!"

          After the second report:

          "If I ignore how much I ignored due to 'do not index me' requests, it looks like everybody is gone!"

          Yeah, perhaps not the best methodology.

    • Thank You.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No 85% lighter.

    • The part they counted previously, is now 85% smaller when they recounted it

      and the part that they didn't count previously is .... still not counted

    • by jon3k ( 691256 )
      No, just consolidated I assume. If Sprint collapsed and all the customers rushed to Verizon I don't think we'd say the cell phone market has shrunk.
  • That's nothing, when I put my hands over my eyes 100% of the dark web goes away. I suspect that our methods are similar.

  • by hlavac ( 914630 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @05:55AM (#53998611)
    There is no dark web these are probably all honeypots :)
  • Moved over to i2p (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @06:17AM (#53998671)

    Moved over to i2p. .onion is so, so, so, 2009.

  • Like good chocolate, the dark web has gone 85% darker.

    The dark web found Darth Vader on Tinder, and has gone to the Dark Side.

    The dark web has been replaced by FBI honeypots. Pay no attention to those FTP servers. It's totally legit. Honest. We pinky swear.

    The dark web is actually a spoon, because the Sysadmin is Neo.

    Kind of fun playing conspiracy theory playhouse, but on a serious note, fucking FTP? And we wonder why identities get stolen by by grade-school kids these days. Even the dark web can't le

  • Isn't the point of the "Dark Web" is that it is obfuscated? You can count all the things you know about, but how can you count the things you don't know about?

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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