secretsofthedark

Is the Shadow Web a Reality? (Updated)

Short answer?  Yes, I believe that something like it exists, but I don't think you can get there from the so-called “Shadow Web” site.

There was a site, at one point, that called itself “The Hidden Gateway to the Shadow Web,” and it looked exactly like this:

I had never actually paid my way through to the supposed sites, but as the story goes, there was some extremely sick content on there.  Oddly enough, this very same site had a link to a creepypasta entitled A warning to those thinking of accessing the shadow web has increased its “urban legend” status.

My gut feeling is that the creepypasta was made up, but having seen some very sick and disgusting pages on the dark web myself, I was willing to believe that there were worse things in existence.

Photo courtesy of darknoise.co.za

Currently, there's yet another series of sites up on the Tor network that also refer to themselves as “The Gateway to the Shadow Web,” but I'm starting to become even more skeptical of these.

The new ones look like this:

I'm still suspicious, because the site above appears at least seven different URLs on Tor, which leads me to believe that it's some kind of trap by law enforcement, or merely a scam.  Anything where they want you to download special software, or something like that, is something I would not want to get involved in.

It would be extremely difficult to do something like this over the Tor network, because its speed is akin to that of dialup networks (like the old internet of the '90s).  On the other hand, if you were accessing the dark web through some other method, it would, in theory, be possible.

So What's the Answer, Damn It?!

Here's one of the reasons I'm not completely discrediting the “shadow web” idea.  I did talk to one reputable Quora author (whom I won't named here) who said that not only does something like it exist, it was the sickest thing she had ever seen.  Actually, she didn't specifically call it “the shadow web”; she just said it was another part of the deep web that was harder to access.

She said that she “invested in a non-American SSH Tunnel that I trusted and started digging even deeper.  I had read stories on the surface web relating to these things, and I do not care what absolutely anybody has to say about it.  I know that these sites are not a joke and for somebody to minimize the very real existence of these sites and their victims is not only abhorrently disrespectful but flat out ignorant.”   On top of that, she said that it was her reason for getting off of the dark web completely.

Here's my take on it:

I think something like this could exist (though I have no proof).  It may be technologically difficult, but if you were to have enough security protocols in place, I think it could be accomplished.

There are IRC chat rooms that you can access through the Tor network, where people are into some very sick and disturbing things (IMHO, at least).  So, if you contacted someone in one of these chat rooms who had knowledge of such things, they could probably point you in the direction of a site like this.

The caveat, of course, is that if it were the real thing, not only would it be illegal, but it would probably cost you a very high amount of money.  If a group was organizing such a thing, it wouldn't make sense to offer it for free.

I did come across a similar site on the Tor network, which supposedly offered films of women getting raped, as well as videos of real deaths (they just weren't live streams).  It was more along the lines of something like Faces of Death, which was a shock film, but the filmmakers hadn't actually killed the victims.  Not that I spent very long on this site, but they basically offered samples of the videos for free, and then you had to pay quite a bit of money to subscribe.  (I've talked about the site in another post).

I imagine the same would be true of the so-called “shadow web,” that is, if something like it existed.  I'm trying to be rational about this, believe me!!

So there's my two cents.  Take it or leave it.

Invidious: Open Source YouTube (with Dark Web Access!) #invidious #foss

Given that YouTube is owned by Google and Google controls the world (more or less), you might be tempted to look for some alternatives at some point.

There are two that I happen to know of, one of which I covered on the other blog. The first is NewPipe, which I was using for quite some time until the app started to have issues and wouldn't show videos anymore. It may be that I didn't have the latest stable release, however.

The second, as the title says, is Invidious, which has both clearnet and onion links! I thought I'd quote part of the description on AlternativeTo.net, since it covers some of the major features:

## Official Onion Sites: * kgg2m7yk5aybusll.onion * axqzx4s6s54s32yentfqojs3x5i7faxza6xo3ehd4bzzsg2ii4fv2iid.onion

Features:

  • Audio-only mode (and no need to keep window open on mobile)
  • Open-source (AGPLv3 licensed)
  • No ads
  • No need to create a Google account to save subscriptions
  • Lightweight (homepage is ~4 KB compressed)
  • Tools for managing subscriptions:
  • Only show unseen videos
  • Only show latest (or latest unseen) video from each channel
  • Delivers notifications from all subscribed channels
  • Automatically redirect homepage to feed
  • Import subscriptions from YouTube

  • Dark mode

  • Embed support

  • Set default player options (speed, quality, autoplay, loop)

  • Does not require JS to play videos

  • Support for Reddit comments in place of YT comments

  • Import/Export subscriptions, watch history, preferences

  • Does not use any of the official YouTube APIs

  • Developer API

I especially like that it's available over Tor, although it seems that you do have to enable JavaScript for it to work properly (if that's something you're opposed to, then this site may not be ideal).

So far, I haven't come across any video sharing sites that don't require JavaScript, so you're out of luck in that department.

Here's a good screenshot of its onion site:

As I said above, it's open source as well, so here's its GitHub repository if you want to check that out: omarroth/invidious: Invidious is an alternative front-end to YouTube

You may want to compare YouTube, NewPipe, and Invidious side by side to see which one you're the most comfortable with.

One other feature that I like on both NewPipe and Invidious is that they make it simple to download videos as well, which YouTube doesn't (not surprisingly).

Play around with these and let me know which is your favorite!

Is I2P Browser Safe and Functional? #i2pbrowser

Those of you who read my other blog at https://secretsofthedark.com may have heard me mention I2P a few times. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then allow me to explain.

I2P, like Tor, is an anonymity network, and I'd also consider it to be part of the “dark web.” While people generally think of Tor, exclusively, as the dark web, I like to put all of the different anonymity networks under one umbrella.

You can download the software for I2P at I2P Anonymous Network. Alternately, it's also available on F-Droid at

The I2P Browser, on the other hand, is (from what I can tell) a fork of the Tor Browser – it looks very similar, in fact. The main difference, on the surface, is that the I2P Browser's color scheme is purple, whereas the Tor Browser is grayish.

As for being functional, the browser seems to work just fine. I admit that I haven't figured out all the details yet, but as opposed to the Tor Browser, the I2P Browser uses port 4444 by default (Tor uses 9150).You can see the default proxy settings here: I2P Browser Proxy Settings.

Right out of the box, the browser doesn't have an outproxy to the clearnet, either (which the Tor Browser Bundle does). I found a good guide to this on Reddit, as a matter of fact: Newbie guide to setting up I2P outproxy to clearnet?

If you, personally, want to mess around with it, then go to the about:config settings page and tinker with that. Otherwise, don't touch it!

To check if the browser is working (and therefore connected to I2P), try this link: i2pwiki.i2p.

This is a subject I'd like to explore further, so if you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment!

Secrets of the Dark's Second Hideout...

Hello world!

Those of you who are interested in the dark web may know a blog called Secrets of the Dark, at secretsofthedark.com.

So, yeah – I'm that guy. I'm testing out Write.as as an alternate platform because it seems to have better privacy options and such. I'm not taking the original blog down, but I might alternate between the two of them.

As before, I'll be covering the dark web, technology, and privacy themes on here, and suggestions are welcome.