The dark web operates behind an understanding of anonymity.
Users aren’t supposed to be able to access dark web websites unless their traffic is anonymized using services like Tor. The IP addresses of dark web services are also hidden so that their hosts are not able to be tracked — or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.
A researcher named Thomas White has actually been able to track down the IP addresses of some dark web services, according to Motherboard. And, interestingly enough, he was able to accomplish this not through elaborate sleuthing skills but because of the foolishness of many dark web developers.
White publishes this sort of information on his blog. He recently posted the IP address of a dark web “carding forum,” which is an online forum where people share information about stealing people’s credit card credentials.
This specific forum, called the Tor Carding Forum v2, was quietly shut down, but White was still able to uncover its hosting address even though the forum currently appears to be completely shut down.
Additionally, White found another dark web marketplace’s IP address: A site called Kiss Marketplace, which reportedly offered goods like illegal drugs. The IP address White posted on his website still works if you put it in any browser, meaning that the servers powering this site have ostensibly been unmasked.
With the IP addresses of these dark web marketplaces becoming public knowledge thanks to White’s recent discoveries, the police will also be able to use this knowledge to shut down the websites if they decide to follow up on White’s findings.
This vulnerability within the dark web was discovered at the same time as dark web usage is seeing a huge uptick in popularity. A new report from Trend Micro illustrates a vast world of deep web websites and illicit online activity, and while the report says the barrier of entry is high for most everyday internet users, there are all sorts of new illegal websites and marketplaces surfacing.
And yet White’s findings show that even dark web schemes aren’t foolproof. It appears that criminals are scrambling online to use these new ways to create black markets, but their lack of diligence shows.
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