Darknet Marketplaces: What Can You Buy There?
According to Wikipedia, the Darknet is a hidden network whose connections are established only between trusted peers, sometimes referred to as “friends,” using non-standard protocols and ports. An anonymous network is a system of unrelated virtual tunnels that provides encrypted data transmission.
In simple words, “Darknet” is the dark layer of the Internet. You can connect to it only through a special browser — Tor. Darknet is an anonymous network where it is impossible to recognize a visitor by IP address, respectively, all users are anonymous. Therefore, it is this network that the communities that are engaged in illegal activities have chosen for themselves. For example, the trade in weapons, drugs, and bank cards.
Is Tor a secure and private browser? Read more here.
It is worth noting that there are also legal projects. For example, libraries, and literary magazines. Users choose this network for the sake of freedom of speech and privacy. In this article, we will talk about Darknet marketplaces.
P.S.: The article was created for informational purposes. The authors of the article are not responsible for the actions committed by users after reading.
History of Darknet
The main tool for surfing in the Darkweb is the Tor browser. The same abbreviation denotes the principle of interaction of hidden networks among themselves — The Onion Routing. It consists of the following: traffic is redirected along the chain of servers and at the same time encrypted at each stage. In this way, the user is protected from tracking; our article “Does the Tor browser provide complete anonymity?” is devoted to this topic.
Initially, this project was developed in the 1990s for military tasks. However, in the “noughties,” the project became publicly available, and anyone could use this development since then. The authors of Tor wanted people to be able to use the Internet without censorship and with privacy.
The Tor project is not prohibited, nor is the Darkweb itself, however, actions and deeds that are committed with their help can be prosecuted by law enforcement agencies.
As already mentioned, in the black markets of the Darkweb, you can buy various prohibited or illegal things and order any service, even one for which criminal prosecution is threatened. As a rule, all payments are made in cryptocurrency, mainly in bitcoins. Since sellers very often deceive buyers and do not get in touch after receiving payment, the use of the so-called “guarantor” is a popular service on trading platforms. This is a financial intermediary that ensures the security of all transactions for a certain percentage of the amount (on average — 5%).
Next, we will look at which goods and services, including those related to cybercrime, are most popular among Darkweb users.
What can you buy there?
It is also worth mentioning that not all users visit Darknet stores to buy something prohibited or order a service. Many are simply curious. What can you buy there?
Here is the main list of services and goods:
- A new online identity. Here you can start a new life. For a certain amount, hackers will create a new “real” page for the user in social networks with a different name, surname, and other data.
- False documents (passport, passport, ID-passport, birth certificate, diplomas, fake insurance policy).
- Prohibited drugs.
- Medicines. The sale may include both prohibited drugs (strong psychotropic drugs) and those that are smuggled from the United States.
- Weapon. In official Darknet stores, you can buy firearms, grenades, and explosives.
- Cars with broken license plates.
- Stolen credit card data, or items purchased with such cards.
- Bacteria, viruses, etc. A product of this kind is very rare, but there have been cases when even a tubercle bacillus was on sale. This purchase is attributed to biological weapons of mass destruction.
- “Left” SIM cards in someone else’s name.
- Uranium. It can be ordered in such quantity that it is enough to create a nuclear bomb.
- Fake money. Any currency is available in unlimited quantities.
- Rare animals from the Red Book. In Darknet stores, you can buy a black unicorn horn, eggs of rare bird species, etc.
- The list of services on the Darknet is very large. The greatest demand is for loan assistance and server hacking. For the money, you can get any information here (secret files, hidden news, photos from the scene of incidents, etc.).
The category of ordinary goods is presented on the Darknet platform. In this list: clothing, electronics, household appliances. But they are all sold on a dark site for one reason — it is counterfeit. Many are sure that the Darknet is a place where only prohibited goods are on sale.
Darknet sales scheme
- 1. The user visits the site where the product in which he is interested is presented.
- 2. Then he chooses in favor of a trusted seller and discusses all the details of the transaction.
- 3. After that, the buyer makes the payment. Sellers work on 100% prepayment. Less high-status sellers may ask to pay for the goods after receiving them.
The delivery addresses are encrypted and after some time the keys are destroyed. The goods are sent by mail (in an envelope), or sold in a contactless way (via a bookmark). The buyer is sent the address, coordinates, and photos. The exact scheme depends on what kind of product he buys.
Are Darknet purchases legal?
If the buyer wants to buy illegal drugs, false documents, and other goods from this category, of course, in this case, he will violate the law. Ordering services for hacking a website, DDoS attacks, or collecting information on your competitor — you are also breaking the law.
How to protect yourself from DDoS attacks — read more here.
How to protect yourself in the Darknet
Many newcomers go to dark sites and immediately order goods. But this approach to buying is wrong. If you make an order on the Darknet, it is advisable to choose a safe platform. At such sites, the rules are quite strict, there is a ban on a certain group of goods. There is also a practice of screening out buyers. They are asked to provide passport data, if the user enters them, he will not be able to get to the site.
The fact is that it is strictly prohibited to disclose personal data on the Darknet. This even applies to nicknames and passwords used on the network. The set of numbers and letters should be chaotic. Before going to such a site, you need to seal the webcam and turn off the microphone. Such precautions are since there is a high risk of running into hackers who will catch an inexperienced user and will be spying on him.
Darknet marketplaces with cryptocurrency payment
This internet platform with access through peer-to-peer networks was considered a competitor of the Silk Road. But it worked less than all other similar projects. The auction of illegal drugs started in March and ended in early autumn 2013. What is remarkable in the history of this platform is only that it was allowed to make payments not only in bitcoins but also in other coins.
Unlike Silk Road, law enforcement officers did not have a hand in stopping the activities of Atlantis. The site administrators simply stopped supporting their resources due to the risk of identity disclosure. However, the reason could lie in another. There is an opinion that the administration decided to take away the crypt of registered users.
Another alternative trading platform is Agora. It was launched in 2013, and it was possible to get to the site only through the Tor network. The platform gained fame after law enforcement officers stopped the activities of the Silk Road. All users who purchased illegal drugs on Silk Road quickly found a new place for themselves.
“Agora” was quite popular. According to experts, goods worth more than $200 million were sold through the site in total.
The marketplace in the Darknet functioned until 2015. Due to the vulnerability found in the peer-to-peer network protocol, there was a danger of disclosure of the founders. Therefore, its creators, rightly fearing arrest, covered up their offspring.
Marketplaces on the Darknet with cryptocurrency payments continue to appear and disappear. But this does not mean that bitcoin or other crypto is needed only by criminals. New digital money on a decentralized registry is just a tool. If used correctly, you can make good money with it. And without violations of the current legislation.