The deep web (also known more sinisterly as the dark web) has a bad reputation—black marketplaces, identities for sale, grisly and horrifying images, illegal pornography, dark web controversies, and just about every other bad thing you can think of is available there. But there are also some really great things you might want to check out.
To access these sites, you’ll need to use Tor, which allows you to connect to these sites anonymously, and will keep your connection private. As long as you’re not doing anything too sensitive, you shouldn’t need to worry about compromised exit nodes, so check out these sites and enjoy!
Jotunbane’s Reading Club [No Longer Available]
Jotunbane describes the reasoning behind his website like this: “I got tired of ebooks that looked like they were made in a hurry, and since I had the skill set to do something about it, well here we are.” In short, the Reading Club lets you download books that have been cleaned up from their original e-book versions.
I downloaded William Gibson’s Neuromancer and gave it a quick look, and it definitely looks better than a lot of e-books that I’ve read, where words run together, there are inexplicable page breaks, and other weird formatting issues. I can’t speak for all of the books on the site, but because that’s pretty much the whole point, I’d imagine they’re all similarly high-quality. If you don’t abuse the system, it seems to be a good way around freedom-stifling DRM practices.
Flashlight [No Longer Available]
If you want dark-web-related news, Flashlight is a great place to get it. There’s a lot of information on Bitcoin, Tor-related projects, and Internet privacy in general. A lot of the news can be found elsewhere, but Flashlight has brought it all together under one banner to serve the needs of deep web enthusiasts.
In addition to news, there’s also an active forum where you can discuss anything from dark web marketplaces to shipping practices—there are sections for people looking for a job or a business partner, places to leave reviews for vendors, and discussions about privacy and security. The Links section of Flashlight also has a number of useful links, though not as many as Hidden Wiki or other dark web directory sites.
Hidden Answers [No Longer Available]
If you have a question, you can get the answer (or at least a sarcastic response) at Hidden Answers. As a large forum site, HA puts people in contact with other people to exchange information. There are loads of different categories, from drugs and erotica to gainful employment, governments and law, and knowledge and information.
The site is great if you want to get the answers to specific questions, but it’s also a fascinating place to explore: on the deep web, people can ask the questions they want and get honest answers, often on topics that aren’t discussed on the clear web. You never know what you’ll find when you go browsing around Hidden Answers, but you can be sure that it’ll be pretty interesting.
Strategic Intelligence Network [No Longer Available]
According to the homepage, SIN exists to “provide intelligences, resources and tools to be prepared and to respond to crisis situations anywhere you are in the world. . . . Be prepared for the day you might face abduction, natural disaster, riot or even war.” The site is essentially a repository of useful information that could come in handy in a wide range of different situations.
The library contains files on just about anything you could want: encryption, ham radio, submarine cables, fitness, forensic investigation, blacksmithing, getaway driving, sailing, hunting and trapping, fallout shelter creation, body armor, how to survive falling through ice . . . the list goes on and on. The maps section provides a huge amount of satellite imagery, and the atlas provides situation reports and a ton of information about countries around the world. This is definitely one of my new favorite sites.
AnonInbox [No Longer Available]
AnonInbox was founded on the idea that email should be totally private: “If you have nothing to hide, then use Yahoo and Gmail instead. We believe that your e-mail belongs to you and you only and we can provide solution [sic] for you to achieve this goal.” There are a number of different Tor-based email providers, but AnonInbox is one of the most serious about what they do.
For a cost of 0.1 bitcoins per year, you get dedicated Tor hidden service servers, firewalled outbound traffic, encrypted disks, daily backups, daily erased logfiles, and a number of other security-focused features. You also get 10GB of storage; IMAP, POP3, and SMTP access; web-based access; and peering with other .onion mailservers. While you can use this account for whatever you want, if they find out that you’re using it for anything illegal, it could be terminated.
How Will You Tell the World?
Here’s an interesting site that could occupy you for hours . . . or cause you to shake your head and hit the back button right away. How Will You Tell the World? is a long, complex riddle that combines audio and visual clues. As you can see in the image below, it’s quite complex.
What does it mean? Is it a message to mankind? A philosophical treatise? An extended mathematics exercise? Or just a bunch of drawings thrown together as a pratical joke? Only you can decide.
Scratch the Surface
As you probably know, the deep web is absolutely huge, and there’s a seemingly infinite amount of stuff out there. You just have to know where to find it. These six sites will give you a fun introduction to the dark web and using Tor, and might even inspire you to become a dark web spelunker in your spare time.